The CDC issues new coronavirus guidelines, but does anyone listen anymore when they also tell us a vaccine is no substitute for a mask?

President Biden announces you don’t need to wear a mask alone in the desert and that vaccinated people can gather in small groups.  Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks it’s still not safe for even vaccinated people to go to a restaurant.  It’s enough to make one wonder if the experts have taken a look outside in the past year.  States like Florida and Texas are fully open already, and most people haven’t been wearing masks under the clear blue sky from the very beginning.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued much hyped new guidance on the use of masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.  The supposedly big change was a loosening of restrictions outdoors.  Now, fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask while walking, running, hiking or biking alone.  In addition, fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear a mask in small gatherings.

The announcement was so lackluster that even The New York Times described it as “modest and carefully written.”  President Biden, however, pretended it was a “landmark moment in the pandemic.” The Times described our fearless leader wearing “a mask as he approached the lectern on a warm spring day on the White House grounds — and pointedly keeping it off as he walked back into the White House when he was done.”

“Earlier today the CDC made an important announcement. Starting today if you are fully vaccinated and outdoors, not in a big crowd, you can go without a mask,” Biden proclaimed.  Of course masks are still recommended in crowded places, outside or inside, but you can hang out with a few friends in a park or a picnic, because the “odds of getting or giving the virus are very low out in open air.”

“Go get the shot. It’s never been easier,” he concluded. “And once you’re fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you’re outside and away from big crowds.”  CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walenksy, echoed President Biden.  “We no longer feel that the vaccinated people require masks outdoors,” except for “large public venues, such as concerts, stadiums and things like that.”

This is what passes for a big achievement in the year 2021?  Fully vaccinated people, that is people who have taken the time to get one or two shots, and are supposedly immune to the virus, nor do studies indicate they spread it, can be outside, alone, without a mask.

Who knew?

Actually, former President Donald Trump and one of his coronavirus advisors, the much-maligned Dr. Scott Atlas did, as far back as last fall.  In October, Dr. Atlas asked, “Why in the world would you wear a mask if you’re riding your bicycle all alone outside?  Why in the world would you wear a mask if you’re in your own car driving?  Why in the world would you wear a mask if you’re in the desert all alone?” If a tree falls in a forest and you’re not wearing a mask can you get infected?

I’m making that last one up of course, but Dr. Atlas’s radical statements, among other heterodoxies, prompted former CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield to claim that everything he “says is false.”  YouTube even went so far as to censor him for daring to suggest that the data surrounding masks was unclear.  Dr. Atlas believed, as anyone with any common sense whatsoever should be able to figure out, masks are only effective in certain circumstances.

Imagine that?

Fast forward seven months, and the geniuses at the CDC are finally catching up to Dr. Atlas.  I’m sure an apology will be forthcoming shortly.  In the meantime, it’s enough to make you wonder if anyone at the CDC, President Biden himself, or his top coronavirus advisor, the good Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been outside or observed average Americans at all for the past year, or if they are locked in some sort of impenetrable box, like something out of Schroedinger’s cat.

Perhaps someone should inform them that Florida never had a mask mandate and has had no restrictions on restaurants since last August.  Texas removed its mask mandate 6 weeks ago.  Other states are following suit.  Since the pandemic began, I’ve been in several different locations throughout New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and, regardless of what city or town I was in, mask usage outdoors has always been a relative rarity.  I’m not saying no one should wear them, if you feel you should for whatever reason, please do, but the idea that most of America has been masked up while alone in a field is preposterous on its face.

Ultimately, it prompts the question:  Why are the “experts” and our President issuing guidance that they must know no one is actually following?  Dr. Fauci himself is a veritable font of such wisdom.  He seems to believe that no one is eating out, apparently for the past year.  In fact, he thinks it won’t be safe to go to a local restaurant for “ several months into the second half and beyond 2021.”  He believes this whether you are vaccinated or not.  When asked point blank if it was safe for vaccinated people to eat out, he said “No, it’s still not.”

He went even further, claiming that being vaccinated, as in being immune to the disease, is no substitute for a mask.  “A vaccine right now is not a substitute for the normal standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate, crowded sections, and particularly indoors,” he claimed. “It’s not a substitute. It compliments it only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it’s no longer a public health threat.”

