In the United States and around the world, governments are rushing to impose mask orders and mandates on citizens. In Europe, the Netherlands is bucking this troubling trend.
According to Reuters, on July 29 the Dutch government “said it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven.”
The Dutch decision on the subject came from Tamara van Ark, the nation’s Minister for Medical Care. The announcement came after the nation’s National Institute for Health (RIVM) reviewed mask usage.
“Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the Cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks” van Ark said according to Reuters.
Joining van Ark in questioning the use of face masks was Coen Berends, a spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” Berends said. “There is no benefit and there my even be a negative impact.”
That sentiment dovetails with advice from none other than Anthony Fauci, the American medical Svengali who once told Americans that face masks would not stop the virus.
Back in February, USA Today quoted Dr. Fauci:
“If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn't really do much to protect you,” Fauci said, according to the paper. “People start saying, ‘Should I start wearing a mask?’ Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.”
What was true about leakage around the mask in February remains true today despite the Fauci flip-flop on the matter.
A mask with the correct level of filtering capacity, correctly fitted and utilized by someone properly trained in PPE mask usage and disposal, will provide a useful barrier. But this is not what is mandated. Instead, people are using all manner of cloth masks with dubious filtering efficiency and are generally using them improperly, frequently touching them and promoting contamination of themselves and likely others as well.
Training in correct mask usage was a point brought up by RIVM chief Jaap van Dissel. “So we think that if you’re going to use masks (in a public setting) ... then you must give good training for it,” he said, according to Reuters.
The fact that the mask mandates imposed in the United States and elsewhere are entirely indiscriminate and provide no guidance and training on proper masks and their usage gives away the game, so to speak. If these orders were sincerely about stopping the virus, then state governments would give proper guidance and information about which masks are effective and would come up with some means of providing citizens with training on how to fit, best utilize, and safely remove and dispose of used masks. This shouldn’t be that hard, as there are many certified safety professionals working in industry across the nation who regularly provide mask and other PPE training to employees who have to work with hazardous materials. That governments are not providing proper guidance and training strongly suggests that the mask orders are not strictly about safety.
Regardless of their relative effectiveness, mask mandates are an insulting overreach. Americans (and others too) are intelligent, generally savvy, and well-educated despite our public education system’s many failings and are capable of taking care of themselves and their families in alignment with what they judge to be their own best interest. To do this Americans need truthful, accurate information provided to them so that they can take the steps that they, themselves, judge necessary and expedient to ensure their own safety.
Instead, we have a statist propaganda campaign promoting fear and uncertainty that is stoking suspicion, resentment, and violence throughout the nation.
The mask mandates now so fashionable are proving, again, that the greatest contagion afflicting the world is statism. The solution remains the same.
Freedom is the cure.
Photo: Lorado/E+/Getty Images
Dennis Behreandt is a research professional and writer, frequently covering subjects in history, theology, and science and technology. He has worked as an editor and publisher, and is a former managing editor of The New American.