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Tipsheet

The CDC's 'Expert' Basis for School Mask Mandates Is Infuriating

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Now that we're years into the pandemic and generally dealing more with the "how did we get here?" questions rather than the "what is going on?" questions, increasingly more informations is coming to light that shows just how much public health experts — glorified bureaucrats — pounced on COVID-19 as a means to make themselves more powerful. Most of it is infuriating, as is the case with new revelations about the origins of school mask mandates and their efficacy. 

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As our friend Jen Van Laar at RedState uncovered and reported in a scoop this week:

A “study” finding that COVID mitigation efforts in schools, including forced masking, were highly effective in stopping disease spread — and cited by the CDC and most states as the scientific basis for school mask mandates — was authored by LA County bureaucrats, including the daughter of the county’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Although study authors are required to disclose any conflicts of interest — and Ferrer is given a shout-out in the acknowledgements — the study states that no conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Like her mother, Kaitlin Barnes is not a medical doctor. Barnes does not even have a scientific background or a Ph.D. in any field. Her professional background is a combination of her parents’ professions; Kenneth Barnes has had a long career in urban planning and community organizing.

During the pandemic, Democrats were constantly saying to "follow the science" and "trust the experts," but now we know more about some of these supposed experts — who weren't doctors — pushing science that wasn't the result of scientific inquiry but rather bureaucratic nepotists and how it ended up becoming the dominant narrative for most of the country.

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Here's how things went down and how a non-doctor ended up being used as a source for medical advice that was used to justify the efficacy of mask mandates:

Barnes was hired by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in late 2020 as a “temporary project manager” in the Public Relations and Communications department. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Kaitlin worked at Boston University as the International Corporate Outreach Manager for Metropolitan College’s International division, and before that essentially as a communications director/community liaison for both Berklee College of Music and Emerson College, both in Boston. She also did comms on a few political campaigns for friends of Barbara Ferrer (such as former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino).

Despite the fact that she has no prior experience in conducting any public health research, she got right to work on the study, which was a joint effort between LACOE and Ferrer’s department.

The study, published in August 2021, concluded that students who went to school during the winter of 2020-21 tested positive for COVID at a much lower rate than their peers who did not attend LA County schools. The authors also concluded that, therefore, the protocols in place in LA County were responsible for this.

A rash of stories (LA Times, WebMD, The Guardian, CNN, US News & World Report) published around the time this study was released follow the same pattern: they lead with the story of a teacher who allegedly infected 26 people by reading to her students without wearing a mask, taking care to emphasize that the teacher was one of only two unvaccinated teachers in the school. Then the stories shift: but, hey, look at this! A new study out of LA County shows that mandatory masking in schools works! CDC Director Rochelle Walensky even mentioned it in a press briefing!

Not a mention of the massive conflict of interest in any of those pieces, and only passing references to the study’s flaws.

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As Jen concludes for RedState, "This woman is not a scientist or a public health professional; she’s an activist pursuing her agenda by any means necessary. And that agenda isn’t limited to Los Angeles County."

She also talked more about her story and the revelations on FOXLA:

So, how many more bits of "science" pushed by "experts" were little more than the result of activists trying to inflict their will and who capitalized on COVID-19 to make it socially criminal to question their power-tripping antics?

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