Today marks day 199 of the “15 days to slow the spread” effort announced March 16. From stringent lockdowns to arbitrary executive orders by governors across the nation, our communities have been crippled by the media’s quest to follow the “science” for six months.
Science, we were told, requires that each and every one of us does our part to protect our neighbors, the vulnerable, and our community by staying six feet apart, wearing masks at all times, and avoiding large crowds.
Science, we were told, requires that we refrain from singing in church, gathering in a park, attending a funeral, or exercising in the gym.
If we refuse to obey, we are labeled a science denier, a threat to our community, even a murderer. If we dare to challenge the “science” or share alternative data we are labeled, muzzled, and canceled.
Regardless of political persuasion, religious beliefs, or economic standing, all Americans share a similar desire to care for their loved ones and their community. We want to feel safe. We desire to know the truth. We love our freedom.
But when our freedom is restricted under the auspices of public safety and security, we deserve to know the severity of the threat we face, and its scientific evidence, without political posturing or media manipulation.
While the severity of the coronavirus should not be minimized or dismissed, nationwide mask mandates and governmental responses should be further examined and perhaps re-assessed.
The New York Times reported yesterday that nearly 207,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 — a tragic toll that has affected many American families.
Of the 207,000 Americans whose deaths were labeled as resulting from COVID-19, however, only 6% had only COVID-19 listed on their death certificate, with the majority of people having two or more causes of death listed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that more than 5,000 individuals whose deaths were labeled as COVID-19-caused also had either poisoning and/or injury listed as a cause of death.
Additionally, in Arizona, health officials revealed that any person who tests positive for COVID-19 within 60 days of their passing will be counted as a coronavirus death.
For a glimpse at case data, The New York Times reports that 7.2 million Americans have been infected with the virus, yet 90% of people carried barely any virus.
It is difficult to know the number of people who have actually died as a direct result of the coronavirus, much less the specific number of people who have been infected. This uncertainty has caused an increased level of panic and fear for many Americans, and has resulted in unreasoned compliance by the general public to obey manufactured forms of protection such as mask mandates.
The Federal Drug Administration has not approved any type of mask specifically for protection against the coronavirus. In fact, it has said cloth face masks are “not for surgical use and are not considered personal protective equipment,” and surgical masks “are for use in surgical settings and do not provide full protection from inhalation of airborne pathogens, such as viruses.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, public health officials across the country discouraged the use of face masks, saying they were ineffective in stopping the spread of the virus.
“Masks do not work for the general public and preventing them from getting coronavirus,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams via Twitter on Feb. 29, 2020.
Months later, however, health officials changed their tune and sided with liberal governors across the country who argued that masks might help slow the spread of the virus. Without any new scientific data or physical evidence on the effectiveness of mask mandates, health officials began endorsing the left’s latest decree.
Rather than allowing the citizens of America to assess for themselves their individual risk and make their own educated decision, the government removed individual freedom from the people and placed it in the hands of governors across the nation.
Of the scientific studies that have been done on the efficacy of masks and N95 respirators in stopping the spread of viral infections, the data suggests that there is minimal to no benefit.
Doctors at West China Hospital, a division of Sichuan University in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, found in a Feb. 2020 meta-analysis that “there were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza, laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks.”
Further, in a 2010 Cambridge review on the effectiveness of face masks to prevent the transmission of the influenza virus, researchers found that “there is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of either surgical masks or N95 respirators to protect healthcare personnel and there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of face masks to reduce the risk of infection.”
As for the effectiveness of cloth masks and scarves, the World Health Organization explains “there is insufficient information available on their effectiveness” and that “using a mask incorrectly may actually increase the risk of transmission, rather than reduce it.”
In Australia, government guidelines actually discourage the use of cloth masks because “they retain moisture and can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses due to its warm environment caused by the person breathing.”
Regardless of your own opinion about masks, the data is inconclusive. Therefore, an individual should have the freedom to choose for themselves whether or not they feel wearing one is beneficial. As each individual’s risk level varies, the government is in no place to set decrees or force compliance. In fact, the CDC explains that masks should not be worn “by children younger than 2 years old” or by “anyone who has trouble breathing,” among other exemptions.
Since students have returned to college, there have been 48,299 coronavirus cases reported from 37 universities in the United States. Of those cases, there have been only two hospitalizations and zero deaths.
“It turns out that for people younger than 20, the likelihood of dying from COVID-19 in Indiana is a 1.7‑in-a-million chance, far lower than being killed in one’s lifetime by lightning or by a dog,” said Alon Friedman, associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. “The chance of drowning in a pool is 19 times greater for individuals ages 20 – 49 than dying from COVID. Persons 50 – 69 years old have a lower risk of dying from COVID than they do of dying by falling down steps or being killed in a motor vehicle accident.”
These statistics have been buried by the mainstream media in an effort to manufacture widespread panic and fear. Do not succumb to the media’s mask mania. Remember, as Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Ryan Young is a sophomore studying rhetoric and public address.