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Commentary

Here's the Death Rate in LA County the Same Weekend It Reinstated the Mask Mandate

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You knew it was going to happen.

Those Who Know Best have enjoyed the power they’ve gained in the coronavirus pandemic. So why not make it a perpetual health crisis?

That’s what’s going on in Los Angeles County.

Following more than a year of draconian limitations, the county finally re-opened on June 15. That same day, there were 210 new cases of COVID-19, according to the county’s Department of Public Health. A month later — last Thursday — there were 1,537 cases, the highest in four months.

And three deaths.

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Three.

Recognizing that three deaths is a crisis, the county health department on Thursday decreed that residents — vaccinated or not — had to begin wearing masks indoors.

The mask mandate went into effect at midnight Sunday. Four new COVID deaths were reported that day.

Of course, death by sickness is tragic (and there were 11 deaths reported Saturday), but as with so many things regarding the pandemic, there is a lack of perspective in Los Angeles County.

Do we need to go back to masks?

The county has roughly 10 million residents — about a fourth of the population of the state of California.

The deaths of less than 20 people — while impactful to their families — should statistically and practically be of no consequence when making public health decisions.

Masks represent an important public health decision, especially since they could cause some health problems and may have psychological effects.

And the way many people wear them, they’re less effective, too.

Also, if one must wear a mask after being vaccinated, why get the shot? Is the vaccine effective or not?

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One official in Los Angeles County who is not buying it all is Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science,” he said in a statement Friday, noting the new county policy contradicts that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The wearing of masks should be voluntary, the sheriff said.

The county’s Department of Public Health is citing the delta strain of COVID as one of the main threats.

Perhaps.

But public health officials have promoted falsehoods and cried wolf so many times that one of their key foundations of authority — credibility — is gone.

Because after the delta variant is passed, we all know there will be the epsilon strain, then zeta, then eta, then Larry, then Moe, then Curly. And so on.

Of course, peoples’ lives and health are important.

But our health officials need to be doing more than just keeping the crisis going.

They need credibility.

And they need perspective, too.

Truth and Accuracy

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.




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