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Just say no to shape-shifting mandates

By Nancy Mace

It’s been clear for at least a year now there’s no medical science behind mask mandates, and most COVID-19 restrictions have done nothing more than stoke fear, encourage distrust and promote political theater. And now as we head into a midterm election cycle, all of a sudden, mask mandates are becoming a thing of the past. Apparently “following the science” meant political science.

Eight Democratic states across the country have finally decided to follow Republican states’ lead and lift mask mandates in schools, restaurants, concert venues and other establishments. Democratic governors who once followed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tooth-and-nail are now defying the CDC and the Biden administration and rolling back COVID restrictions. Their decision to reverse course as we head into the 2022 midterm elections is not coincidental.

Yet even as COVID-19 cases dropped from 453,141 cases per day last week to 239,757, and the number of deaths caused by the virus flattened, President Biden’s administration doubled down and refused to lift face mask requirements. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says the numbers are still “too high” to consider changing the restrictions and children should continue to be masked in schools.

“When you are in a high-transmission area, which is everywhere in the country, you should wear a mask in indoor settings, including schools,” echoed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday.

This statement seems to indicate the Biden administration plans on operating in a permanent state of pandemic fear. Cases are dropping virtually everywhere in America.

The politicization and polarization of science, and doubling down on failure, has been one of the worst hallmarks the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandates of all sorts have cost people jobs, hurt the economy and slowed the flow of commerce, and they’ve also hurt our children. The CDC’s declaration that 56 million U.S. children and adolescents, vaccinated or not, should mask up regardless of the prevalence of COVID isn’t backed by science.

Three-quarters of adults say they are tired or frustrated with the pandemic, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey; a Yahoo News/YouGov found that 46 percent of respondents thought Americans should “learn to live with” the pandemic “and get back to normal.”

I agree.

As someone who contracted COVID-19 twice while being fully vaccinated, I completely support people making their own decisions in the best interest of themselves and their families. I have encouraged people to talk with their doctor and consider vaccination. We know those who are vaccinated have a far lower chance of being hospitalized (or even dying) than those who are unvaccinated.

At the same time, Americans deserve to take their lives back and not live in fear. We have known for some time the cloth masks most people wear do not work. The CDC itself finally admitted this last month when it updated its guidance to say people should instead wear medical grade N95 and KN95 masks (because that’s what the science supports).

It is also disheartening to see the administration attempting to micromanage medicine. When I contracted COVID-19, just like many other Americans, and even though I had a blood oxygen level drop below 90 at one point, I was unable to receive monoclonal antibodies because of mismanagement on the part of the Health and Human Services Department, which reasserted federal control over monoclonals instead of allowing hospitals to order doses. The Biden administration’s interference created supply shortages, hurt patients and likely jeopardized future treatments.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the virus — but we could learn a lot more if the administration did not put its finger on the scales, endorsing certain treatments instead of others and ignoring evidence for acquired natural immunity. Masking the public at large cannot be the nation’s permanent policy. We should impress the need to craft flexible, responsive, economically sound and medically valid policies. Time to move on from mandates and allow people the freedom to follow the science, evaluate and weigh the risks and decide what is best for themselves and their families.

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