Philadelphia brought back its citywide mask mandate this week in the hopes that doing so would keep COVID cases from rising again in the city:
Obviously this was a silly idea. Mask mandates don't work, and wearing masks is profoundly uncomfortable, dehumanizing and awful. We are painfully aware of both of these things after more than two years of pandemic hysteria.
Philadelphia officials belatedly seemed to figure this out and—likely sensing the avalanche of negative backlash that would surely accompany the new mandate—they announced the end of the mandate four days after it went into effect:
Four days after Philadelphia became the first major American city to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in response to rising coronavirus cases this spring, the city health department announced that the mandate would be lifted because of improving conditions.
"Politicians backtrack on their own stupid policies after the winds shift" is nothing new. It happens a lot. But Philly's own stated reasons for reversing the mask mandate are...well, they're something else:
The city health commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, said on Friday morning that recent days of declining case counts and hospitalizations in the city meant a mask requirement was no longer necessary. Pointing out that cases and hospitalizations were still rising in some surrounding counties and states, Dr. Bettigole argued that the improving situation in Philadelphia was proof that the mandate — even just the announcement of it on April 11, a week before it went into effect — had worked.
"It looks like what happened was that announcement itself was enough to head off that wave," she said in a news conference, arguing that Philadelphians had immediately increased their vigilance in response to the announcement. "We consistently want to be the least restrictive necessary. And if that level of warning is enough to head off a wave, then we don't need a mandate."
"The announcement itself was enough to head off that wave."
It is hard to imagine a more pathetically desperate self-serving justification than this: That the mere "announcement" of a mask mandate is enough to "head off" a spike in cases of a communicable respiratory disease.
You gotta appreciate the evolution of masking science over the past two years:
- At the outset of the pandemic we were told masks don't work, we shouldn't buy them, and we were idiots for believing they could stop the virus.
- Then, quite literally overnight, experts started telling us that masks were absolutely critical and indispensable tools to fight the pandemic, we all needed to wear them like 85% of our waking hours, and if we didn't we were quite literally mass murderers.
- Then we were told that we could take our masks off if were vaccinated.
- Then we were told we had to put them back on even if we were vaccinated!
- NOW we are being told that merely announcing a mask mandate is enough to stop the spread of a virus!
Masks: Is there anything they can't do? I think not! Way to go, Philadelphia!
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