DANIEL VAUGHAN: LA County Mask Outdoor Mandate Undermines Science and Public Health Policy

It’s becoming abundantly clear that states and cities run by Democrats are preparing for another round of shutdowns, both now and in the coming fall and winter. LA County is taking the first step back into a defensive stance on COVID-19 in California, where they are “reimposing an indoor mask mandate for all residents regardless of their vaccination status.”

According to local news sources, “The decision to reimpose the mandate came after the number of coronavirus cases in the county topped 1,000 for six straight days, while 406 people are hospitalized with the illness … The county has a total population of over 10 million.”

This decision – and others like it – mainly occurring in Democratically-run states makes little sense and is disconnected from the data. According to LA County hospitals, any cases they’ve received are for the unvaccinated. “To date, we have not had a patient admitted to a DHS hospital who has been fully vaccinated with either the J&J, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said Tuesday. “Every single patient that we’ve admitted for COVID has been not yet fully vaccinated.”

And the vaccination rates in California are reasonable, “As a state, California’s vaccination rate is better than the national average. As of Monday, 63% of Californians had received at least one dose, and 51% were fully vaccinated, compared with 56% of all Americans who have gotten at least one shot and 48% who are fully vaccinated.”

What we know about the Delta variant and spread of COVID-19 in highly vaccinated populations, like the United Kingdom, for instance, is that there’s been a divorce in the data between cases of COVID-19 and instances of severe individual cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations, and deaths. In a vaccinated population, cases occur, but the number of individuals who end up in the hospital or die from COVID-19 drops dramatically.

That is the purpose of vaccines. The objective is to reduce the number of people who get a severe case of the virus and end up in the hospital, placing stress on the public healthcare system. If people aren’t encountering severe cases, getting hospitalized, or dying from the virus, then it is no longer a threat, and there is no more need for defense public health measures like masking, social distancing, or anything similar.

The point of those measures and things like “flattening the curve” is about containing the spread of a virus to prevent the healthcare system from getting overloaded. If your healthcare system is overworked or overloaded, people will die from lack of care along with having a virus. This exact situation happened in countries across Europe, especially Italy, early on.

When the virus first emerged and we had no medicines, no vaccines, and nothing to combat it directly, defensive measures made sense because we had to protect hospitals and healthcare workers. We’re not in that position anymore, either in California or anywhere across the United States.

The same is true in the United Kingdom. Their high vaccination rates have created a situation where the number of new cases they have coming each day is similar to previous surges. However, hospitalizations and deaths remain near all-time lows. What we’re witnessing, in real-time in vaccinated populations, is a divorce of correlation between higher cases and high numbers in hospitalizations and deaths.

Obviously, you must have cases of COVID-19 to have hospitalizations and deaths. However, these sets of numbers tended to be much more closely correlated than they are now. Now we have cases of COVID-19, some of them are vaccinated people, but the hospitalizations and deaths are only in the unvaccinated community, which is a shrinking field of people.

The virus can’t spread as quickly, and the vaccines are preventing bad cases. This brings us back to the mask mandate in LA County: the thing protecting people is vaccinations, not masks. Masks do not protect you from COVID-19; vaccines and immunity do.

By requiring vaccinated individuals to mask up, the LA County undermines public understanding and belief in the most critical preventative measure available: vaccines. And they’re doing so by elevating masking outdoors, an action with no scientific support for it. Transmission of COVID-19 overwhelmingly occurs indoors, which makes outdoor mask mandates utterly pointless.

We’re rapidly approaching a scenario where Democratic-run states are reimposing pointless policies not because they need to but rather because they’re making a political statement. I have no doubt these people mean well. Still, no science or data supports an outdoor masking policy, especially when multiple vaccines are available which eliminate this virus as a public health threat.

There’s a political cost to enforcing mandates that have no science or data backing them. People take these mandates less seriously, and they lose their impact. This is important because we will likely his another pandemic like COVID-19 in our lifetimes. And the more these useless measures are enforced, the less likely anyone will obey these same institutions during the next pandemic.

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