Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards bowed to reality in mostly scrapping the face covering mandate he dictated months ago, but even in partially doing the right thing his action betrays the fundamental misunderstanding that has shaped his botched response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
His announcement papers over that the scientific case for reimposing the mask mandate nearly three months ago was weak, besides the obvious facts that such an order does little to reduce transmission. That it included children bordered on state-authorized child abuse, as children almost never become seriously ill from the virus but face coverings cause developmental drawbacks for some.
At the time, Edwards and his appointees stirred up visions of apocalyptic scenarios without revisiting the mandate, despite the real-world evidence that showed with no new government intrusions a peak in new cases would occur soon, followed shortly thereafter by hospitalizations, and finally deaths (which, predictably, unlike the other two indicators didn’t reach an all-time high precisely because disproportionately the healthier population comprised the new cases). That’s exactly what happened, with the mask mandate (the research argues) contributing little to that.
Of course, Edwards insisted the mandate played a significant role. He displayed further ignorance, if not outright mendacity, in his comments exhorting vaccination that it would suppress transmission. The science is very clear on that: “vaccinations” aren’t really that but serve only as prophylactics to serious side effects and don’t prevent transmission in any way.
Both Edwards and his mandarins also continued their public policy misdiagnosis that the “pandemic” isn’t over. It is over as it has mutated into endemic status. To continue thinking of this as a “pandemic” clings to the zero Covid fantasy that government action can extinguish it – an invitation to continued heavy-handed state intervention for the indefinite future and a cornerstone of his leftist ideology of command and control.
This view wishes away the reality that the cat got out the bag long ago and policy must adapt even if it disempowers government. Vaccination won’t cure that; different variants will defeat endless “booster” shots for years to come and surges will keep coming, just like with influenza. People voluntarily may engage in nonpharmaceutical interventions and restrict themselves socially and economically, but for government to impose these measures that won’t effectively curb the virus violates fundamental human rights and dignity.
Yet the worst of the climb-down continued punishing children. Edwards, who from the start of the pandemic has put politics ahead of science, still wanted to keep the mandate on children in schools, but recognized the tenuousness of his case and so made it contingent by school district – assuming he has the authority to dictate this at all which is highly questionable.
Even here, in order to opt out he wants districts to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s two-week quarantine advice – which does little to impede transmission but a lot to disrupt learning, which is why recently Superintendent of Schools Cade Brumley followed the practice of the majority of states recently recommended against that. Even as it upset a couple of members of his employer the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, it appears the BESE majority won’t buck him on this, and hopefully districts will go without masks and follow Brumley’s lead, in essence telling Edwards to pound sand rather than feel compelled to keep up the child abuse.
Keep in mind so much of Edwards’ response has political optical, not actual scientific, value. Keeping the crisis going while providing virtue-signaling opportunities for the political left is a strategy designed to win votes and push agenda items mainly at the national level. It disserves Louisianans, and apparently won’t change because the left’s drive for power never ends.