Refusal to consider harms led to nuance-free policies
My favorite thought exercise:
Late 2019 you go to a school board meeting. Tell them you think everyone in the school - students, teachers, visitors, administrators - should be forced to wear a hospital-style mask on their face, all day every day. The reason is this might prevent some cases of the flu.
Of course they would think you were crazy. If required to take a position, every single school board member regardless of ideology would oppose it. In fact the more "progressive" ones might oppose it more thoroughly, because they would think about the impact on special needs kids and so on.
The key point is that the opposition would not stem, mainly, from the school board's beliefs in the efficacy of masks. Presumably they would have no idea whether it would "work" or not. Who would even care, whether it "worked?"
Rather they would focus on how utterly absurb the idea is, that learning or even just living could take place in with everyone's faces covered for 8 hours a day. The list of problems with this is almost as endless as it is obvious.
Yet somehow, the idea that masking is a "zero-cost" intervention, hardly even worth measuing the downsides, became a pillar of covid orthodoxy for the last 3 years. Of all the gaslighting, this was some of the most impressive.
Outstanding review of unbiased facts, Kelley. Shows the honest work a person without an agenda can accomplish. Thanks for documenting the history of what happened, so necessary.
Thanks Kelly Great work. I live in Canada. Our Covid/mask policies have been as bad as any "red" state. And many people are still masking. the difference between the US and Canada is that in Canada there really is very little push back or debate on these policies. I have to look to US and British journalists and scientists for a reasoned discussion.