Masks Must NOT Stay
Masks are not benign, nor do they serve to reduce case growth. They are not the reason that flu went away, nor RSV. We need to consider long and hard if we want to become a masked state, and what impact that will have on our communities, our children, and our economy. It will not reduce disease. It will likely further atomize our communities. It will also likely accelerate the transition of the country’s cultural locus from the northeast to freer places. It will harm our state.
The evidence supporting the efficacy of masks in reducing viral transmission is extremely low-quality (observational studies with carefully selected dates, studies without controls, and a raft of mechanistic studies and modeling studies). In 2020, the CDC recommended research to better understand the mechanism of transmission, to understand the disconnect between these types of studies, and the 14 randomized control trials showing limited mask effectiveness. It instead continued doing more studies of the same kind, but with ever more flawed methodologies. (Don’t even mention the Bangladeshi study).
Compulsory masking has a very unsavory power dynamic associated with it, with the groups that are forced to mask, typically being those without the ability to resist (children, servers, retail workers). The same was—and is—true in Japan, and used to be considered an unpleasant, corporatist (note, not collectivist) element of their culture.