By Kevin Roche
The timing is so obvious as to be laughable. CDC and the public health experts have obviously been sitting on two papers that they released on Friday. They knew weeks ago about the Danish mask study results so they had some ammunition ready to defend the mask religion. The first is from Kansas, source of discredited fudging with data on a mask study before, and lo and behold, it is the same crap, warmed over again, purporting to show a very small difference in case rates in counties with and without mask mandates. They must think it will be more appetizing the second time around. (CDC Paper)
The study ends August 23, before the latest Midwest wave began. Ooops, according to the Covid Tracking Project, Kansas is seeing a big jump in cases. Oh well, good thing the CDC paper authors stopped that study when they did. Gee, do I recall another large county mask mandate study being withdrawn lately because the authors at least had the intellectual honesty to recognize that the subsequent case surge rendered their analysis moot. Again, why are you looking at presence of a mandate instead of actual mask wearing, which is readily available; how are you separating out the effect of other mitigation efforts; why don’t you adjust for population density and total cases in the counties, because it appears that the ones that had a mandate were the largest ones which likely had already experienced a more intense epidemic and on and on. And in fact, buried in the paper is a statement acknowledging just that, the heavily populated mandate counties had already experienced higher cases than the non-mandate ones. Be sure to read the limitations section, that is further enlightening, especially the one referring to “attenuation of results”. And I like that the lone reference for the proposition that this is consistent with other research is the worthless Health Affairs modeling study. Kansas is a lousy reporter of data, but it looks to me from the data I could find, that a lot of the case surge is in counties that retained the mask mandate. I am sure we will get an updated report from the CDC extending its analysis. There is a reason they didn’t publish this useless garbage until they felt they had to come up with some response to a randomized clinical trial.
Paper number two was just a rehash of research on cloth masks, I don’t know why they even bother to put this out, there is nothing new in the paper at all. (CDC Brief) No new evidence, an admission of how weak the existing evidence is, ignore the CDC’s own publications that indicate ineffectiveness of masks and for some reason, no discussion of the fact that we are seeing very large case surges in places with very high mask wearing rates, surges that lead to case curves that look like pretty classic, unmitigated epidemic curves.
Again, I am sure the timing is just coincidental, no way that Fauci or Birx or Redfield said give us whatever you got to counter the Danish mask study. If those sorry efforts are the best you have, good luck with them.
And a final paper from the CDC on Minnesota DOH’s favorite topic in August, that naughty, naughty Sturgis motorcycle rally. 400,000 attendees, resulting among Minnesotans, although remember, this is Minnesota contact tracing we are talking about here, in 51 primary cases, only 21 secondary cases, which is a very low secondary attack rate, and 9 more potential secondary or tertiary cases, 4 hospitalizations and one unfortunate death, which we were told at the time by DOH was a person with serious underlying conditions. Hardly a disaster and a grand total of 3 one-hundredths of a percent of Minnesota’s total cases. You know, I wonder how many accidents Minnesota residents were involved in related to the rally and what the results of those accidents were. (CDC Paper)