As Covid 19 infection rates creep up in 27 states, one large metropolitan city is hoping to blunt the increase by re- imposing its indoor mask mandate. Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate the mandate Monday after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, with the city’s top health official saying she wanted to forestall a potential new wave driven by an omicron sub-variant.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen more than 50% in 10 days, the threshold at which the city’s guidelines call for people to wear masks indoors, said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, the health commissioner. Health officials believe the recent spike is being driven by the highly transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of omicron, which has spread rapidly throughout Europe and Asia, and in recent weeks has become the dominant strain in this country.
Many business owners in Philadelphia are not on board with the new directive. Many have said workers will bear the brunt of the almost certain negative reaction of patrons to the mandate. A prediction: the manufactured fear will likely spread to other democratically-run cities. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, for some reason, is forcing preschoolers to continue to wear masks despite all the scientific evidence that shows young children are in an age group least susceptible to serious illness or death from the virus. According to a NY Post column by Karol Markowicz, Covid hospitalizations for those 18 and under are 0.5 per 100,000 and have been at that level for months. There is also a mounting body of evidence that shows masking young children can lead to speech and cognitive delays. A judge struck down Adams’ toddler mask mandate, but he is undaunted.
Democrats’ irrational fear of Covid coupled with their mismanagement of the pandemic has resulted in thousands of shuttered businesses and millions of shattered lives. Just this week, the federal government extended its mandatory mask mandate for all forms of public transportation, including the airline industry. We’re been down this road before and we know how it ends. The protection offered by even the most effective masks, is dubious at best. There have been numerous randomized trials to measure the efficacy of masks, most notably the one in Bangladesh which showed those wearing masks were 11 percent less likely to contract Covid, than people not wearing masks. For those age 60 and older the reduction in infection increased to 35 percent. So there are other variables to consider.
If masks are such a great weapon in the anti-Covid arsenal, why weren’t any of the D.C. dignitaries attending the recent Washington Gridiron dinner donning masks? Seventy two government employees, including several of President Biden’s cabinet members contracted the virus after that event.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci stated the obvious recently when he told ABC’s This Week that Americans are going to have to accept a certain amount of risk.
In other words, in the age of Covid, Americans should be free to use their own judgement whether that means choosing to mask up or deciding to get vaccinated. That’s how a free people living in a free country operate.