When the final history of the COVID-19 pandemic is written it will likely conclude that most of the non-pharmaceutical public health measures taken to combat the disease — that is, mask mandates and lockdowns — were largely ineffective.
The unimportance of public mitigation measures can be illustrated by comparing outcomes in states that imposed strict mitigation measures versus states, such as Florida, that adopted a minimalist approach.
Florida, New York, California and Illinois are all large states with multiple urban areas. But while Florida has been the poster child for a hands-off approach by government, the latter three states imposed multiple intrusive measures over long periods of time.
Florida, for example, recommended but did not require face coverings. While several large counties imposed their own mandates, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order barring governments and school districts from imposing them last May.
New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul lifted the state’s general mask order on Feb. 10, but masks are still required in schools, health care facilities and on public transit. California lifted its universal indoor mask mandate on Feb. 16, but the requirement remains in effect for the unvaccinated. Illinois announced it will lift its long-standing mask mandate, with the exception of schools, at the end of this month.
Any comparison of the four states must account for the different age distributions of their populations and especially the percent of the population that is 65 and older.
Far and away the most important factor in determining the severity of COVID-19 illness is age. There is an exponential relationship between age and COVID-19’s infection fatality rate. The estimated IFR is very low for children and younger adults (0.002% at age 10; 0.01% at age 25), increases to 0.4% by age 55, and then soars with advanced age (1.4% at age 65; 4.6% at age 75; and 15% at age 85).
Read the full article at The New York Post.