The Great Reopening Mystery

Yet another embarrassment for The Experts™

There have been many consequences of expert over-confidence since the world became aware of the COVID-19 pandemic. They panicked, misrepresented The Science™ about a potential lab leak, and then in the throes of fear, tossed out the pandemic planning scenarios they had painstakingly worked on for years. That panic has led to unimaginable suffering; mental health, economic destruction, job loss and, in many areas, the end of a presumption of freedom. Freedom to go and come as we please, freedom to celebrate, worship, enjoy shared experiences — simply the ability to be human. But the experts cannot acknowledge the disastrous consequences of their actions; their egos won’t allow for it. They must continue down the path they started — acknowledging that the measures they pushed for were ineffective AND destructive would be too damaging to their reputations.

It should come as no surprise then, that over the past month as many areas of the United States have re-opened to something vaguely approaching normalcy, the experts and their PR partners in the media have continued down their established path of fear and inaccuracy. The expectation of imminent surges, the impending doom, the horror of unmasked people, it’s all been breathlessly reported and repeated by the arbiters of acceptable information.

The unquestioning acceptance of their advice has led to the exposure of an endless neurotic and egomaniacal compulsion of experts to make generally inaccurate predictions. The most recent being the updated mask guidance from the CDC. Let’s dig in, shall we?


Mask Guidance

Perhaps the biggest indicator of expert failure over the past sixteen months has been the unprecedented obsession with masks. Despite a complete lack of compelling new evidence to suggest that mask wearing would have any significant benefit, masks have become a beacon for many in the expert class. They’re an immediate indicator of whether or not a person belongs in polite society…don’t think masks work? Immediate excommunication to the bucket of people we label as fringe conspiracy theorists. You’re labeled as an “other,” a “denier” or an “anti.”

Naturally, due to their shared political ideologies, the media immediately joined in. What’s most important to modern “journalists” and much of the general population, for that matter, isn’t attempting to find out the truth, it’s judging the validity of a statement based on who says it. Facts aren’t important, the messenger is.

And that’s how you get articles like this:

This Op-Ed was written by a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University published by MedPage Today, and it helpfully summarizes the reaction of the hive mind of expert consensus after the CDC changed their mask guidance.

Its mask guidance has been greeted by scientists and the public alike as confusing, inconsistent, and frankly, unsupported by scientific evidence. I'll explain why.

The CDC has lurched from over-caution to abandoning all caution. Just over 2 weeks ago, the CDC recommended universal masking in indoor spaces. The nation's top health officials pleaded with the public to wear masks or face dire consequences. Now CDC states that the fully vaccinated "can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic" without wearing a mask or distancing. In other words, CDC gave a bright green light to return to normal -- indoor dining, shopping, and resumption of schools, colleges, and workplaces. It seems a bit premature to declare victory.

I’ve covered this exact same inconsistency, but it’s funny to see it spelled out by someone from the exact opposite side. He continues:

So, what will be the outcome of the CDC's new guidance? It's highly likely that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will throw away their masks. This poses a significant risk of a surge of cases and hospitalizations. Over 60% of Americans are still not fully vaccinated.

This is the crux of the issue. Experts, professors of public health, specifically worried about the removal of masks in May leading to a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

Well, if you’ve been paying attention, it’s not hard to see where this is going:

Yup. Despite all of the unvaccinated people ripping off their masks, it hasn’t made a bit of difference.

What about hospitalizations? Maybe all that unrestricted breathing is leading to more severe cases that require more treatment!

Nope. Nothing to see there either.

Well sure, you might say, but vaccinations have been ramping up, that’s why the updated mask guidance hasn’t mattered.

There are two major problems with that objection.


Problem #1

The first is that vaccination rates have plummeted over the past few months, and have continued that trend since the article was written.

Don’t think that’s cause for concern? The experts sure do!

And because the virus mutates, "I worry about not just (unvaccinated) people continuing to be vulnerable to infection, but what the nature of those infections may be as we're seeing new variants come online," Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a CNN contributor, epidemiologist and former health commissioner for Detroit, said Saturday.

Got that? So not only are slowing vaccination rates concerning, but the nature of the illnesses could be WORSE because of variants.

