Americans are an obedient people, especially when called upon in response to a national crisis. Citizens bought war bonds to aid U.S. soldiers fighting enemies overseas, submitted to rationing and blackout orders during World War II (and collaborated on scrap trips), and participated in civil defense exercises during the Cold War. A whole generation practiced “duck and cover” and withdrew to the nearest Fallout Shelter in the event of a nuclear attack. Obedience, however, depends on a fragile relationship of trust, and our national leaders ruthlessly tested the limits of that trust during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the boundaries are elastic, they approach the point of breakage.
Under the guise of tackling a public health emergency, the public has seen de facto national quarantines (including healthy adults), shop closings (many of which are likely permanent), school closings, bans on religious services, and social distancing mandates and of course the omnipresent – but previously unheard of – requirement to wear face masks in public.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves as the country’s COVID tsar as director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, started flip-flopping in early 2020 when he ordered the wearing of masks after saying on the 60 minutes news broadcast earlier that ” There’s no need to walk around with a mask on. ” In fact, Fauci went even further, suggesting that wearing masks for the general public could be counterproductive. Fauci’s early advice was consistent with the “scientific consensus” prevailing at the time, as reflected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both recommended the wearing of masks for healthy people only when caring for those who are sick or suspected of having the virus.
Science changed suddenly to dictate the wearing of masks by everyone everywhere, at least until a vaccine could be developed. Fauci even suggested that the public should be safer wearing two masks in public (contrary to CDC guidelines) before quickly turning around and admitting that “there is no data to suggest that there is a difference will do. “
A similar reversal came in March 2020 when authorities imposed a “temporary” ban on large public gatherings to avoid overloading health facilities with severely infected patients. Under the heading of “flattening the curve”, an unprecedented shutdown of the economy was ordered to avoid an impending tsunami of hospital admissions. Although the hospitals were never overcrowded – in fact, the emergency facilities in New York remained largely unused – the first two weeks stretched to 12 months. To varying degrees across the country, the effects of the shutdown persist, despite the apparent misunderstanding of the original rationale for the stay-at-home order, which is taking an incalculable toll on the American economy and millions of school children deprived of classroom instruction .
Make no mistake: COVID-19 is a deadly disease that has killed nearly 600,000 people – albeit largely limited to a specific, well-defined population group. Nobody denies the pandemic was a serious public health problem. In hindsight, however, it has become clear to many Americans that the public health system has been grossly mistreating the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of those infected did not get seriously ill; Many didn’t even know they were infected or recovered quickly from mild symptoms.
The mortality risk for healthy people under the age of 60 is less than one percent and for children it is essentially zero. The priority should be to isolate only vulnerable populations – the elderly and those with certain underlying conditions like obesity, diabetes, asthma or chronic lung disease – rather than quarantining everyone. States like Florida that have taken such an approach have fared well compared to states with more draconian measures like New York, California, and Michigan. As I wrote in Law & Liberty in June 2020, after government “experts” put millions of Americans out of work, “Congress hastily passed a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package, as casually as you could order a pizza.” This was one Public order fiasco on par with the New Deal, the Vietnam War, and the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan – other failed mishaps that undermined public confidence in suspected federal expertise.
But the COVID-19 debacle is not over yet. Fauci has refused to give up his influence for over a year. Requiring or recommending masks to the public – even at outdoor events and even after full vaccination – has moved beyond any semblance of “science” and is now a mere tool of social control. At this point in time, vaccines are generally available in the United States. Nearly 40 percent of American adults have been fully vaccinated, more than half of Americans have received at least a first dose, and about 2.7 million additional vaccinations are given each day. Developed in record time according to Operation Warp Speed, the vaccines produce immunity to COVID-19 at a rate of up to 95 percent. The unknown – but undoubtedly large – percentage of Americans who have already been infected with the virus and consequently developed antibodies are effectively immune to re-infection. Thus, the immune fraction of the population is probably approaching two-thirds.
