The New York Times Assumes a Scientific Consensus on School Mask Mandates That Its Own Reporting Shows Does Not Exist

If all sensible people agree that students should be forced to wear masks, why do other countries reject that policy?


The Department of Education this week announced investigations of five states that have told public schools they may not force students to wear face masks as a safeguard against COVID-19. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended "universal masking" in K–12 schools, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona says, those states may be violating federal laws that ban discrimination against people with disabilities. Among other things, that argument assumes a nonexistent scientific consensus that mask mandates in schools are a minimum requirement for resuming in-person instruction.

If you are a regular reader of The New York Times, you could be forgiven for thinking that resistance to mask mandates is irrational at best and crassly partisan at worst, sacrificing the safety of children to score cheap political points. "Many states have urged localities to return to in-person schooling while promoting policies that conflict with the goal of educating young people in safety," the paper lamented in a recent editorial. "As of early August, only 29 states had recommended that students wear masks—down from the 44 states that did so last fall—and nine states had banned masking requirements." The Times commended President Joe Biden for taking "the right approach" by using the Education Department's "broad authority" to "deter the states from barring universal masking in classrooms."

Times columnist Jamelle Bouie cites opposition to school mask mandates by Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as evidence that Republicans do not "actually want the pandemic to end." In a Times opinion piece published earlier this month, Duke University pediatrician Kanecia Zimmerman and 

The Times even ran an essay in which University of Louisville research psychologist Judith Danovitch took it for granted that all sensible, scientifically informed people recognize that mask mandates are necessary, then proceeded to argue that such requirements have secondary, character-building benefits. They instill self-discipline, she argued, and deter kids from biting their nails or picking their noses.

The pro-mandate position also pervades news coverage of the issue in the Times. Here is the opening sentence of a story published today: "As a new coronavirus wave accelerated by the Delta variant spreads across the United States, many Republican governors have taken sweeping action to combat what they see as an even more urgent danger posed by the pandemic: the threat to personal freedom." That is a pretty glib way to dismiss the substantial burdens imposed by mask mandates, which add daylong discomfort and anxiety to an environment that was not exactly fun to begin with, distract teachers and students who must enforce and comply with the rule, and interfere with learning, communication, and social interaction.

To its credit, the Times also has made room for dissenting voices, such as Boston University epidemiologist Helen Jenkins and Joseph Allen, director of the healthy buildings program at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "In Britain the government doesn't require masks for children in schools," they note in an essay published yesterday. "Britain has experts, as we do, and they are looking at the same scientific data we are; they most assuredly care about children's health the same way we do, and yet, they have come to a different policy decision. Schools were prioritized over other activities, and the risks of transmission without masks were considered acceptable."

Times reporter Dana Goldstein describes the British experience in a recent story with a headline that must have come as a shock to many of the paper's readers: "In Britain, Young Children Don't Wear Masks in School." Contrary to the implication, older students are not required to wear masks either. "Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas," the British Department of Education says.

"Under the government guidelines," Goldstein reports, "masks in classrooms were required only for discrete periods in secondary schools, the equivalent of middle and high school, and were never required for elementary-age children." And unlike in the United States, where school mask mandates have generated bitter partisan fights, "both the Conservative and Labour Parties have generally believed that face coverings hinder young children's ability to communicate, socialize and learn."

Shamez Ladhani, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at St. George's Hospital in London, tells Goldstein "the U.K. has always, from the beginning, emphasized they do not see a place for face coverings for children if it's avoidable." The costs of forcing children to wear masks exceed the likely benefits, he says, because the ability to see faces is "important for the social development and interaction between people."

The public health disaster that you might expect based on the position taken by the CDC, the U.S. Education Department, the Times editorial board, and commentators such as Bouie has not transpired in the U.K., Goldstein notes:

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much spread occurred on campuses. But throughout the pandemic, government studies showed that infection rates in schools did not exceed those in the community at large, Dr. Ladhani said. In schools that experienced multiple virus cases, he added, there were often "multiple introductions"—meaning that infections were likely acquired outside the building.

There is debate about whether the end of the school year in mid-July contributed to the nation's drop in virus cases, but some researchers point out that the decline began before schools closed.

Instead of mandating masks, Goldstein says, the British government has "focused on other safety measures," including rapid testing to identify carriers and quarantining their close contacts. Allen and Jenkins note that the impact of quarantines can be minimized by "allowing kids who test negative to go to in-person class rather than mass quarantining hundreds or thousands of children."

