Los Angeles Just Showed Masks Don't Work...Again
Shockingly, LA County mandated masks again and it completely failed
We all owe Los Angeles County a debt of gratitude.
If LA wasn’t so devoted to the pseudoscience of masking and mask mandates, we’d never have had the opportunity to show, yet again, how completely useless they are in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
If they were just willing to acknowledge the truth, that masks and the authoritarian mandates have been demonstrably ineffective at preventing increases everywhere on earth, we’d never have a chance to point out that the Southern California region has been conducting what amounts to a population wide trial on masking over the past few weeks. And that the results of that trial have been conclusive that masks and mask mandates do not matter.
Unsurprisingly, LA County Public Health has done their best to obfuscate, mislead and outright lie in a desperate attempt to pretend it’s worked. Fortunately though, unlike the local news media and national “journalists,” we can go through the numbers and point out how completely and unequivocally ineffective their most recent mandate has been.
So thank you, Los Angeles, for your commitment to failure. If you actually cared about science, data, evidence and had a modicum of intelligence, this would never be possible.
Let’s dive in!
To start, it’s important to revisit how universal masking has gone in Los Angeles before this latest futile attempt to “control the spread.”
See that? See what an incredible job masking indoors and outdoors did in controlling the spread and preventing hospitalizations and deaths?
To provide some further context to just how ineffective LA’s mandates have been, here’s how the county ranks in mortality rates compared to the top 25 US states:
Now inevitably when I compare LA to states, someone will respond that it’s simply unacceptable to compare a county to states. Except Los Angeles County is absolutely gigantic. Over 10 million people live in LA. This is where it would rank among the most populous US states:
New York 19,453,561
North Carolina 10,488,084
Los Angeles County 10,040,000
Yeah. It’s huge. In fact, LA is 4,757 square miles. Rhode Island and Delaware COMBINED are 4,032 square miles.
All this is to say that it’s applicable to compare LA to US states since it easily could be one on its own.
We can also highlight how useless the mask mandates were in LA by showing how they fared compared to San Diego and Orange Counties, the other two major coastal Southern California metropolitan areas:
Remember when everyone was convinced that “early, aggressive action” was the key to better outcomes?
Well LA mandated masks much earlier than the other two counties, yet had the worst results throughout 2020 all the way through the winter peak in early 2021. Very confusing how “early” action didn’t matter, isn’t it?
And that brings us to their latest futile attempt to mandate something that’s completely useless in an attempt to control something they can’t control. Just two months after the CDC said masks weren’t necessary for the vaccinated because they (inaccurately) assumed vaccinated people couldn’t spread the virus, and almost exactly a month after California became one of the last states to remove mask mandates for those who had been vaccinated, LA brought it all back.
L.A. County Community Transmission of COVID-19 Increases from Moderate to Substantial; Reinstating Masking Indoors for Everyone
July 15th was the date when LA County ended science, to be joined only a week and a half later by the dangerous ideologues at the CDC. Hilariously, masking was such an emergency that the order didn’t go into effect until the 17th. Most importantly though, the incompetent “experts” at LA Public Health took the turn into anti-science on their own; none of the other major Southern California counties joined in.
Thankfully, this creates an opportunity for comparison within a single region, not just state by state, but counties within the same geographic area.
It did not work.
But first we have to examine how desperate the county’s misinformation department is to pretend it made a difference:
Although transmission in Los Angeles County remains at a high level, the County’s case rate dropped to 21.1 new cases per 100,000 residents, a decrease from last week’s rate of 24.1 cases per 100,000. Although today’s rate will likely change somewhat over the coming days as additional test results are reported, this suggests the County’s rise in cases may be plateauing.
Today’s test positivity rate is 4.7%; a decrease of more than a full percentage point from last week’s rate of 5.8%.
Two and a half weeks ago, at the time of the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order requiring universal masking indoors, cases were doubling every 10 days; the much smaller increase the County is seeing now is what we hoped would happen after implementing an effective public health measure. This serves as a reminder that masking remains an effective way to slow transmission.
See all this? This is nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
Per data from California Public Health, on July 17th, the date the mask mandate went into effect in LA, the positive testing percentage countywide was 4.3%. On August 5th, the date this misleading press release was pushed out to a willingly ignorant media, the positive testing percentage was 6.4%. That’s a 49% increase in just under three weeks. Their claimed decrease is nonsense.
By comparison, San Diego’s positive testing percentage increased 29%, Santa Barbara 17% and Ventura 48%.
Just as importantly, their “case rate” calculation is also nonsense. Based on California Public Health data by episode date, meaning the date of infection or testing, not when the cases are reported, the seven day average case rate per 100k on July 17th was 16.3. Two weeks later, on July 31st, it was 25.1 per 100k. That’s a 55% increase.
Their suggestion on August 5th that cases had peaked was an impossible conclusion to make, because the delay in reporting is too significant to make conclusions. Meaning that by August 5th, data was only roughly complete through July 31st. For example, using episode date for cases shows 3,125 cases on July 29th, but only 97 on August 3rd and 0 on August 4th.
That’s due to the delay, and those numbers will obviously adjust upwards over the next week or so as the data is backfilled onto the appropriate date. So trying to suggest as they did on August 5th that cases had declined, when the most recently available data with an acceptable level of completion indicated cases continued to increase, is absolutely unconscionable.
