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Horowitz: Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations soar in Hawaii since indoor and outdoor mask mandates

Experience

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At what point do results and outcomes begin to matter? On the current political trajectory, we will be stripped of our humanity and forced to wear face burkas indefinitely without any debate, votes, benchmarks, or transparency. Not only are there no randomized clinical trials showing evidence that mask-wearing in the general populace works to stop the spread of respiratory viruses, but the reality of these mandates in practice for the past few months shows they are worthless and that the virus spreads as it spreads, regardless of human input. The latest example is Hawaii.

Just like in the Philippines and Peru, Hawaii's government has imposed a long, strict lockdown and has never emerged from it beyond a modified phase one reopening. Additionally, the state has had an indoor mask mandate in place since April 20 and an outdoor mandate (even while jogging!) since July 7. It is the model for what the political elites believe to be the key to stopping the spread. Yet the results are the same as they have been in every place that tried to put up a cloth in front of the inexorable spread of viral particles that can only be seen with an electron microscope.

As you can see, Hawaii's daily case count grew more than tenfold in July and August. All along, state officials thought they were steering this ship cleanly throughout the spring and that their draconian efforts avoided the spread of the virus. Instead, it has become clear that the virus simply arrives at southern latitudes several months later and spreads for six to eight weeks, as it does everywhere else.

If mask-wearing were as effective as the cult-like devotion to it claims and the strict legal enforcement of it were justified, then this result would be impossible. Let's not forget that Hawaii is the most isolated state and has essentially choked off tourism and commerce. In addition, Hawaiian Airlines has the strictest mask policies among all airlines.

Hospitalizations have also increased eightfold since mid-July. And as my friend Ian Miller shows, this occurred long after mask-wearing became a universal requirement.

"Face coverings are one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Oahu's Mayor Kirk Caldwell in a July 3 order expanding the city's mask mandate to outdoors. Well, Mr. Mayor, facts and data don't care about your opinion.

And it's not as if the edict is not being complied with. According to the New York Times, Hawaii has a high degree of compliance. The few people caught without masks have not only be cited, but arrested too. Then again, you can't beat the mandate in the Philippines, where residents were threatened with getting shot for violating coronavirus orders, yet as in all southern latitudes, the country is experiencing a late spread. Ditto for Peru, which had a universal mask mandate for months but has the most COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world.

Now we know why Dr. Fauci said in July that there are no plans to conduct a randomized clinical trial to asses the effectiveness of universal mask-wearing in stopping the spread. We have a better litmus test than clinical studies: We have the reality of human experience in every corner of the world.

Just how confident is our government in the effectiveness of mask-wearing? The CDC recommends that someone who has come into contact with a person who has the virus for at least 15 minutes should quarantine, "irrespective of whether the person with COVID-19 or the contact was wearing a mask or whether the contact was wearing respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE)."

So, when it comes to actually making life decisions based on the mask cult, suddenly the science is as cheap and flimsy as the cloth itself. Yet in July, Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC's own director, said, "If we could get everyone to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control."

Well, Dr. Redfield, I'll do you one better. Hawaiians were wearing masks for nearly 20 weeks in an island state before the virus spread much at all. Yet it still appeared with a vengeance in July.

You can't blame the CDC for not putting its money where its director's political mouth now is, because as late as May, the CDC was citing the 10 randomized controlled trials that showed "no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks."

How much longer will we allow this flat-earth science to trump our liberty, human dignity, and right to breathe unrestricted air? Many states are mandating this even on small kids. Typically, in order to issue such a draconian and personal regulation of one's person – to the extent that could ever be constitutional – the government must produce substantial evidence that the restriction is necessary and effective and propose its implementation through the least restrictive means for the minimal amount of time necessary. Sadly, the Constitution has been cast aside as callously as common sense and years' worth of science on the spread of respiratory viruses.

One last thing…
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