A randomized study of British secondary schools and colleges, conducted after the emergence of the delta variant, found that strategy was as effective as mass quarantines. "Though the daily testing regimen was challenging for some schools to carry out," Goldstein says, "the results were reassuring: In both the quarantine and test groups, less than 2 percent of the contacts tested positive for Covid-19." The researchers concluded that "daily contact testing is a safe alternative to home isolation following school-based exposures."

The U.K. is by no means unique in eschewing "universal masking" in schools. As David Zweig notes in New York magazine, "many of America's peer nations around the world—including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy—have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms" without experiencing more school-related COVID-19 outbreaks than the U.S. has seen.

Allen and Jenkins note that "disease severity for a vast majority of kids is low." According to the CDC's "current best estimate," the infection fatality rate for people younger than 18 is 0.002 percent.

Allen and Jenkins do not take a firm position for or against school mask mandates. But they argue that school districts that decide to require masks need to have a clearer idea of the goal they are trying to reach.

While it might seem reasonable to require masks until COVID-19 vaccines are approved for Americans younger than 12, Allen and Jenkins say, what will happen if the vaccination rate in that group proves to be disappointingly low? "If it's conceivable—and even likely—that in March most children will still be unvaccinated, does this mean masks should come off then anyway?" they wonder. "Or would masks be recommended indefinitely?"

That disheartening prospect is hardly unrealistic given the views of many local officials, the CDC's low tolerance for risk, and the Biden administration's suggestion that the agency's advice is legally binding. "Any organization setting a mask mandate at this point in the pandemic in the United States must pair that mandate with an offramp plan," Allen and Jenkins say. "Sleepwalking into indefinite masking is not in anyone's interests and can increase distrust after an already very difficult year."

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  1. So, since kids aren’t getting sick and outbreaks aren’t widespread, Joe needs to crack down on the little fuckers to keep them compliant?

    1. No. Because he fucked up the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the democrats are defecting in droves, Biden needs to get them back on the reservation by picking a fight with DEATHSANTIS!

      1. That is a fight Brian-dead Biden will lose. Bigly.

        1. brain-dead

          (Reason, will you please implement a fucking edit function?!)

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        2. Is this the Brian from the documentary “Life if Brian”? If so he had a good run.

          1. Is this the Brian from the documentary “Life if Brian”?

            I think it’s Brian Wilson, whose verbal output could be mistaken for Joe Biden’s…

      2. INGSOC needs an “Emanuel Goldstein” to center the party’s two minute hate around. Can’t have the lumpen proles thinking . . .

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    2. The lesson Joe learned is that since the kids aren’t spreading it they must be safe to sniff.

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  2. The smartest people assured me that if we were more like Europe, we’d be better off.

    1. That’s why 2 world wars began there. Do you think think those South Americans could have come up with that?

      1. And their record on -isms aren’t so great either. Imperialism. Colonialism. Socialism. Fascism. Communism.

        That capitalism also came from Europe- well, Scotland- is the only reason to keep tabs on them, otherwise it would be in our best interests to let Europe be Europe.

      2. WWII arguably started in Asia. Japs were on the warpath before Hitler joined in on the fun. Just saying. Although you may have been referencing the 7 Years War which was also a world war without the fancy name, so your in the clear.

  3. How dare you question the experts!

    1. I dare question them because they are assholes.

    2. Sorry next time I’ll select Truth, something those experts at the NYTs wouldn’t know anything about.

  4. Sullum foolishly continues to try and argue facts. I think it is very notable that the British government has elected to not mandate masks in school, but what is he to do if tomorrow they change their mind? Does that suddenly make Mask Mandates acceptable?

    Let me be clear: This is the their game. Every time you point to an expert or study that contradicts the totalitarian’s position, you see the CDC, other activists and government officials work to counter those facts with their own.

    Sullum is falling into the same trap he has fallen into all pandemic- trying to argue the SCIENCE! ™ for what is fundamentally a moral question:

    Is there a moral obligation for my child to mask up in order to protect others from a natural threat?

    Note that I am not even talking about Mandating yet. Just, why is there a moral expectation that they are responsible for actively protecting others? Do those kids have a moral obligation to report if their parents take illegal drugs? Do they have a moral obligation to dive in front of a school shooter to protect the other kids? To join the army and go fight the enemy before he comes here? To join the space force and patrol the skies for meteors?

