USC, UCLA Doctors: Masks Not Effective in Stopping the Spread of COVID

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

I remember asking early on in the pandemic, “If masks and lockdowns work so well, why aren’t they, well… working?” A group of USC and UCLA doctors had the same thought, evidently, and in a February letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors only recently obtained by the LA Daily News, they wrote:

It is clear from these data that infections continued to increase despite the imposition of the mask mandate suggesting limited or no efficacy of the mask mandate.

They were referring to data that showed that after Los Angeles imposed a mask mandate in June of 2021, COVID cases kept rising into December. Count me as shocked. The News continues:

The letter from the group of doctors cites the county’s statistics, and studies in Europe and some U.S. states, showing that after mask mandates were imposed, transmission of COVID-19 did not slow down.

One of the doctors, Jeffrey D. Klausner, “is also opposed to requiring children to wear masks in schools, saying that 70%, or more, of children attending school, have been infected or been vaccinated or both, giving them immunity from severe disease.”

Bonchie has also written about another study that “completely contradicts the conventional wisdom regarding mask mandates.”

The Daily News says that the letter may have influenced LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to not impose another mask mandate in July, as she had repeatedly threatened to do. I further contend that it was also public blowback and revelations of corruption in the department from RedState that forced her hand. At the time, I wrote that Ferrer would re-visit the subject as soon as the furor died down because she seems to desperately want to mask up LA’s entire population of 10 million people.

Unfortunately for Ferrer, LA County finally fell into the “medium” transmission category on August 11, meaning that by her own stated standards a mask mandate is unnecessary.

The doctors’ letter was written all the way back in February and was sent to the County Board of Supervisors, but the Daily News only recently was able to obtain a copy. Plenty of professors signed on:

The letter to the Board of Supervisors, part of a campaign to educate the board, was signed by Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner, clinical professor of medicine, population and public health sciences at USC’s Keck School of Medicine; Neeraj Sood, professor of public policy at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy; James E. Enstrom, retired professor of epidemiology at UCLA; Dr. Noah Kojima, senior resident for internal medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine; Dr. Catherine A. Sarkisian of UCLA’s Geffen School; James E. Moore, II, professor at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering; Dr. Gabe Vorobiof, associate professor of medicine and cardiology at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine; and Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, professor at UCLA’s Anderson School.

Four of the doctors wrote an op-ed for the Orange County Register on July 22, saying:

Now in mid-2022 we have much better data. Exhaustive tracking of in-school COVID spread was indistinguishable with and without student mask use in studies in Spain, a conclusion repeated in two separate COVID waves. Studies of student masking with control groups in Georgia, North DakotaFinland and the UK have all found the same lack of any clear benefit. One randomized controlled trial showed no significant benefit to the mask wearer, and a second randomized trial found a slight benefit (and only in older adults) that was not reproduced with a different analysis of the same data. [Emphasis mine.]

I wrote a VIP article Sunday morning asking, where do we go to get our apology now that the CDC is walking back some of its COVID guidelines? Add this USC-UCLA letter to the many reasons we should be hearing “I’m sorry” for the myriad ineffective and onerous mandates imposed by our state and local health officials.

For many of us who have long thought that masking was more theater and virtue-signaling than anything else, we have some vindication. The data is in, and according to these doctors, masks don’t do much if anything to slow an airborne virus like COVID.