They appear to have used episode date to say the curve had peaked, when that was a deceiving and inappropriate assertion to make. This is irresponsible speculation from a department truly desperate to pretend their “effective measures” have mattered. They have not. It did not work. And we can show that by looking at case rates from LA’s next door neighbor, Orange County:
As we’ve seen, from July 17th when the mask mandate was reinstated in LA, cases in LA rose 55%. In Orange County, without a mandate, the increase was lower. Cases on July 17th averaged 9.4 per 100k, and on July 31st averaged 16.4 per 100k. Not just a lower rate, but a lower increase of 45%. It’s not due to vastly different vaccination rates; the numbers in both counties are nearly identical. 75% of adults in LA have had at least one shot and 65% have had two, while in Orange County it’s 76% and 67%.
That’s it. That’s all we should need to see to point out masks do not make a significant difference. We’ve done another ecological trial, this time in the terrifying Delta variant era — two similar areas, right next to each other, one mandated masks and the other didn’t. And two weeks later, the area with the mask mandate did worse in every demonstrable way. We’re done here.
Well, obviously, we should have been done before we ever started with masks, given there was no reason to expect they would work in the first place. And we should have been done again when it became obvious last summer that masks weren’t preventing increases. And we should have been done again last winter where areas with mask mandates saw cases, hospitalizations and deaths explode, often to levels significantly higher than areas without mandates. And again when Michigan saw cases rise to new heights in April 2021 when their mask mandate was still active, and areas without mandates like Florida and Texas saw significantly lower numbers. But we REALLY should be done with masks now.
But of course we can’t be done, because LA and many other areas are relentless in their desperate and undeserved faith in the power of masks.
Want another example of just how disingenuous LA Public Health is? Here’s what they said in that same press release:
It is valuable to compare trends in L.A. County with those in the rest of the state after L.A. County became the only County with an indoors masking requirement…
Comparing cases that occurred the week ending July 25 with those that occurred the week ending August 1, Los Angeles County experienced a 22% increase in cases from 16,000 cases to 20,000 cases. Meanwhile, across the remainder of the state, reported cases went from 29,400 during the week ending July 25 to 46,000 cases the week ending August 1, an increase of 57%. Although there may be reasons contributing to these differences beyond masking, data from around the world and from L.A. County have repeatedly shown that masking is a valuable layer of protection against transmission of respiratory viruses.
The absurdity of this entire section is absolutely infuriating.
First of all, comparing LA County to the rest of the state is something they’ve never done, because doing that would show just how poorly they’ve done.
For example, here are deaths per 100k in major counties statewide:
Los Angeles - 247
San Bernardino - 243
Riverside - 189
Orange - 162
Sacramento - 116
Santa Clara (San Jose) - 114
San Diego - 114
San Francisco - 64
See why they haven’t normally made those comparisons? All that early masking really paid off, didn’t it?!
Secondly, why did they not look at their most relevant neighbor? Why look at the entire state? The rest of the state contains counties that are hundreds and hundreds of miles away from LA. As an example, Sacramento is nearly 400 miles away. For context, a comparable distance would be Washington, D.C. to northern South Carolina.
Thirdly, notice how they switched from using episode date to “reported cases” for this latest comparison? Nice sleight of hand, isn’t it? Pick your metric when you feel like it!
Well two can play at that game; let’s look at Clark County, Nevada, home to Las Vegas, and only 269 miles away from LA. Believe it or not, Vegas is significantly closer to LA than Sacramento or San Francisco. Clark County did not mandate masks for all on July 17th, and the 7-day average of newly reported cases went from 657 to 906 on July 31st, a 37.8% increase1. LA went from 1,389 to 2,652, a 91% increase. Huh! Wonder why they didn’t point that out.
But what about Southern California, you might be asking — surely LA must be doing well compared to their local region, right?
Nope. No they are not.
This chart contains all of the counties around LA — Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Santa Barbara — with cases by episode date, from July 17th to July 31st. And just as masks have proven to be irrelevant everywhere on earth, despite the misinformation coming from the propaganda wing of Los Angeles government, once again they’re conclusively proven to be irrelevant in Southern California too.
I also have no idea what data they’re referring to that shows masks being important or effective, cause uh…well just take a look:
That’s just a selection of mask failure from THIS PAST WEEK. There are literally thousands of examples showing how stunningly ineffective masks and mask mandates have been. But of course, LA County doesn’t want you to examine the data for yourself or question their pointless mandates, they want you to shut up and listen as they purposefully lie and obfuscate in order to justify their extremely poor decision making.
If we lived in a sane world, in a world where rationality, science, data and evidence still actually mattered, this would be the end.
We know from data all over the world that masks have failed to make a significant impact, or mattered at all when removed:
But here we have a comparison of direct neighbors during the Delta and vaccination era showing how ineffectual masking has been.
What’s possibly even more frustrating than LA Public Health literally putting out misinformation is that local and national media lets them get away with it. No one will question them or do the work to check the data, even though it’s so easily accessible. They don’t want the answers, and they wouldn’t report them even if they put in the work to uncover them.
There simply is no one to hold these bureaucracies accountable. They lie with impunity, knowing full well there won’t be any consequences. And infuriatingly, when cases inevitably go down in a matter of weeks all over Southern California, they’ll claim the “success” in LA was directly due to masks. It won’t matter that everywhere else with low mask usage and no mandate also declined at the same time. They’ll just lie again and get away with it again.
It’s the same problem that’s played out over and over and over; experts are wrong, the media covers for them and continues to appeal to their authority, no matter how inaccurate they wind up being.
And so masks will continue until cases decline to a level low enough for LA public health to claim victory, and then inevitably return at the next increase. So we’ll be in this indefinite cycle of pointless masking followed by misleading justifications.
But don’t worry, the LA City Council is considering vaccine passports, an equally ineffective measure with a helpful side of needless discrimination. Things are going well!
Clark did mandate masks on 7/30, too late to impact this time frame. And hilariously, after their curve peaked anyway.