Late last week, the California governor’s office put out a tweet advising that restaurant-goers keep their masks on while dining.

“Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend?” the tweet reads. “Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites. Do your part to keep those around you healthy.”

In California, masks are required for anyone going outside their home, as well as workers in customer-facing businesses, offices, factories, and health care professionals, among others, according to the state’s COVID-19 guidance.

The statement drew a great deal of push-back on social media for many common-sense reasons.

This response to the California guidance shows that it may be time to really consider if the mask mandates really work.

Respiratory protection is one of the topics I cover in my environmental health and safety courses. Interestingly, such protection is recommended only after engineering controls, and individual work practices have been ruled out as effective protection. This is because anything that relies on humans 100% for success is doomed for failure.

Let’s consider some of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules for the proper use and care of face masks, such as donning the mask.

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face

The hands are one of the most efficient highways for germs into the body, but how many of us wash our hands (or even put sanitizer) when donning masks? And I can’t tell you how many times I see people with masks that are not covering the nose or chin. And, if you follow the California Office of Governor Guidance, you will be smearing contaminants onto the mask through your meal.

There are numerous other rules for good mask-wearing, including laundering after use. However, how many people actually grab a clean, fresh mask every time they use one? How many people properly launder (i.e., use bleach if washing by hand).

Californians have lived with mask mandates for over 6 months now. Perhaps it is a good time to review if they are working. A group of researchers, including A.J. Kay, author of “The Curve Is Already Flat,” graphed the timing of the mask mandates and COVID-19 deaths, showing a steep rise following their implementation.

The team prepared 17 different charts comparing the institutions of mask mandates and a variety of health consequences. For example, here is one comparing Israel, Sweden, and the number of new cases.

As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis notes, these charts fail to show any correlation between mask mandates (which presumably increase the wearing of masks) and reductions in COVID-19 infections.

Furthermore, prolonged mask usage has its own set of potential health consequences. For example, skin irritation and rashes, breathing difficulties for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

There has been a great deal of debate if masks prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, the real question should be, “Do the strict mask mandates work?” They don’t.


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