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What You Won’t Read in the Star Tribune

By January 5, 2022Commentary

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has actually been pretty good about publishing my op-eds.  But I apparently went a heresy too far this week.  I submitted the piece below and it was declined.  Strong the mask religion is.  And I am guessing they aren’t that willing to rock the boat with the state.  But I mean every word I say here.  And if the stupid masks can’t stop Delta, how the hell would anyone think they will stop Omicron.  But I see doctors everyday on Twitter claiming masks work and wear N95s, maybe two or three of them.  They have no evidence to support that recommendation.  This is simply, as I titled the piece, a mas(k) delusion.


The policy response to the epidemic has been marked by a series of unprecedented and untested actions. There is generally no evidence to support the intervention at its initiation, other than an “expert’s” belief that it will have the desired effect, which typically is slowing or suppressing spread of CV-19. And once initiated, the process of evaluating evidence of effectiveness becomes highly politicized. So it is with the notion that widespread wearing of masks has any impact on transmission of CV-19 in the community.

When forced masking was first discussed, I read the existing literature and found no evidentiary support for the practice. And despite the best efforts of what can only be described as the mask religionists, there continues to be no credible data or research favoring a positive impact. Other than on my blog I have avoided discussing those views, because you can’t change an emotional belief with reason. But as with many things in the epidemic, events in the passage of time make avoiding a reconsideration of those beliefs very difficult. And the tide has begun to turn in regard to the impact of masking.

In the last few weeks two Democratic Governors have come out strongly against renewed mask mandates, saying there is no evidence that they work, and pointing to neighboring states with longstanding mandates and very high transmission levels. The Atlantic magazine, the epitome of woke progressivism, recently penned an article debunking one of the CDC’s worst mask studies, which was widely used to support forcing children to wear masks for hours and hours, which I view as akin to child abuse. There simply is no well-designed study which shows any impact of mask wearing, much less mask mandates, on the community spread of CV-19.

How do we know masks do nothing to slow transmission? I always encourage people to evaluate any intervention at two levels, the individual one and the population one. At an individual level, in an isolated encounter between a person and the virus, a mask may prevent exposure and infection. But even if a mask were 90% effective, and they aren’t, over large numbers of encounters at some point you will be exposed. And the best mannequin head study, one which tracked particle flow for hours, not a few minutes, found that masks during extended wearing funneled viral aerosols into the respiratory tract and concentrated them on inner and outer mask surfaces where they eventually were pushed or pulled through.

I have jokingly referred to masks as virus collection devices, but that is exactly what they are designed to be. A study done by the UK public health agency found that among all surfaces, CV-19 survived second longest on masks, up to 20 hours. Eventually that virus finds its way into the wearer’s or others’ respiratory system. It isn’t just CV-19 that is collected, and scientists have been remarkably incurious about the total number and type of pathogens collected in a mask over hours of wearing, and the ultimate fate of those pathogens. This lack of research is almost certainly politically motivated.

At a population level, one has only to look at any chart of cases versus population mask-wearing level (I avoid comparisons with mandate presence, since that may or may not correlate with actual wearing behavior, but those comparisons are even worse for masks). These charts constantly show that there is no correlation. Minnesota is a perfect example, in which the level of cases after the mask mandate was promulgated through when it was ended never dipped to the level before the mandate. Anyone who says it would have been worse without masks should take a good luck at the curves, especially pre-vaccine last fall, and explain how that could be true.

As I noted above, it is particularly egregious to force masks on children, who despite ongoing mis-information regarding serious illness and hospitalizations (as Dr. Fauci finally admitted, most have nothing to do with treatment for CV-19, but rather reflect incidental positives on admission) have a miniscule risk from the virus, but whom we are terrorizing and depriving of normal social development and interactions by forced mask wearing which makes no difference in their risk of being infected. Those who claim that children are resilient and fine are ignoring the clear data showing a massive uptick in mental health issues.

