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Horowitz: Swiss magazine: Mask-wearing in stores not making a difference

'The rate of infection is mostly falling — with or without a mask'

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"Oh, what a cute baby girl you have there," said a kind woman in a muffled voice to my wife yesterday as she wheeled the baby around our local supermarket.

"Wow, she is very serious," exclaimed the woman, as she saw that the baby didn't smile at her funny facial expressions.

"No, that's because everyone is wearing a mask and she can't see their faces," explained my wife.

How much longer are we going to abuse a generation of children with such a draconian and dehumanizing mandate without any evidence that masks are effective or that there is even any spread during casual meetings at a grocery store?

A new data analysis from a consumer watchdog magazine in Switzerland provides more proof that mask-wearing simply has no effect on the enduring trends of the increase and decrease of the virus. On Wednesday, Ktipp, the rough equivalent of Consumer Reports for Switzerland, compared positivity trends in SARS-CoV-2 testing for local cantons that had mask mandates versus those that did not require masks in stores. They found no difference.

"The rate of infection is mostly falling — with or without a mask," read the headline in this German-language publication of the Swiss Consumer Information and Protection Association [translation via Google translate].

Analysts compared the positivity rates in cantons that required masks, such as Basel-City, Zurich, and Solothurn, and found that the rates were already falling throughout August before the mandate was in place. They observed an almost identical pattern in seven German-speaking Swiss cantons without compulsory masks: Aargau, Bern, Baselland, Graubünden, Lucerne, St. Gallen, and Schwyz.

Their conclusion? "A mask requirement when shopping has no demonstrable influence on the number of infections with the coronavirus."

Part of the issue is that, as nearly every global study has concluded, most of the transmission occurs inside households.

"According to data from canton doctors, most infections occur in one's own household and when traveling abroad," reported Ktipp. "There is very little evidence in the data of infection in shops."

So why are we having everyone walk around like mummies without any end in sight? As Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic state Rep. Wendy Ullman revealed in a hot mic moment earlier this week, wearing masks in public is all about "political theater."

Proponents of the permanent masking of humanity have failed to produce evidence of its effectiveness as the virus continues to rampage in areas regardless of whether there is a mask mandate. My friend Ian Miller posted a powerful graphical juxtaposition of the epidemiological curve in Israel as compared to the one in Sweden. The former has had a universal mask mandate strictly enforced for months, while the latter has few people even voluntarily wearing them.

Remember when CDC Director Robert Redfield told senators that a mask is more effective than a vaccine? Well, if that is the result of his novel vaccine, then he is about to turn all of us into "antivaxxers."

Aside from the issues of mask effectiveness, nobody is questioning the long-standing assertions about mask cleanliness and the downsides to wearing them. Our government and the World Health Organization have long warned that when masks are not worn properly, they can spread more germs. During the H1N1 epidemic in 2009, the WHO warned that "using a mask incorrectly however, may actually increase the risk of transmission, rather than reduce it." As such, the WHO advised the following:

  • while in use, avoid touching the mask
  • whenever you touch a used mask, for example when removing or washing, clean hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based handrub
  • replace masks with a new clean, dry mask as soon as they become damp/humid
  • do not re-use single-use masks
  • discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removing

How many people do you know who follow this advice? How many just take the mask out of their pocket or car as soon as they need it, regardless of how long it was in their pocket, how many times they reused it, and how many times they touched it and then touched other things in public?

With such flimsy evidence on the effectiveness of masks, why would we risk collateral damage from universal mask-wearing that is clearly done in a way that is known to cause more transmission?

Then again, there is nothing scientific about a political symbol. Which is why the WHO reportedly flipped, not because of new scientific evidence, but because of "political lobbying."

One last thing…
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