This week, Edwards continued a face covering mandate until Oct. 27 in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. This came despite new case growth slowing dramatically and, of course, relies on suspension of disbelief when it comes to the efficacy of mask mandates in the first place; at the micro level, masks do a moderate to poor job of stopping transmission, and at the macro level mandates fail to have any measurable positive effect because the attenuated micro impact is diluted further by improper wearing and not wearing. Worst of all, potentially physically but certainly psychologically mask wearing harms children, and Edwards’ order extends to any kids in school.
Most importantly, at a theoretical level, insistence on this mandate betrays propagation of the belief that public policy can eradicate the virus. If you understand, as health officials in other countries increasingly have come to, that this horse left the barn a long time ago and the virus is now endemic, mandates do nothing; certainly individuals can wear them for their own protection, as little as this may provide, but doing this will not alone, nor in combination with anything and everything, wipe out the virus. That’s why public health authorities increasingly have ditched them, even in jurisdictions with higher case rates.