In early August, MSNBC medical contributor Dr. Kavita Patel suggested it was time for Americans to mask up again. Joe Biden has expressed his intention to don his mask, and several schools, hospitals, and universities nationwide are heeding his call.
This is former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci’s favorite song, and he was quick to join in the chorus. He recently expressed concern that “people will not abide by masking recommendations.”
But Fauci’s reign of terror is over, and his peers wasted no time in pointing out that his advice is wrong, unproven, and potentially dangerous.
Before the pandemic, experts discouraged the use of masks because the evidence available at the time did not support their effectiveness in protecting the wearer. For example, a study conducted in 2011 involving healthcare providers in Hanoi, Vietnam, who wore cloth masks for four weeks in 14 hospitals, showed they had higher rates of respiratory illness, laboratory-confirmed viral infections, and influenza-like illnesses compared to those who didn’t use masks.
The World Health Organization’s guidance in January 2020 also advised against the use of cloth masks, stating that they were not recommended under any circumstances.
Dr. John W. Ayers, Ph.D., vice chief of innovation in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego, points out, “It’s important to note that this is contrary to what Fauci is arguing. He now says you mask to protect yourself, which the evidence never supported.” Ayers adds, “Fauci’s claims about masking policies, which include reusable cloth masks and surgical masks, will not reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Ayers said that studies pointing to the efficacy of masking were biased and that no randomized community trials were funded despite what he called a “substantial budget.” Ayers notes that randomized studies are the “gold standard” of trials, while observational studies, like those Fauci based his opinion on, are biased.
Family medicine doctor Laura Purdy observes that COVID is now a “fixture of cold and flu season.” She pointed out that COVID increases are on the rise because this is the season when people catch and transmit viruses more frequently. She said that there is no reason for renewed mask recommendations and that it is up to individuals to make their own decisions.
Dr. Brett Osborn, a West Palm Beach, Florida, neurosurgeon agrees. He notes that most of the population will be exposed to COVID variants with the same frequency as the flu or common cold. He goes on to add that this mass exposure is inevitable and will happen despite masks, lockdowns, and quarantines. In his opinion, these measures only “cultivate a sense of false security.”
Scottsdale, Arizona’s Dr. Shana Johnson, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, cautioned against forcing kids to mask up again. She said that while mandates negatively impacted all kids, those on the autism spectrum were most affected. In fact, she noted that disciplining neurodivergent children for their inability to wear masks is “discriminating against them due to their disability.” She goes on to observe that mask requirements are not necessary because of the mild nature of COVID infections in most kids.
In January 2023, a Cochrane review found that masks were not effective in reducing the number of people catching the flu or COVID. The review referenced nine studies and a total of just under 277,000 people to support the claim.
Fauci observed that the CDC is once again recommending masks but points out that it’s a “recommendation” and not a “mandate.” Experts warn that these recommendations led to local, business, and state mandates during the pandemic and are likely to do so again.
Nothing would make Fauci happier than watching the nation dissolve into panic once more, but this time around, no one is listening to him. Social media platforms are full of memes, including one that states, “I won’t be playing in the 2023 pandemic games.” Users have been brutal in their response to Fauci and his recommendations, firmly stating that while they were fooled once before, they won’t be fooled again.
Throughout the pandemic, those who refused to wear masks were bullied and mocked. This time around, those now choosing to mask up are facing the same treatment. In July, In and Out Burger had a strict no-mask policy that forbids employees from masking up on the job. The popular burger joint is now involved in a Civil Rights Complaint filed by employees who want to mask up at work.
One lone and now irrelevant medical professional stands apart from his peers, seeking to cling to his fifteen minutes of fame. Fauci insists that there is “no doubt” that there is an advantage to masking.
But to his dismay, there is doubt, and a lot of it.