    There is a familiar story that tells of a man who asks a woman to sleep with him for a million dollars. When she agrees, he immediately reduces his offer to $50. She takes offense and asks what kind of girl he thinks she is. And he responds, “We’ve already established what kind of girl you are- now we are just discussing the price.”

    Sullum and others need to stop haggling price with the totalitarians, and decide what kind of libertarian they actually are.

    1. “Every time you point to an expert or study that contradicts the totalitarian’s position, you see the CDC, other activists and government officials work to counter those facts with their own.”

      It shocks me that people don’t see this happening before our eyes. Prior to the pandemic there were nearly 100 years of studies- active and epidemiological- that found little to no impact from wearing masks. And yet as soon as masking became this left vs right schism, all of a sudden these studies start coming out showing the opposite. I’d suspect that these studies were politically motivated, except that the trouble the Denmark study had getting published confirms those suspicions.

      Everyone was certain that we could stop masking as soon as we vaccinated. But then, because of one unpublished study of an atypical “Bear Weekend” in Provincetown, the CDC decided to reverse all that previous research.

      Even Sullum has been carrying water for this stupid fact-selection. Not 3 weeks ago, he was arguing that Rand Paul “overstated” the case against masks because Paul (a medical doctor) used studies that Sullum (an economics and psychology major) felt were inferior to other studies he was referred to by the CDC.

      The level of gaslighting from the CDC boggles the mind. Every month they change their story and people like Sullum descend upon us with sage admonishments about how the “Science says X, so Rand Paul is wrong!” And next month when the CDC changes their tune once again, will Sullum be here to state with absolute certainty that the CDC’s guidance is unimpeachable again?

      1. You mean reporters report the news, and as the news changes so do the reports? How dare they?!?!

        1. reporters report the narrative, and as the narrative changes so do the reporters


          1. You guys are all about shooting the messenger when you don’t like their news. What would reporters need to do differently for you to stop showering them with malice and hatred when you don’t like what they report?

            1. Actual reporting instead of regurgitating press releases and Twitter narratives would be a start. It still happens, from time time.

              One of the many problems with our current political environment and the “democratization of the public sphere” is that it’s catalyzed an ever-expanding pundit class whose sole occupation is to argue with each other. It’s an intellectuals’ version of the WWF, and that news-entertainment apparatus has completely crowded out actual news.

            2. Reporting in something resembling an unbiased presentation rather than blatant partisan hackery. They do little more than putting a professional façade on what is basically the narrative of the day from their preferred political narrative.

              Add to that that scientism is becoming an amorphous new form of their religion and it gets even more muddy.

              1. I don’t know what you just read, but the article I read referenced many different sources and points of view.

            3. “What would reporters need to do differently for you to stop showering them with malice and hatred when you don’t like what they report?”

              Hey sarc, maybe read my first post. I tell Sullum exactly what he should be doing.

              1. For one thing I don’t see him saying the CDC’s guidance is unimpeachable, and secondly who exactly is he supposed to reference? Westboro Baptist Church?

                1. So that’s a no on reading Overt’s first post.

                2. In my first post, I specifically state that Sullum should be focusing on the moral case for/against mask mandates, rather than trying to appeal to the science.

                  Appealing to science 1) cannot answer moral questions and 2) merely creates the mess we are in where the CDC picks and chooses the SCIENCE! ™ that fits their preferred narrative.

                  And yes, I am critical of how slavishly Sullum is parroting CDC guidance. If there is one institution that has been less deserving of the benefit of the doubt, and most abusive of its mantle as a Scientific Authority, it is the CDC. Yet for some reason, Sullum continues to site their cherrypicked study summaries in his articles. Not conflicting summaries and recommendations from other countries- just the opinion analyses of the incompetents at the CDC.

                  And I’ll also note for the record that Sullum in this capacity is not acting as a messenger. He is creating the message. He is opining on the situation, and rendering judgement. Yet for some reason you say he is just being a messenger? How dishonest can you get?

            4. You are all about posting bullshit.

      2. Before COVID there were studies showing that not wearing masks in operating rooms was REDUCING post operative infections by a noticeable amount. The people who conducted the studies were quick to point out that they were NOT recommending the removal of masks from operating rooms.
        The reasons cited for this was tradition and perception.
        Basically if somebody caught an infection in an operating room where masks were not being worn, they were afraid that the hospital and the doctors would be sued out of existence.

