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Tipsheet

New York: COVID Cases Are Plummeting, and We're Going to Credit Our Mask Mandate

The logical fallacy here is so blatant that a very young, semi-literate (and forcibly-masked, of course) child could probably spot the problem with it, but desperate times call for desperate talking points in maskland.  Officials in places like New York need to justify their restrictions somehow -- basic data and casual observations certainly aren't cutting it -- so they're resorting to transparently insulting spin.  Cases have plummeted across the country as the Omicron wave rapidly recedes, which is precisely what happened in South Africa, the UK, and elsewhere.  As of Wednesday, the US case count had fallen by 44 percent, compared to two weeks ago.  Omicron swept the nation, infected untold millions of people (vaxxed and unvaxxed), and is now falling off a cliff.  I'll note that he vaccinated, and especially the boosted, have remained much safer from COVID-related death than the unvaccinated -- but the former group wasn't spared from contracting and transmitting this hyper-contagious variant, which is part of the reason it burned through so much of the population.  The inevitable collapse in post-spike cases is now upon us.  And New York's brain trust would like you to believe that we have their mask mandates to thank:

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"My primary responsibility as Governor is to keep New Yorkers safe. Mask regulations keep our schools and businesses safe and open, protect vulnerable New Yorkers, and are critical tools as we work to get through this winter surge. Thanks to our efforts, including mask regulations, cases are declining and we are seeing major progress in the fight against COVID-19. I thank the Attorney General and her team for their defense of these common sense measures, and I am confident we will continue to prevail. We are committed to doing everything in our power to keep New Yorkers safe."

That's Gov. Kathy Hochul, who continues to force small children to wear face coverings in schools in spite of a total lack of compelling science backing up this measure. She's happy to visit these kids while not wearing a mask herself, of course, but it's all about "safety," you see.  Journalist David Zweig -- whose terrific, data-driven work on the shoddy arguments behind school mask requirements we've cited on several occasions -- makes an elementary point that explodes Hochul's embarrassing credit-taking:

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Genuine answer: It cannot, at least not honestly.  As the chart shows, New York re-implemented its mask requirement in mid-December.  COVID cases exploded in the state in the following weeks.  The mask mandate was useless.  Now that cases are falling off, more or less because there's no one left to infect, Hochul is trying to pretend that the mask requirement, which accomplished nothing for a month, has suddenly started working and can be credited for the decline.  It's laughable.  Not that any further refutation was necessary, but I decided to illustrate the idiocy of Hochul's claim even further, lest any one be taken in by it and conclude that masks were the game-changer.  They were not:


Feel free to click through and look at those charts.  A cursory glance would see some minor variations, then the same enormous rise and fall of cases around the holidays is uniform across the board.  We all just lived through it -- in states with major restrictions, and in states with virtually none at all.  In case you're curious, clockwise, those graphs came from California, Arizona, New York, and Utah.  Here's another example of the same phenomenon:

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was criticized by some for merely issuing a mask advisory during the Omicron surge, as opposed to a mandate.  Because the government should force "safety" based on "science."  Neighboring Rhode Island, governed by a Democrat, re-imposed a partial mask mandate during the same stretch.  For The Science.  Result?  Nearly identical case trajectories in the two states, with Rhode Island seeing the larger per capita spike.  That chart reminds me of this side-by-side comparison of school masking rules in Colorado:


Relatedly, Denver is lifting is indoor mask requirements...except in schools and child care centers, because we never learn anything, and seem determined to harm children most of all, for absolutely no reason.  Thank goodness for those fighting back:

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Finally, a glance at state-by-state COVID death rates, and excess deaths, since some Democratic politicians want to turn those statistics into political footballs: Much maligned Florida is currently in the middle-third of the pack on the former metric, clocking in at 18th.  Worse off are a number of blue states, including not just New York and New Jersey, but Michigan, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.  Do those governors have 'blood on their hands' or whatever?  Or does that attack just apply to people (R) like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott (Texas ranks 29th, by the way, despite all the deranged warnings of doom, "death warrants" and "neanderthal thinking").  Disproportionately older Florida is average (24th) in excess deaths according to this count, outperforming California, New York, Connecticut, and Michigan, among others.  Imagine that.  I'll leave you with this:

The original coronavirus lockdowns had 'little to no' effect on pandemic death tolls in the US, UK and Europe, a controversial report suggests.  Economists who carried out a meta-analysis estimated that draconian restrictions first imposed in spring 2020 — including stay-at-home orders, compulsory masks and social distancing — only reduced Covid mortality by 0.2 per cent.  They warned that lockdowns caused 'enormous economic and social costs' and concluded they were 'ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument' going forward. The review, led by a Johns Hopkins University professor, argued that border closures had virtually zero effect on Covid mortality, reducing deaths by just 0.1 per cent. However, the researchers estimated closing nonessential shops was the most effective intervention, leading to a 10.6 per cent drop in virus fatalities. 
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