When judging the success or failure of any medical prescription, government policy, or business decision, you evaluate the actual results, in the real world. With Covid, additional clarity has been provided with peer-reviewed randomized control trials (RCTs) and as other jurisdictions, states and countries, pursued opposing policies. In business, a simple barometer to assess any outcome is to ask, “Did your actions achieve positive, negative or neutral results?” The results are in and by any yardstick, mask mandates and lockdowns were an abject failure.
The one RCT on masks and Covid was a 2020 Danish study, which found that 1.8 percent of mask wearers got Covid and 2.1 percent of non-mask wearers got Covid. This should be of no surprise. Prior to Covid, all RCTs pointed to the statistical insignificance of using masks for source control or contract of virus borne diseases. The Rational Ground put together various county vs. county, state vs. state, and country vs. country impact of mask mandates. Regardless of protocol, outcomes were similar in every geography: a smaller first wave followed by a second larger wave.
In Texas, after mask mandates were repealed, Covid cases plummeted by 4000 per day and Covid death collapsed by 137 per day. Gavin Newsom, Biden, and others referred to the Texas mask repeal as “Neanderthal thinking.”
A primary driver and rational for mask wearing by healthy individuals was to prevent asymptomatic spread of Covid. From a study of 10 million people in China, they found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission of Covid. A meta study, 54 relevant studies with 77, 000 participants, published in December 2020 found similar results, “asymptomatic Covid spread risk low.” The risk of household asymptomatic Covid spread was 0.7 percent.
Social distancing was another protocol that appears to be arbitrary, capricious and based on outdated science. The U.S. government recommended six feet while the World Health Organization recommended one meter. Each based upon theoretical impact of droplet spread distances. The CDC recently reversed its policy to three feet in schools.
With regards to lockdowns, there is a 0.005 percent difference between the death rate of California and Florida, despite the fact that Florida has been open since September of last year. The downside effects of lockdowns on an isolated global population have been devastating: undetected and untreated diseases, starvation and food insecurity, effects on children, domestic and sexual abuse, economic and poverty, mental health, suicides, and substance abuse. A shift in medical resources away from Tuberculosis tracking to Covid testing will result in missed diagnosis of Tuberculosis resulting in an additional 200,000 to 400,000 TB deaths with an additional one million new cases each year for the next five years. The World Food Program estimated that, due to Covid 19 lockdowns, global supply chain disruptions, decreased global GDP, and an increase in food prices, an additional 120 million people were food insecure in 2020.
In the U.S., nearly 8 million Americans have been pushed into poverty since this past summer. The number of U.S. adults experiencing depression has tripled since Covid and overdose deaths accelerated, reaching their highest 12-month period ever, according to the CDC. Nearly half of U.S. small businesses were required to close their doors and, of those, about half permanently went out of business. Single factor optimization doesn’t work in business, doesn’t work in medicine, and doesn’t work in complex, modern, global economies.
While accountability is a principle and virtue of capitalism, it is the antithesis and vice of deeply entrenched government bureaucrats; which is why Fauci still has a job despite his historical failures with HIV, SARS, and Covid. Fauci supported the controversial funding of the Wuhan medical lab, opposed the China travel ban and praised China, supported the mask mandates, and pushed for lockdowns despite evidence and advice to the contrary by the world’s top epidemiologists. Most recently, Fauci’s decision to deploy two-shot vaccination and prioritize health front-line workers over the elderly resulted in more deaths as compared to UK which utilized one-shot and prioritized those over 65. According to the WSJ, in both countries, the number of daily deaths peaked in January—3,352 on Jan. 12 in the U.S. and 1,248 on Jan. 23 in the U.K. Since then, the U.S. count has declined 72 percent—which sounds impressive until you put it up against Britain’s 96 percent. Deaths in the U.K. now average 47 a day. The U.S. figure, 938, is 20 times as high in a country less than five times as populous.
The Rand corporation study released on Monday revealed that public confidence in the CDC has dropped across all demographics during the pandemic. Ronald Reagan’s words from his August 12, 1986 speech remain prescient today: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”