    2. Sullum doesn’t know dick about science. Well, maybe political science.

    3. “Sullum is falling into the same trap he has fallen into all pandemic”

      That’s how controlled (occasional) opposition is done.

    4. That is probably the best comment on any topic I have read this year.

    5. Since I’ve seen the example of narcotics prohibition, I can easily believe our leaders, plus a great swath of grass roots, are evil, and that it may be centuries before history acknowledges them as such.

      1. And by evil, I mean knowingly inflicting widespread suffering just because they can be made to appear humanitarian during their lifetimes and probably for many generations to come.


    This talking about March 2020 in NYC, the worst covid place in the country. Before masks.
    Throughout the pandemic, many child care centers have stayed open for the children of front-line workers — everyone from doctors to grocery store clerks. YMCA of the USA and New York City’s Department of Education have been caring for, collectively, tens of thousands of children since March, and both tell NPR they have no reports of coronavirus clusters or outbreaks. As school districts sweat over reopening plans, and with just over half of parents telling pollsters they’re comfortable with in-person school this fall, public health and policy experts say education leaders should be discussing and drawing on these real-world child care experiences.

    The Y says that during the lockdowns it cared for up to 40,000 children between the ages of 1 and 14 at 1,100 separate sites, often in partnership with local and state governments. And in New York City, the pandemic’s national epicenter in March and April, the city’s Department of Education reports that it cared for more than 10,000 children at 170 sites.

    Working in early days, and on very short notice, these two organizations followed safety guidance that closely resembles what’s now been officially put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Y says a few staff members and parents at sites around the country did test positive, but there are no records of having more than one case at a site. This, among a population of essential workers.

    1. One quibble: What the parents can learn? No, what the CDC can learn.

  6. The Jayson Blair school of reporting.

  7. CIA agitprop is quite persuasive, no?

  8. The Times even ran an essay in which University of Louisville research psychologist Judith Danovitch took it for granted that all sensible, scientifically informed people recognize that mask mandates are necessary, then proceeded to argue that such requirements have secondary, character-building benefits.

    None of this is creepy. None of it.

    1. It is like a Bat Signal gets lit periodically, and all these “Scientists” suddenly start presenting “research” that tells us exactly what the elites thought all along. I really don’t get why people like Sullum don’t see it happening.

      1. Lol

        I think it’s funny you think Sullum doesn’t see it coming.

        1. *doesn’t see it happening

      2. Because every totalitarian and anti-Western piece of this is something he obviously believes is good based on his revealed preferences in the first 12 months of this. Either that or he’s willing to destroy all society for some other purpose…mysteries indeed.

        1. Sullum was actually one of the more skeptical of the lockdowns. If you go back and read his articles you see 2 things: 1) Whomever was writing his headlines (my bet is ENB) was getting them wrong, and 2) He over-focused on what the science was saying but regularly said that this didn’t justify a lockdown.

          1. Sullum has the integrity of Lindsay Graham.
            Maybe even less.
            But keep your faith if that’s working out for ya.

    2. Being oppressed builds character, it’s the new Libertarian moment!

  9. Turning children into faceless NPCs…yeah, sure, no harm will come of that.
    Heh, when these “educated” geniuses ever learn something about people? Apparently they don’t consider it to be a topic worth studying; we’re all just supposed to be interchangeable parts who do what the “experts” tell us.

  10. OT: Biden administration now considers giving Taliban AID if they ‘uphold their international obligations’

    The fuck?

    1. Even Neville Chamberlain could figure this one out.

      1. There’s an interesting thought. Had Germany’s economy not been totally crushed by the Treaty of Versailles, perhaps a certain dictator never would have risen to power.

        1. perhaps a certain dictator never would have risen to power


          /Boehm and Sullum

        2. down with BushHitler!

        3. “There’s an interesting thought. Had Germany’s economy not been totally crushed by the Treaty of Versailles, perhaps a certain dictator never would have risen to power.”

          Germany’s economy was *not* crushed by the ToV; you should STFU regarding issues of which you know nothing.
          Which means you really shouldn’t post much at all.

        4. Lol, the bullshit german excuse of the Versailles Treaty.
          Did you know that in the previous war of 1870, Bismarck made France pay huge war reparations too ?
          We should have dismantle this aberration of a country in 1914, would have made the world a big favor, but no, your imbecile president Wilson prevented it.

