Following news that Jill Biden tested positive for Covid, Joe Biden has once again been spotted wearing a face mask. During a Tuesday briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the President “will be masking while indoors and around people, in alignment with CDC guidance”. This is despite him testing negative and displaying zero symptoms.
The biggest problem with this, says Samuel Mangold-Lenett in the Telegraph, is that Biden is signalling that his administration continues to see Covid as a significant threat. In line with this, Biden has awarded in August over $1.4 billion to develop the “a new generation of tools and technologies to protect against COVID-19 for years to come”. Each latest variant serves as a new opportunity to ramp-up the fear, the measures – and the spending.
But now there’s a fightback, with Ohio Senator J.D. Vance introducing the Freedom to Breathe Act that would prohibit the imposition of federal mask mandates on public transport and in schools.
Here’s an excerpt from Mangold-Lenett’s article endorsing the measure.
New Covid variants – like the catchily-named ‘EG.5’ – are a likely catalyst for action, conjuring hysterical visions of mass infection. But such conspicuous fearmongering isn’t backed up by the science. The World Health Organisation has stated that “the public health risk posed by EG.5 is evaluated as low”, and most Americans seem to agree. According to a recent Gallup poll, just 3% of respondents described themselves as “very” concerned about catching the virus.
It’s unfortunate, then, that Biden’s policy decisions are no longer guided by reality. Our institutions have committed themselves to reviving morbid Covid nostalgia, and seem to be soft-launching yet another round of restrictions. First up is masking: officials in New York City have begun to encourage residents to cover their faces, following the lead of a slew of corporations, colleges and hospitals.
Of course, masking is no panacea for Covid. Recent studies have suggested that masking had little impact in slowing the spread of the disease, even at the height of the pandemic. It’s hard to get a concrete answer on whether restrictions achieved their stated goals of halting infection – but we certainly have a clear picture of their downsides. Mask mandates, and the lockdowns that often accompanied them, have resulted in some of the most damaging public consequences ever experienced. It’s important not to forget that wealth and education disparities, suicide rates and substance abuse issues all skyrocketed after their enforcement.
Policies championed by Leftist Government officials and their allies in the professional-managerial class led to outlandish spending which has decimated the American economy, contributing to the out-of-control inflation we are currently embroiled in. They cheered on extreme censorship of speech on social media under the guise of fighting disinformation, and inflicted educational disturbances on an entire generation of school children.
We were told every part of this process was necessary to protect public health. Three years have passed, and it’s hard to see what good has come from Covid hysteria. The median American is poorer, sicker and less free. Perhaps mistakes were inevitable in 2019 [sic] – but to continue to stoke panic in 2023 is unforgivable. Dangerously authoritarian impulses, fostered by pandemic-era special legislative powers, have proven to be remarkably durable. It seems that the powers that be simply cannot let Covid go.
The only method of recourse we have is to put faith in the legislative process. Luckily for us, some have already begun the fightback. J.D. Vance, the Republican Senator from Ohio, has introduced legislation that if passed and signed into law would prohibit President Biden from implementing mask mandates on public transit and in schools.
Vance’s Freedom to Breathe Act is an encouraging movement towards common-sense public health policy. But it’s unfortunate that such an intervention even had to be made. Despite living in a nation with resistance at the heart of its ethos, considerable portions of the American public are now conditioned to roll over for the collective if they are told something is in their best interest.
Worth reading in full.