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Confirmed: Masks were useless

City Journal: Let's look south of the border where different strategies were employed in different states for a solid comparison....

John Tierney: 'The graph tracks the results of a natural experiment that occurred nationwide during the pandemic. Eleven states never mandated masks, while the other 39 states enforced mandates. The mandates typically began early in the pandemic in 2020 and remained until at least the summer of 2021, with some extending into 2022. The black line on the graph shows the weekly rate of Covid cases in all the states with mask mandates that week, while the orange line shows the rate in all the states without mandates.

'As you can see from the lines’ similar trajectories, the mask mandates hardly controlled the virus. By the time the mandates were introduced in New York and other states in the spring of 2020 (at the left side of the graph), infections had already been declining in those states, and the mandates didn’t prevent a surge later that year, when cases rose and fell in nearly identical trajectories regardless of states’ mask policies. The pandemic’s second year saw slight deviations in both directions, but those reflected the seasonality of the virus and the geography of mask mandates, which remained more common in northern states. Cases were higher in the non-mandate states last summer, when the seasonal surge in the South disproportionately hit Republican states without mandates, but those states went on to have fewer cases during the winter, when the seasonal surge in the North hit more Democratic states with mandates.

'If you add up all the numbers on those two lines, you find that the mask mandates made zero difference. The cumulative rate of infection over the course of the pandemic was about 24 percent in the mandate states as well as in the non-mandate states. Their cumulative rates of Covid mortality were virtually identical, too (in fact, there were slightly more deaths per capita in the states with mask mandates).

'If this hasn’t persuaded you to take off your mask, you can find lots more reasons in a book by Ian Miller, the data analyst who created the graph for City Journal. Miller, who has tracked pandemic trends for the Brownstone Institute, has assembled the damning evidence in Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates. The book documents how mask mandates were implemented without scientific justification, how they failed around the world, and how public officials and journalists have kept making fools of themselves by pretending otherwise.'

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