In any case, the transmission of the COVID-19 virus occurs in the air and spreads most easily in a confined space indoors. Outdoors, natural ventilation, ultraviolet radiation (sunlight), moisture, and heat make infection nearly impossible. Studies do not support wearing masks outdoors. According to the Wall Street Journal, “documented cases of outdoor Covid-19 transmission are rare. A study in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, used careful contact tracing and found that only one in 7,324 infection events was related to outdoor transmission. This is because COVID-19 “droplets are quickly dispersed in the air and deactivated by ultraviolet radiation, heat and moisture.”
Accordingly, experts conclude that based on science, “You don’t need to wear a mask outdoors … Ditching pointless practices such as outdoor masking and obsessive “hygiene theater” will make it easier for you to accept the precautions that continue to be required, including indoor masking. Nonetheless, the cult of COVID perpetuates, led by masked President Joe Biden, who, even on a Zoom call, upholds the fiction that in the words of a CDC publication titled “How to Protect Yourself and Others” “all 2 Years and older should wear masks in public. “Although WHO guidelines do not require masks to be required outdoors as long as they are three feet away from others, the CDC requires masking and maintaining a distance of six feet, even for those who are fully vaccinated. This is obedience for obedience’s sake.
Experts complain that the latest CDC guidelines are “confusing because they list too many different provisions and are difficult to keep track of”. For example, the CDC publication entitled “Choosing Safe Activities” recommends that even fully vaccinated individuals wear masks outdoors when “attending a crowded outdoor event such as a live performance, parade or sporting event” . Power Line’s John Hinderaker asks, “If you have been vaccinated it is next to impossible for you to catch or transmit Covid. On God’s Green Earth, Why Do You Need to Wear a Mask at an Outdoor Sports Event? “Of course there is no legitimate answer. The only possible explanation, suggests Hinderaker, is as follows
There is no argument in favor of wearing masks (which are of no use, as the case data shows) when you’ve been vaccinated, except for one thing: the harpies cannot tell whether a person has been vaccinated or not. So if vaccinated people take off their masks, the unvaccinated will follow quickly and the harpies will not know who to shame. That is the only reason.
For fully vaccinated people (who approach a majority of Americans), the rules on inner masks make no more sense. The latest CDC guidelines suggest that fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors when visiting “an uncrowded mall or museum”, going to a cinema in an indoor theater, and “attending a full capacity church service” . “Sing in an indoor choir”, “eat in an indoor restaurant or bar”, or “take part in a high-intensity indoor exercise class”. These guidelines are nonsense, at least for the vaccinated public.
For many long months, Americans were told that draconian precautions – contact tracing, social distancing, obsessive hygiene, and wearing masks – were needed until a vaccine was available. As soon as the vaccine arrived, the goalposts were moved. Even with the vaccine, the wearing of the mask (indoors and outdoors!) Must continue, proclaim the so-called experts. That’s absurd. Americans have been bullied, terrorized with apocalyptic fate, forced to stay at home, denied their constitutional right to worship, and in many cases deprived of their existence. Enough is enough. Those who obeyed orders and got vaccinated should be allowed to return to normal pre-pandemic life. Those who choose not to take the commonly available vaccine should take the risk and live with the possible consequences. The vaccinated majority should not be indebted to the unvaccinated minority.
Benjamin Franklin famously remarked: “Those who can give up essential freedom in order to gain a little temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security.” There is indeed an inevitable trade-off between security and freedom. Freedom involves choices – and risks. The price of security is often subject to external control. COVID-19 wasn’t our first infectious disease outbreak, and it won’t be the last. Health officials need to stick to science and avoid alarmism and social scrutiny for their own sake. Extreme “social distancing” or “on-site protection” used to be seen as a form of mental illness – agoraphobia. Now it is recommended by public health experts. For too long Americans have obeyed meekly. What happened to the freedom-loving patriots who used to live in this United States?
John Hinderaker urges Americans not to obey our rash public health tsars. He says, “We need people to say I’ll take that damn mask off. And when a harpy complains to tell him or her to be stuffed. Seriously. The time has come. “I fully and completely agree. The time for patience and indulgence is over. Let freedom ring.