    2. Let’s consult the Ron Paul table of foreign policy:

      If you do what we want, we give you money.
      If you don’t do what we want, we bomb you.

      Yep, looks like they are now part of the top group.

      1. If you do what we want, we bomb you anyway.

        /HRC’s Libyan policy

    3. We remove our few troops, leave the Taliban high tech weaponry, then send lots of cash! Win, Win for everyone!

      (Well, win for everyone except the American taxpayer and those that are killed once the Taliban start implementing their ‘peace’ plan on American soil).

      But those are just pesky details. Ole Joe got us out of Afghanistan, just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I can see the parades and accolades coming up on CNN already.

      1. The Taliban plan to attack Americans on American soil? That’s news. I thought they just wanted their little religious corner of the world where they could oppress women and feel good about themselves.

      2. I don’t think any of the equipment we left them will get them all the way across the Atlantic or Pacific…

        1. 100,000+ refugees couldn’t possibly contain on operative…

          1. I’m sure they could, and probably do. But unless they also smuggled a bunch of “high tech weaponry” onto those airplanes, they aren’t going to be using the equipment we left in Afghanistan to bring ‘peace’ to America.

            That’s all I was saying.

    4. Giving the a list of collaborators and American citizens still in the country doesn’t count as aid?

    5. I’d be happy to send them aid. 75 to 80 kilotons should do it.

  11. Science can’t come to a consensus on whether forcing people to do something against their will is appropriate because the question of whether safety is more important than freedom is a question about qualitative values–beyond the realm of science.

    “For . . . an appeal to be justified, certain standards must be met:

    1. The authority is an expert in the area of knowledge under consideration.

    2. The statement of the authority concerns his or her area of mastery.

    3. There is agreement among experts in the area of knowledge under consideration.

    No one has more expertise on our own qualitative preferences than we do, and our q

    1. I wasn’t done with that!

      . . . and our qualitative preferences aren’t in anyone’s area of mastery.

      There are rational debates to be had about these policies, but those debates aren’t within the purview of science. They’re ethical debates, political debates, etc., which can be informed by science but are not science themselves.

      Every scientist in the consensus should be free to express their qualitative preferences, but they carry no authority whatsoever by virtue of being scientific nor being within the consensus. If the consensus among scientists is that strawberry tastes better than mint chocolate chip, so what?

      1. Ken I always read your posts when I see the name. Good stuff.

      2. The moment you use the words policy, law, or mandate – it stops being science and becomes politics. Political solutions usually fail.

        1. Great book: “Making of the Atomic Bomb”.
          Once it became obvious that the bomb would work, Truman assembled a ‘targeting committee’, including Oppenheimer.
          Oppy immediately objected: “We are scientists, competent to deliver a weapon. We have no special expertise in its use”.

    2. Maybe your fat finger knew more than you this time, and understood that nobody knows our Q score better than we do ourselves.

  12. OT: Chicago cop who tackled black woman while she walked her dog in a closed park is placed on desk duty

    Second comment: “Thank god the creep didn’t shoot the woman’s dog.”

    Guess that’s not just a Reason meme.

    1. Good plan – now he’s off the streets and much safer.

      1. He’s in an office. With a pandemic on. How’s the ventilation? How good are his masks? We just can’t know.

        He’s at risk of catching COVID and bringing it back to his neighbors. Science demands he be allowed to walk a beat, or be summarily executed. Either is preferable; Science makes no judgments.

        1. Is he still paying union dues? Is he still protected by Qualified Immunity? All good then.

    2. Balko reached a hell of a lot of people when he left here.

  13. Libertarianism is not authoritarianism within the scientific consensus. Libertarianism, more properly, is a qualitative preference for freedom, and it is often entirely rational to prefer freedom despite some of the negative consequences. What libertarian, for instance, would abandon the Fifth Amendment–even if it does sometimes let people get away with murder?

    Only progressives should feel compelled to deny the consequences of authoritarian socialism. If people really understood them, they’d hardly ever support progressives. Who would want to nationalize food distribution if they understood it always leads to starvation? Libertarian capitalists don’t have that problem. We can generally persuade people that whatever the negative consequences of freedom are, the positive consequences are generally worth it.

    1. Yet you want libertarians to abandon free trade, immigration, censorship by private companies, and any other freedoms that TEAM RED doesn’t support. You’re not a libertarian. You’re an authoritarian conservative.

