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CDC Finally Admits Cloth Masks Were Always Political Theater

woman wearing mask, sunglasses, and baseball cap
Image CreditMaxPixel

Mask mandates have always been more about showing compliance than keeping people safe, and the CDC’s latest embarrassing disclosure further proves it.

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For two years now, to walk into a grocery store barefaced has been to risk soliciting dirty stares, at least in some parts of the country. But walk in with your face covered by a thin piece of fabric, preferably with some vaguely woke slogan, that you got overpriced on Etsy? You’re golden.

Masks have been obvious political theater from the start, back when Anthony Fauci et al. promised we didn’t need them and then flip-flopped and promised we did. But when sensible observers tried to point that out, the Big Tech-media cabal gleefully slapped them with “fact” “checks.”

When The Federalist ran the headline “Many Studies Find That Cloth Masks Do Not Stop Viruses Like COVID” in November 2020, Lead Stories attempted to “fact-check” the piece, slapping a red “masks work” label over a screenshot of the original article.

The “fact-check” even cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the effectiveness of masks against COVID-19, where the CDC insisted, “Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets (i.e., 20-30 microns and larger), but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles,” and “cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration.”

Yet the same CDC quietly admitted on Friday that the thin cloth masks the agency and its corporate media allies spent the last two years cheering actually “provide the least protection” against COVID-19. It was “the first time the C.D.C. has explicitly addressed” the relative ineffectiveness of cloth masks, according to The New York Times.

The agency’s concession comes on the heels of admissions from people like CNN’s Leana Wen that “cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic.”

This latest reversal in a long line of trust-eroding flip-flops means a victory lap is well deserved by people like Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who was censored by Google-owned YouTube for suggesting that cloth masks don’t work and N95s do. It’s also deserved by everyone who refused to hang a piece of useless fabric from their ears at every restaurant, store, and airport for the sole purpose of fitting into the popular political narrative.

But taking a deserved victory lap shouldn’t keep us from anticipating the reason the CDC, CNN, and others are quietly shifting the talking points and hoping we’ll forget their track record. We can’t let them memory-hole their old narrative, but we also can’t afford to be fooled into the coming narrative that everyone from kindergarteners to marching bands must now strap on a medical-grade N95 mask until this never-ending pandemic ends.

It’s already happening in Los Angeles County, where the Los Angeles Times noted a “big push for Californians to switch to N95 or KN95 masks” as an updated county health order that went into effect Monday requires employers to provide not just masks for their employees but “a well-fitting medical grade mask, surgical mask or higher-level respirator, such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator or KN95.”

Yes, N95s are more effective than cloth masks, and we’ve been saying that from the beginning. Hazmat suits are more effective too, but that doesn’t mean we should all walk around the grocery store like we’re in a post-apocalyptic world of toxic fumes.

Nor does it mean we should let the COVID bureaucrats get away with mandating N95s, considering every other COVID mandate handed down for the past two years has proven ineffective. Extended, state-mandated lockdowns did more harm than good, the mandated vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission or infection, and the CDC just admitted many of those masks they forced people to wear for two years were more or less pointless.

COVID demands a risk-benefit analysis that varies widely from situation to situation and person to person. If you’re in a particularly high-risk situation — say, you have the sniffles but you’re going to visit your immuno-compromised grandmother in an assisted living facility — and you want to take extra precaution, you can stay home or wear an N95. If you’re young and healthy and going out to eat with a group of friends — or sitting in a classroom, or going on a jog, or anything else — and you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t.

But mandating N95 masks for every activity of normal life, to ward off a mild variant of a virus that poses little risk to many Americans by the CDC’s own admission, is just as senseless as lugging around the useless cloth muzzles we’ve been told to keep in our cars and pockets for 22 months. Mask mandates have always been more about showing compliance than keeping people safe, and the CDC’s latest embarrassing disclosure further proves it.