Now they tell us.
The New York Times published a piece on Tuesday titled “The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?” It was penned by Bret Stephens, an opinion columnist with the Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013.
The top of the story was fascinating.
“The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses — including Covid-19 — was published late last month. Its conclusions, said Tom Jefferson, the Oxford epidemiologist who is its lead author, were unambiguous.”
“‘There is just no evidence that they’ — masks — ‘make any difference,’ he told the journalist Maryanne Demasi. ‘Full stop.'”
“But, wait, hold on. What about N-95 masks, as opposed to lower-quality surgical or cloth masks? ‘Makes no difference — none of it,’ said Jefferson.”
But hang on. There was study after study in the early days of the pandemic claiming masks worked, which prompted lawmakers at every level of government to enact mask mandates. But Jefferson says those studies were “non-randomized” and “flawed observational studies.”
So that begs the question: What about Jefferson’s study? He and 11 colleagues conducted 78 randomized controlled trials, with a total of 610,872 participants in numerous countries.
“Mask mandates were a fool’s errand from the start,” Stephens wrote. “They may have created a false sense of safety — and thus permission to resume semi-normal life. They did almost nothing to advance safety itself. The Cochrane report ought to be the final nail in this particular coffin.”
Also this week, researchers examined the efficacy of local COVID vaccine mandates implemented across the United States in 2021 and found they didn’t work.
“These mandates imposed severe restrictions on the lives of many citizens and business owners,” the researchers said in a study conducted by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “Yet, we find no evidence that the mandates were effective in their intended goals of reducing COVID-19 cases and deaths.”
The researchers evaluated New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
“We find no evidence that the announcement or implementation of indoor vaccine mandates in the cities listed had any significant effect on vaccine uptake, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19 deaths, and this is largely consistent for all US cities that implemented the mandate,” the researchers wrote.
When COVID first appeared on our shores in early winter 2020, leaders of big cities — almost invariably Democrats — enacted major lockdowns, forcing businesses to close and shutting down entertainment and sports venues. They also ordered everyone to wear masks. When vaccines were created, those same leaders issued mandates requiring millions to take them.
For instance, Philadelphia Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said in August 2021 that science shows mask and vaccine mandates would slow the spread.
“The updated policies we announced today are critical to slowing the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is more dangerous and transmissible than earlier forms of the virus,” Kenney said in a statement. “The science is clear: these measures will protect Philadelphians and save lives.”
But researchers found zero evidence to back that up.
“Our findings put into question the efficacy of city-level vaccine mandates,” the researchers found. “Indoor vaccine mandates caused large disruptions for many individuals and businesses. New York City, for example, fired 1,430 city workers for failing to comply with its vaccine mandate. A survey found that over 90% of NYC restaurants reported having customer-related challenges, such as losing customers who objected to the mandate, and 75% having staff-related challenges. Those are just a small fraction of the disruptions caused by the mandates.”
“Most supporters of the mandates claim that the associated increase in vaccination rates, and its implied reduction in the spread of COVID-19, outweigh the cost of the disruptions. However, we find that the effects of the mandates on their intended outcomes are not statistically noticeable in any of the cities they were implemented in all empirical strategies used,” the report said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.