A mandate-free month

What’s happening in Shelby County, now that restrictions have been lifted and a month has passed since the mask mandate was relaxed?

We’re at 53% of the Health Department’s vaccination goal, and we’re surrounded by Neanderthal thinking. It must be pandemonium, right?

Great question. I’m glad you asked.

The mask mandate was completely irrelevant.

The mandate did not stop cases from rising more than 700% in 2020.

Since the mandate was lifted, the new cases average has dropped 70%.

Even better, the warnings from experts could not have been less accurate.

We weren’t “growing the epidemic.”

The numbers did not “skyrocket.”

Instead of 6,000 active cases, we’re below 400.

Public health may never come to grips with how little control we have over an airborne virus.

But how did they get it so wrong? When will someone in media ask?


Hygiene theater is giving me a case of the Mondays

When a hypnotherapy session goes awry in the 1999 film Office Space, protagonist Peter Gibbons is released from the anxieties of his soul-sucking job. Returning to work the next week, Peter takes a power drill to his cubicle wall and pushes it open to reveal a clear view of the outside world.

That’s what all of us should be doing to every last vestige of hygiene theater.


How the virus spreads

Below is a brief timeline of news related to the belated acknowledgement that COVID-19 is an airborne virus and that aerosols are the dominant driver of spread, not larger droplets or surface contamination.

This admission by health officials is significant because it explains why hand washing, social distancing and masks did not work.


Questioning the dogma

If droplets were the main mode of transmission, as public health experts insisted until yesterday, all of the measures they promoted for the past year would have been successful.

They were not successful.

But because of a stigma against questioning the dogma of experts, reinforced by social media bans and algorithmic disclaimers, we had to pretend as if they were, and as if the main problem was lack of compliance.


Did the mandate help?

Leadership from the Shelby County Health Department is crediting the mask mandate for a reduction in the infection rate. Below is a clip from today’s Joint Covid Task Force news conference.

“There have been two time periods where we had… the reproductive rate pushed below one. The first was last July, after the initial face-masking orders went into place across the county and throughout the City of Memphis, and that – just simply wearing the mask – drove the reproductive rate of the virus down by interfering enough with the transmission of the virus that Rt (or reproductive rate) dropped below one.” – David Sweat

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this interpretation.