I had to do a “brief” Substack post about the return of the statewide mask mandate in California, because state health officials are spreading purposeful, willful misinformation.
They’re lying to justify doing what they want to do, and the media is going to let them get away with it.
Yesterday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, one of the most incompetent and malicious health officials in the country, had this to say when justifying the return of a statewide mask mandate in California:
There are many important things to focus on here, but the key phrase to focus on is the “esp in areas w/low vaccination rates” line.
It’s a lie. A complete and total lie.
And worse, it’s an easily disprovable lie.
Marin County is the most heavily vaccinated county in the country with a population over 100,000:
It has one of the highest case growth rates in the state:
On October 11th, Marin averaged 49 cases per million each day. On December 4th, that number was 145, a nearly 200% increase.
Case growth has actually accelerated recently, despite near world leading vaccination rates. And they were even higher in late July, despite vaccination rates well over 80% even then.
It’s not just Marin, here are the current case growth rates, according to the New York Times, in the most vaccinated California counties:
Santa Clara +38%
San Francisco +83%
San Mateo +99%
Contra Costa +44%
If you were paying close attention to the above image, you’d have noticed that Santa Clara and San Francisco are also on the list of most heavily vaccinated US counties.
83% of Marin is fully vaccinated. 80% of the entire population of Santa Clara is fully vaccinated. 79% of San Francisco. 77% of San Mateo County. 76% of Contra Costa. 75% of Alameda. 75% of Imperial.
Not 12+, not 18+, not 65+. The entire population. Not just one dose, fully vaccinated. These are vaccination rates as high as anywhere on earth. And cases are growing rapidly.
Well sure, you might be saying, but what about the least vaccinated counties? Maybe cases are growing there too!
Here are the current growth rates in the least vaccinated California counties:
Del Norte -56%
And their vaccination rates:
Del Norte 40%
They are lying.
Cases are not “increasing” in the least vaccinated areas, like Dr. Mark Ghaly claimed, they are increasing in the most heavily vaccinated counties.
But it’s not just about increases, the absurdity of blaming these counties for the return of a statewide mask mandate gets worse when considering how tiny their population levels are.
All five of the least vaccinated counties COMBINED are reporting an average of 88 cases per day. Total.
For example, Del Norte is reporting 3 cases per day. Lassen is reporting 5 cases per day. Tehama is reporting 8.
Los Angeles County is reporting 1,530.
Even if there were “increases” in the least vaccinated areas of the state, their populations are so small, the numbers could easily be exceeded by one zip code in Los Angeles.
Not to mention that the county with the highest population adjusted case rate in the state is Imperial County, on the southern border, where 75% of residents are fully vaccinated.
Imperial is also tied for the highest hospitalization rate in the state. Hospitalizations are also “increasing” faster in San Francisco County than in any other county in the state.
They are lying.
The Big Lie
“Doing what we know works.”
I often repeat this phrase, because it’s so frequently used by “experts” and politicians to create a feeling of certainty and evidence-based thinking.
If we “know” it works, how can anyone argue with it? It’s proven! It works! End of story.
Except they never provide any evidence whatsoever that it “works.” They never mention the data from their own state showing that it doesn’t actually “work.”
Here’s Ghaly again, spreading the usual misinformation:
“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” Ghaly admitted today. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked. We are proactively putting this tool of universal indoor masking in public settings in place to ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of concern and despair.”
Yet somehow, no one, absolutely no one, asks him to explain how California’s numbers got so bad last year under a statewide mask mandate, or why he would expect it to “work” this time, when it so clearly did not “work” last time:
Not to mention the county level comparisons, such as in Los Angeles and Orange County, where LA has done worse than Orange every single day since reinstating their mask mandate in mid-July:
A trend that was noticed *months ago* by Eric Ting at SFGate:
Orange County — a non-mask-mandate county — had a very similar outcome to neighboring Los Angeles County, the first California county to bring back indoor masking in response to delta. Not only were the hospitalization figures identical, but Orange County actually had a lower case rate. Orange County has a similar vaccination rate to Los Angeles County (Los Angeles County's rate for the total population is 61%, just two percentage points lower than Orange County's), which makes it much easier to compare the two counties to one another than it is to compare Solano County to the other Bay Area counties.
San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties had near-identical hospitalization outcomes despite different mask policies.
Hilariously, Gavin Newsom also had previously declined to reinstate a mask mandate over the summer, despite the Delta variant, saying that vaccinations were more important:
When Gov. Gavin Newsom was pressed over the summer on implementing a statewide indoor mask mandate in response delta, he demurred and said that vaccination is the more important intervention.
"If we continue to get people vaccinated that'll be unnecessary and this is the call that anyone who hasn't been vaccinated get vaccinated," he said.
On July 7th, when he made those comments, 62% of California’s population had gotten at least one vaccination dose. On December 13th, that number was 81%:
People did keep getting vaccinated. Newsom brought masks back anyway.
Does Newsom not believe the vaccines work? Does Ghaly not believe they work? What percentage of the population being vaccinated is high enough to prevent mask mandates from ever returning?
Over 90% of Marin County has had at least one vaccination dose. That apparently wasn’t high enough to stop a mask mandate from returning, or cases from rising as rapidly as anywhere else in the state.
Some California counties have vaccinated a higher percentage of their residents than almost anywhere else in the United States. That apparently wasn’t enough either.
If we had a competent, impartial media that cared about accuracy and providing useful information to the public, they would do their jobs and hold Ghaly and Governor Gavin Newsom to account for this blatant disregard for the truth. But we don’t. We have activists who advocate for policy positions that their ideology supports.
Like nearly everything about COVID policy, it’s a complete farce. A nonsensical, anti-science joke, designed to appeal to an ideology desperate to justify their own sense of anxiety, fear, paranoia and unearned sense of self-superiority.