The state has evidence in its possession showing that masks have no impact, either in general or in schools, but refuses to release that information and is stonewalling my Data Practices Act requests, which is itself evidence that they know the lack of effect. It is time for everyone to ask themselves what evidence really supports masking as an effective tool against spread and why we continue to encourage, much less force, futile and potentially damaging measures.


Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • Tom+M says:

    Wow. Thank you for putting this so succinctly. Another point is that we are not talking about putting on freshly unpackaged surgical or N95 masks. For the most part, these face coverings are rags, stuffed into pockets, that are used for weeks, months on end. It is purely political. As you point out, God only knows what pathogens these disgusting face masks harbor.

  • Cindy Seabright says:

    Excellent op-Ed! I live in the southeastern part of the state and would love to see you op-eds in our local Fillmore County Journal! So many sheeples down this way that need waking up-especially regarding kids and masks. Parents – no masks, but their children are.

    I am suppose to attend the school board training in Mnpls but will not due to mask requirement.

  • Kevin Rademacher says:

    Great Op-ed Kevin. Too bad the Red Star wouldn’t publish it. Thanks for sharing with your followers!

  • Rob says:

    Excellent, Kevin! Are there any other newspapers willing to print it? Even a foreign language paper would worth the cost of translation.

  • Alexa Kuwata says:

    I;m sorry about this. Have you considered sending it to the Highland Villager? It’s a neighborhood paper, but has a large subscription.

  • Lake Detective says:

    In a recent literature review, although there are studies that indicate mask wearing slows the spread of respiratory illnesses, over 60 studies have found masks to be ineffective (A rapid review of the use of face mask in preventing the spread of COVID-19. ). I suspect an unknown variable in studies, especially the laboratory controlled studies, is the sociological factor. That is, even in states, counties, or cities with mask mandates, the users are likely not wearing the mask correctly, using a defective mask, , or not wearing the mask at all times. The end result is mask mandates don’t work..

  • “Children are resilient” has to be the most pathetic and evil excuse for child abuse out there.

    Good work Kevin, very well written. Have you considered shopping it around to other woke newspapers beyond the Strib and seeing if any will print it?

  • Ganderson says:

    I contrast this piece with my Strib headline email announcing the return of mask mandates in Minneapolis and St. Paul. My local fish wrap, the Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA) has a panic porn headline above the fold every morning. My Dupetren’s (sp?) contraction surgery scheduled for next week has been postponed, probably until sometime in March, meaning I’ll miss a month of golf. I got an email from my doctor’s practice, affiliated with Mass General, supposedly the gold standard for medicine- to sum up the message is: PANIC!!! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! Most towns here in Western MA are reinstituting indoor masking- only a matter of time before we’ll have outdoor masking again. My sense of things here in MA is that we are heading toward another Ontario-style lockdown, school closures, etc.

    I had never imagined we would still be at this level of stupidity, all for what seems to be a cold. There’s no question that two years ago some people got really sick, said illness exacerbated by the shitty treatments, and the opposition of the “Experts” to many things that, on balance, seemed to help.It was never as bad as the press made it out to be, not even close, and now we are in Rod Serling territory.

    As a side note, I’m blaming the hideous uniforms the Wild wore at the Winter Classic on the Corona Chan.

  • Skye McMahon says:

    Now that is an interesting proposal. Mask wearing is a religion based on the faith that masks work. Complete with a clergy who preaches it to the masses and does not allow any questioning of the core values of that faith.

    Which means separation of church and state should apply here–and we can’t be forced to practice a religion against our will.

  • David Krieg says:

    It’s ‘Censor An Infidel’ month and you join a distinguished list of persons daring to declare truth. Twitter and FB are becoming government-approved echo chambers as one-by-one, persons who attempt to expose fallacies, have their communications cut. Your op-ed here is great and contains important information for people to consider. It saddens and angers me that it was censored.

  • free says:

    If the government said to wear a green eyepatch over your left ear to prevent covid, how many would do it?

