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Horowitz: CDC Director Redfield says masks are better than a vaccine. But the virus is still spreading in masked-up places.
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Horowitz: CDC Director Redfield says masks are better than a vaccine. But the virus is still spreading in masked-up places.


Distribution of a vaccination was supposed to be the candy castle at the end of the Candyland coronavirus journey for all of us. We were told our lives must remain in shambles and our faces must be covered until there is a vaccine. Well, in one fell swoop, whether he meant to say this or not, CDC Director Robert Redfield told a Senate panel that the post-vaccine situation on the ground will be less stable than the current untenable situation in America.

In what is perhaps the most cloddish comment to be uttered by a public official since March, Redfield went out of his way to tell a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that masks are better than vaccines. "They are our best defense," said Redfield in response to a question from Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.). He added, "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70 percent, and if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will."

We have been living through months of universal mask-wearing in many parts of the country and the world, yet the virus is spreading prolifically. Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, France, Peru, Philippines, Hawaii, California, and Miami are just a few examples of places with prolific spread long after very strict mask mandates and high compliance were in place. Is that better than a vaccine? Is Redfield suggesting that a vaccine would net an even worse result?

On the one hand, government officials are panicking about continuing community spread throughout the country and the world long after the mask mandates were in place. On the other hand, Redfield is saying that masks are more effective than a vaccine. I guess that means that even if we immediately obtained the best vaccine imaginable, we would actually have even more cases than we do now? In other words, a vaccine is worthless. Unless it's the masks that are actually worthless, as Redfield himself said clearly, regarding the idea of healthy people wearing them everywhere.

You see, masks are so effective that the CDC recommends that someone exposed to an infected individual indoors quarantine even if both the infected individual and the exposed person were wearing masks. But if both of them have something that offers more protection than even a vaccine does, then what is there to fear?

We literally have the CDC going from saying in May that there is "no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks" to the idea that masks are better than a vaccine. Well, if we are all "vaccinated" by wearing masks, then why do we continue with all the other shutdowns and restrictions? Why aren't there thousands of people at sports games?

The bureaucrats are willing to insult our intelligence to the point that they think there is no limit to our suspension of disbelief. It's one thing to suggest that masks might be a little more effective than they originally thought. But how are we to believe that they went from 0 to 100 without any political considerations when the politicians are sounding the alarm about the spread of cases long after the mask mandates? In fact, during a February hearing, Redfield went so far as to encourage people not to buy medical-grade masks, saying there's "no role for these masks in the community." From "no role" to "the most important" tool – and we are to believe this is about science and not politics?

Until now, officials might have been able to explain away the spread in places like Hawaii with the speculative, unverifiable assertion that perhaps without mask-wearing, the spread in some of these places would have been even worse. But Redfield now contends that mask-wearing is more effective than a vaccine. How in the world could such a mass spread of the virus occur if that were true? And how could Sweden have achieved such a flat curve and reduced its cases to negligible numbers without a vaccine and without harnessing what Redfield said is "the most important, powerful public health tool we have"?

Then again, if you are in possession of the most powerful tool, wouldn't you learn how to use it properly? While Redfield was extolling the magical, mythical powers of the mask, he took the mask he had been wearing from an unsterile table and touched the inside and outside without washing his hands. Presumably, that was the mask he put back on when he exited the hearing, in violation of every protocol of one-time mask use, hand-washing, and disposing of the mask. Perhaps that is why the virus is spreading more than ever despite the near-universal use of a "tool" that is supposedly better than a vaccine.

Finally, now that Redfield believes that "this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine," why do I need to wear one? If I don't get the flu vaccine this year, that doesn't make Redfield more in danger of getting the flu. If he is wearing his coat of protection, shouldn't that be even more effective, regardless of how others choose to exercise their rights over their own bodies?

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