And yet, again, look at what’s happened to hospitalizations in the US:


Problem #2:

Ok, so we’ve established that dramatically slowing vaccination rates aren’t negatively impacting the curve to this point…The second, and perhaps most significant issue is that a number of prominent experts appear to legitimately believe that masks are as effective as vaccines. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what expert Megan Ranney had to say in an interview with Slate:

But the question is: Are we over that hump where this is the part of the pandemic where we can take all our masks off? Because masks, if worn correctly and it’s a good mask, are really just about as effective as some vaccines are. The J&J vaccine and universal masking have about equivalent efficacy. Only in retrospect will we know whether this was the right choice at this time.

The emphasis here is mine. Did you see that? MASKS ARE REALLY JUST ABOUT AS EFFECTIVE AS SOME VACCINES ARE. Remember when former CDC Director Robert Redfield said masks were better protection than a vaccine and we all laughed? Well we literally have actual vaccines now and some experts are STILL saying it. It’s absolutely incredible. Despite overwhelming data from all over the world that masks have failed, despite the removal of masks being completely irrelevant, they just can never let it go.

But back to my point, removing mask mandates in this instance is equivalent to removing vaccines. That’s what she’s saying. It’s like taking away another vaccine option from the American people.

And it literally hasn’t mattered at all. How is it possible for experts to be this wrong, this consistently, and still get so much media attention? It’s a testament to the power of ideological groupthink.


State Trends

Let’s zoom in a bit more closely on a few recent examples of how completely meaningless different re-opening timelines have been.

Let’s start with Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York:

Nope, no difference here, despite Connecticut removing capacity limits earlier and lifting their mask mandate (for vaccinated individuals only, naturally) 10 days earlier than Massachusetts and nearly a month earlier than New York, which waited until June 15th.

What about the Southwest?

Same thing here, where Arizona re-opened nearly three months before California and over two months before Nevada. Case rates have been nearly indistinguishable since.

And of course, there’s Texas, who unleashed a firestorm of vitriol when they re-opened on March 10th:

Made absolutely no difference whatsoever compared to California, which continued following The Science™ for months afterwards.

What’s remarkable about this is that there was the slightest bit of soul searching within the groupthink about Texas, but in the end it just highlights yet again how they can never allow themselves to just accept reality if it contradicts their partners in the expert community.

Naturally, Derek’s confused, because he’s been told by people who have the correct opinions, that it would lead to disaster. And people with the correct opinions cannot be wrong, because they are the arbiters of what is wrong or right. Think I’m exaggerating? Just look:

One possible interpretation is that lifting mandates did almost nothing because masks in particular do almost nothing. This viewpoint enjoys widespread popularity among conservative outlets such as Fox News, and is likely behind Abbott’s more aggressive decision to ban mask mandates in Texas.

He gets so close, SO CLOSE. But he can’t accept it, because the wrong people think it. This is his how his next section starts: “This explanation has a few holes. Plenty of evidence suggests that masks almost certainly do something, even if they’re not perfect.” He then proceeds to repeat the same nonsensical lab work and outdated and inaccurate “studies” that everyone else uses. He’ll never be able to accept reality, because he doesn’t like that reality agrees with those he ideologically disagrees with.

Yet it’s just another example of the trend that we see repeated everywhere, masks, lockdowns, closures, restrictions…they just never actually seem to matter.

This chart highlights all the states that never had statewide mask mandates, and the national average in orange. The majority of the states (7/11) that never mandated the mask vaccine (Megan’s words) ranked below the age-adjusted COVID mortality rate, thru the end of 2020.

But you don’t even have to take my word for it, just look at this recent release from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Yup.


This all raises multiple questions — if masks are as effective as a vaccine, like the experts say, why do they never matter?

If updated mask guidance risked creating a surge of cases and hospitalizations because the unvaccinated would immediately rip off their masks, why didn’t it happen?

And if the slowing vaccination rate is concerning because of variants and relaxed mask guidance and restrictions could exacerbate the trend, why were they wrong about that too?

Possibly because experts & the CDC refuse to acknowledge natural immunity, sure…but most definitely because they have been completely and utterly wrong about the efficacy of masks and “public health measures” and they endlessly refuse to admit it or acknowledge their own failures. Just like they’ve been doing for sixteen months, and will continue to do indefinitely.