  • MLR says:

    The mask is today’s talisman and those who believe in magic will continue to demand their use irrespective of the facts. After all, the current occupier of the WH famously said: “We choose truth over facts!” Magical thinking is part of the Marxist/Democrat/Hate America Party’s policy decisions similar to their ideas about global warming and transgenderism.

  • Jimmy says:

    Kevin, Thanks for the great work, as always. You mention “the best mannequin head study” in your article, please share a link to that and the UK study referenced.

  • Jesse P says:

    Adding to Ganderson’s comments, today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette (Massachusetts) brings news that the Amherst Pelham School District is banning fabric masks and requiring KN-95 masks or better for all students and staff. “Students at Amherst’s public schools are being required to wear better masks beginning on Monday…[S]chool officials are no longer allowing students to use cloth masks, adding that they will be added to the list of unacceptable face coverings that have long included neck gaiters.” Also in the same article: “Though the transmissibility of the omicron variant is concerning, [School Superintendent Michael] Morris said so far COVID-19 has stayed out of the high school, middle school, and elementary schools. ‘We still have no evidence of school-based transmission…’ Morris said.”

  • JR Ewing says:

    Few comments here:

    1.) It became pretty clear to me early on that the presence of masks enhances anxiety. What was a normal trip to the hardware store turned into an apocalyptic adventure. The joke is that seeing a bunch of other people in masks is a reminder to be scared, but that’s exactly what happens. We have evolved over thousands of years to see other people’s faces. It’s how we communicate with society. Not seeing other people’s faces produces anxiety on a visceral level, then you are reminded that there is a terrible evil vicious virus out there just waiting to kill you. This is why politicians like mandates, especially back during the early days of the pandemic.

    2.) But the presence of an invisible evil virus also induces anxiety, which is assuaged by the feeling of DOING SOMETHING. Many people who are irrationally scared of the virus are irrationally comforted by their mask. I’ve felt that anxiety myself a few times and a very large number of people in this county and this entire world have given into it.

    3.) Now, in the end stages of the pandemic, politicians are in on that act now and mandates are meant to be shown as DOING SOMETHING because there is very little other outwardly visible things that they can do.

    4.) Early on in the pandemic, when some people in Texas actually tried to enforce a mask mandate here, whenever I was confronted, which only happened a few times, my response was, “I’m not sick and I’m not scared” before I walked off. Only once did someone try to argue with me about that “asymptomatic spread” nonsense and I didn’t respond.

  • Chris Thompson says:

    This is a great op-ed. I’d love to share the data with my science classes is there any way to get the links to the studies you mentioned?

  • JK Brown says:

    I’ve been curious why I never saw anyone advocating masks also advocate the innovation in the paper below. Very simple, a salt (crystal) impregnated mask has been shown (to the point of being patented) to denature pathogens improving the mask effectiveness. Certainly seems beneficial in light of the studies cited in your article. I suppose the problem is that it came from engineers so doesn’t have the right pedigree.

    “The University of Alberta team went to work, trying to find a formulation of salt that could be incorporated into the mask and then kill viruses. They found it. The modified mask trapped viruses, but the salt was a game changer. Now when the virus-containing droplets entered the filter, they were absorbed onto the salt, forming a tiny solution containing the virus plus whatever amount of salt dissolved in the water from the droplet. When the water evaporated whatever amount of salt that had been dissolved in it began to crystallize. Just like crystal formation killed the vaccines he was working with, it also killed the viruses. ”

    Article: Universal and reusable virus deactivation system for respiratory protection, Fu-Shi Quan, Ilaria Rubino, Su-Hwa Lee, Brendan Koch & Hyo-Jick Choi, Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/srep39956, published online 4 January 2017.

  • David Eastwood says:

    Surely, the Star and Sickle’s decision not to print this had nothing to do with the reinstatement of mask mandates in the Twin Cities.

    Yeah, right.

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