      1. Ken and I very much disagree on a couple of those topics. Does that make him a TEAM RED shill and me a true libertarian or vice versa?

        1. It seems in today’s society, personal attributes are not inherent to one’s character but a projection of what your haters want you to be.

      2. When has Ken ever advocated for tariffs or stricter immigration policy?

        1. He has never done so, and you can go back to the Trump years and see him (and myself) being yelled at by the Trumpers for disagreeing with Trump’s Tariff actions and immigration.

          Another area where you see Ken (and myself) disagreeing with the Trumpers is on section 230 reform.

          For some reason, Sarc showed up in this thread with a bone to pick.

          1. “…For some reason,..”

            sarc hasn’t yet reached his daily ‘I can prove I’m an ignoramus’ limit.

      3. “Yet you want libertarians to abandon free trade, immigration, censorship by private companies, and any other freedoms that TEAM RED doesn’t support. You’re not a libertarian. You’re an authoritarian conservative.”

        Fatty’s trying to get in shape by lifting all those strawmen.
        Besides which, he’s full of shit.

  14. “If you are a regular reader of The New York Times, you could be forgiven for thinking . . . ”

    No one who still reads the NYT can be accused of thinking.

  15. “If you are a regular reader of The New York Times,”
    you might be a sheltered commie cuck.

    Up next Jefff Foxworthy’s career comeback!

  16. It’s not about preventing illness, it’s about creating a generation of compliant subjects who do whatever the government tells them.

    1. Between the lack of oxygen from the masks, and the constant fascist propaganda, they won’t do anything unless their rulers tell them to.

    2. This mass social conditioning is going to have to be violently resisted at some point

  17. What is libertarian about a State telling a local school district how to manage an outbreak?

    1. Says the guy who thinks it appropriate to “have a discussion” about if it’s time to forcibly vaccinate the whole population

    2. What’s libertarian about telling people they HAVE to wear masks?

      And you do realize that the states telling the subservient school districts they can’t FORCE kids to wear a mask is not the same as telling the kids they can’t wear a mask if they choose, right?

      1. 1) It’s a decision made at the local level

        2) there are other schools they could choose to attend, including the public school district next door at no charge. that district doesn’t like masks.

        1. Force is still force.

        2. Lmao. You stupid. That’s not how the real world works.

        3. At least in Texas the law is actually that no government agencies below the state can mandate mask requirements. This also keeps a county from requiring it for a school district within their jurisdiction. And some school districts straddle county lines. Also, the only way to change school districts would be to move. It is being talked about less but some of the cases are actually the counties requiring it not the district. So it is a situation of competing local levels. A school district could have schools in multiple cities and counties with each one requiring or not. Personally, I think the school districts should be allowed to decide because that is the most local elected official, but I understand that the mandate as it relates to all lower level of governments helps prevent officials I didn’t elect from mandating requirements in the school my kid goes to.

          1. “Personally, I think the school districts should be allowed to decide because that is the most local elected official, ”

            In general any elected officials at the district level have far less power than the governor.

  18. My district was open all last year, with mask requirements, but does not have a mask mandate this year.

    Among children 11 and under, the worst month last year was Jan with 657 cases. In 2 weeks of August we have had a total of 1600 cases, and attendance is also suffering.

    This data would argue that masks are likely to be helpful.

    1. Data doesn’t matter. Only politics matter. If you don’t oppose masks then you’re a cowardly, sniveling liberal. Period. Anything short of complete opposition equals begging for tyranny. Don’t you get it? The only people who support masks are totalitarian progressives who want to enslave us all! If you don’t believe that then you’re licking the boot that holds you down! You voted for Biden! You wanted this! Die motherfucker! Kill yourself and your entire family! Aaauuugghhhh!

      I think that pretty much summarizes the conservative point of view.

      1. >>The only people who support masks are totalitarian progressives

        most of the Middle East too … totalitarian but not so progressive

        1. They identify as progressive, so we must accept that as real.

      2. Yeah, that’s the only way to approach the data presented.

        Couldn’t be that his anecdote doesn’t account for Delta being present this year and it’s more infectious than the variant they were dealing with last year. That’s just politics.

        1. Or distancing measures and general interaction has changed. People are living with the virus so it’s tough to try to say rightfully or wrongly it was just masks. Kind of like the hamster study on efficacy

        2. It would be easy to test.

          Institute a mask mandate and see if the trend changes.