Does this make the slightest bit of sense to you?  Immunity is not a substitute for social distancing and mask wearing?  Isn’t immunity the whole point?

I would suggest that Dr. Fauci visit Florida and Texas.  Less than a week ago, Florida hosted a UFC fight, indoors, with close to 20,000 mostly maskless attendees.  Texas is regularly hosting baseball games with up to 40,000 attendees, but he thinks you still can’t eat out, go to a bar, or church.  Please keep in mind that we the taxpayers pay over $400,000 per year for Dr. Fauci’s wisdom.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s too busy managing the pandemic to get outside and actually observe people in action.  He’s just too deep in the data for the real world.

Unfortunately, he and the other highly paid experts completely fail that test as well.  First, the data has been in on outdoor activities for months now.  The Wall Street Journal reported on two studies, one traced 318 outbreaks to determine the chain of transmission. In only one, that is a single case out of over 300, as in .3%, did the outbreak originate outside.  Another study showed that indoor transmission was nineteen times more likely than outdoor transmission.

We also know the virus is rare in children, indeed we have known it from almost day one, and yet the CDC is still recommending kids be masked at all times at summer camp.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The only times children should remove their masks is when they are swimming, napping, eating or drinking; they should be spaced far apart for these activities, positioned head to toe for naps and seated at least 6 feet apart for meals, snacks and water breaks.”  That sounds like a lot of fun, sign me up.

Second, he and others of his ilk keep referring to some kind of raging outbreak in the United States, the “impending doom” Dr. Walenky feared over a month ago, but they refuse to acknowledge the plunge in cases and deaths that has already occurred this year.  New cases peaked on January 12, but by March 12 they plunged 78.3%.  Deaths have also plunged over a similar period, down from a seven-day average peak of 3,457 on January 13 to 666 today, an 80.8% drop.

CDC Cases Per Day
Coronavirus cases per day as reported by the CDC

Even more amazingly, the less restrictive states including Texas and Florida are keeping their cases under control while outbreaks are occurring in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.  Speaking of Texas, even Nate Silver, no conservative, is taking aim at Beto O’Rourke’s claim that Governor Greg Abbott signed a “death warrant” by eliminating the mask mandate six weeks ago.  At the time, he tweeted, “Making a note to myself to check up on these in a few weeks but these projections strike me as pretty darn pessimistic in a world where vaccinations rates are rapidly increasing.”  True to his word, the data guru followed up earlier this week, “OK it ’ s been a month so checking up on this dude’s apocalyptic predictions and yeah as you might have expected they were pretty much full of shit.”

Unfortunately, that’s been the story throughout most of the past year.  Sometimes, of course, like with the fall surge, they have been correct, but that should not be surprising given that they are always predicting calamity and chaos.  There’s an old adage about a broken clock and a blind squirrel.

To what do we attribute this lack of common sense, awareness of what is actually happening on the ground, and willingness to look foolish by issuing guidance they must know no one is following?

Dr. Atlas attributed it to a desire for attention and groupthink, describing them and the media as people “simply used to groupthink and not to informed people who have a critical thought process.”  He continued, “The CDC has many fine scientists, I am sure of that, but when the head of the CDC held up a mask and said a mask is better than a vaccine, that is absurd. That is not science. That is contrary to all rational thought.”

Personally, I think that’s part of it, but there also has to be something deeper going on.  Dr. Fauci and others aren’t simply making statements “contrary to all rational thought.”  They’re making statements contrary to the lived experiences, to use the current parlance, of millions of Americans.  Moreover, they can’t possibly believe that the average American is wearing masks alone or with their family, or that tens of millions haven’t been to a restaurant in the year, meaning they are making these statements when they know they are false.

This suggests a much more radical disconnect.  We used to use the phrase “ivory tower” to describe people that become removed from reality, issuing pronouncements from on high.  This is the ivory tower on acid.  Dr. Fauci and others might as well be inhabiting an alternative universe where the average person cares what they say.  At the same time, this kind of disconnect is incredibly damaging.  People should be able to trust our public health experts, watching them talk about a world that doesn’t exist certainly doesn’t help.

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