          1. Sounds Sciency, but it’s not.

      3. If data actually mattered, you guys would shut up about mask mandates working in any fashion…

      4. “…If you don’t oppose masks then you’re a cowardly, sniveling liberal. Period…”

        Stupid shit can’t post without a strawman, can he?

    2. My kids district also has more cases this year so far, than during the peak last year. And we *do* currently have a mask mandate.

      Additionally, Los Angeles County has had stricter lockdowns and mask mandates than Orange County that neighbors it. And despite this, Orange County has a lower case rate than Los Angeles.

      So by your logic, masks are likely to cause more cases, right? Or is data only data if it agrees with your policy preference?

      1. It’s a testable hypothesis.

        What frustrates me is that the county has a lovely chart showing rates for children 0-11, but they don’t show the same data for 12-18. That might be helpful for teasing out the potential impact of vaccinations.

        My interest is entirely academic. my kids are vaccinated, and I don’t care if they mandate masks. They mandate every other aspect of how my kids dress, and frankly I’m angry that they get to wear shorts on air conditioned buses. I had to wear jeans in 95 degrees on a bus with no air conditioning.

        1. “It’s a testable hypothesis.

          My interest is entirely academic. ”

          Oh spare me. Your interest was to try and convince people that the data supports mask mandates being effective. When I pointed out counterfactuals, you retreat to “ah yes the data is very complicated.”

          It is transparently obvious what you are trying to do. You post a factoid expecting the yes-man crowd to virtually high five you and promote the idea of scientific certainty. Then when people call you on the BS, you retreat to “I’m just posting data”.

          People do it all the time, especially in support of the absurd and draconian infringements of freedom that have been thrust on us over the last 18 months. I tire of your SCIENCE! ™ bullshit where you act like you are the only ones with a grasp on the facts.

      2. The issue is that mask mandates do not correlate with outcomes. You can see this in data all over the world. Places with mandates see cases go up or down. Places w/o mandates see cases go up or down. When they don’t correlate then there ain’t not causation. Something else is driving the virus, not masks.

      3. It’s not shocking that we would see more infections this year, since most school districts had optional in person learning last year.

    3. “This data would argue that masks are likely to be helpful.”

      See Ken’s comments above: none of your business.

  19. If you are a regular reader of The New York Times

    Do I
    (a) laugh
    (b) cry
    (c) deride
    (d) skip this complete waste of time and move on


    Diagnosed with a Pancreas Disorder, Admitted as a COVID Patient

    After a battery of testing, my friend was diagnosed with pancreatitis. But it was easier for the hospital bureaucracy to register the admission as a COVID case.

    Let me explain. This patient had none of the classic symptoms of COVID: No shortness of breath, no fever, no chills, no congestion, no loss of sense of smell or taste, no neurological issues. The only COVID symptoms my friend had were nausea and fatigue, which could also be explained by the surgery. However, nearly three weeks earlier, a COVID test had come back positive.

    1. As reported by the Associated Press, “The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.”

      At the same time, data collection is done on a state by state basis. In most states, a person is only considered fully vaccinated fourteen days after they have had the full series of the vaccine.

      This means that anyone coming into an American hospital who has only had one dose, or who has had both vaccines but had the second one less than two weeks prior, will likely be counted as “unvaccinated.”

      So when the South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control released a report about COVID severity on July 23, 2021, they reported higher morbidity and mortality rates in the “not fully vaccinated.” Are these people who have had one vaccine and gotten sick, two vaccines and gotten sick, or no vaccines at all? Without more details, it is impossible to know what is really going on.

      1. To muddy the waters further, even people who test negative for COVID are sometimes counted as COVID deaths.

        Consider the case of 26-year-old Matthew Irvin, a father of three from Yamhill County, Oregon. As reported by KGW8 News, Irvin went to the ER with stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea on July 5, 2020. But instead of admitting him to the hospital, the doctors sent him home.

        Five days later, on July 10, 2020, Irvin died. Though his COVID test came back negative two days after his death and his family told reporters and public health officials that no one Irvin had been around had any COVID symptoms, the medical examiner allegedly told the family that an autopsy was not necessary, listing his death as a coronavirus case. It took the Oregon Health Authority two and a half months to correct the mistake.

        In an even more striking example of overcounting COVID deaths, a nursing home in New Jersey that only has 90 beds was wrongly reported as having 753 deaths from COVID. According to a spokesman, they had fewer than twenty deaths. In other words, the number of deaths was over-reported by 3,700 percent.

        1. According to news reports, over 85 percent of the Israeli adult population has been vaccinated. But a July report from Israel’s Ministry of Health found that Pfizer’s vaccine is only 39 percent effective. Though Israeli health officials are telling the public that the cases are more mild in vaccinated individuals, this upsurge in COVID cases and deaths is leading Israel’s prime minister to issue new restrictions.

          Dr. Peter McCullough, an academic internist and cardiologist in practice in Dallas, Texas, says that a large number of people in the hospitals right now have, indeed, been fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized, and … 19 percent of them have died,” McCullough says. “This is not a crisis of the unvaccinated. That’s just a talking point. The vaccinated are participating in this.”

          1. “Fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized, and … 19 percent of them have died,” McCullough says.

            That’s a very convenient ellipses.

            And then there is this claim “Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine is just 39% effective in Israel where the delta variant is the dominant strain, ” which ignores this from the same study: However, the two-dose vaccine still works very well in preventing people from getting seriously sick, demonstrating 88% effectiveness against hospitalization and 91% effectiveness against severe illness, according to the Israeli data published Thursday.


            1. I don’t get what your point is that this article makes it seems marginally more effective. Whether that’s true the article you use makes it still only about that same average without it and contracting it.

    2. This is why I prefer to see analysis of excess death. It doesn’t rely on why we think someone died.

      Between March 1, 2020, and January 2, 2021, the US experienced 2 801 439 deaths, 22.9% more than expected, representing 522 368 excess deaths

      The 22.9% increase in all-cause mortality reported here far exceeds annual increases observed in recent years (≤2.5%).

  21. These arguments remind me of the 80s.

    “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. It’s merely associated with it.”

    1. Fauci fucked up that whole deal as well.
      He should be in chains.

  22. COVID seems perfectly designed to kill stupid people. I just wish they weren’t hogging all the ICU beds.

    1. Do you mean mostly morbidly obese, preexisting conditions and being old?

    2. They’re not. Like smokers, they die in a hurry.

      1. “ they die in a hurry.”

        Our resident idiots would put lie to that claim Sevo.

    3. I just wish they weren’t hogging all the ICU beds.
      Why, do you need one?

  23. Live and let live
    Kill or be killed

    If one side rejects the former, the situation is necessarily the latter.
    Take note.


    JUST IN – Certain immune cells from prior infections with “common cold” coronaviruses boost the immune response against #COVID19, a new study led by Charité Medical University Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics concludes.

    1. Stuff we knew last July at the latest.

    1. Upthread you’re prattling on (correctly!) about overcounts in hospitalizations & deaths. Apply the same logic here.

      Shit, I’m in the VAERS… for appendicitis five months after my second shot.

  25. With the NYT it is always about ideology not facts…see their coverage of the 10million killed by Troytsky who ran the mass starvation program in the Ukraine…the American people need to understand the NYT is not American in any way but a fifth column of communists and cultural marxists…everything must be distilled through the “old world” filter first…facts are not important…

  26. “People will die” the sheep frantically bleat.

  27. The CDC’s recent data suggests that mask mandates might be responsible for a 0.5% reduction of COVID infections relative to places without mask mandates. Which is it say, that if you might get 1000 infections without a mask mandate, you might get *only* 995 infections with a mandate in place.

    That hardly seems worth all the commotion.

    If you feel like you’re in an at-risk group, then by all means take whatever measures you feel are reasonable for yourself. You can politely ask me to help you protect yourself, but don’t expect me to make any effort to help you, though, and if you try to force me to do so, there is going to be backlash.

    If your kid is deathly allergic to peanuts, I expect you to teach your kid to not eat peanuts, to carry an epipen in case he accidentally does so, and to politely ask me if the cookies I’m serving might possibly have peanuts in them.

    If you inform me before hand, I’ll probably even make an extra effort to avoid creating an issue for your kid.

    But if you say “No one who sends a kid to this school can be permitted to have any peanut products in their home because they could be uncaring assholes and let their kids eat peanut butter toast and wipe their hands on their jacket before coming to school and killing my kid.” I’ll probably say “Fuck you” and slick my kid’s hair back with peanut oil and send them to school with a PB&J for lunch.

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