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CNN anchor Jake Tapper confronted New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) Monday over what data ever supported forcing schoolchildren to wear face masks.
What is the background?
Murphy announced on Monday that New Jersey would eliminate its mask mandate for students and school employees. The mandate will be gone by the second week of March.
The Democratic governor described the announcement as a “huge step toward normalcy” and “an acknowledgment that we can responsibly live with this thing,” according to the New York Times.
What happened on CNN?
In light of Murphy’s announcement, Tapper had one question for Murphy: What definitive data supported mask mandates for schoolchildren in the first place?
“Have you seen evidence that these mask mandates have been necessary?” Tapper asked. “That the spread and mortality rates in states where they didn’t have mask mandates were far worse than in places where they did have mask mandates like New Jersey?”
In response, Murphy said “there is no question” that forcing schoolchildren to wear face masks “has been a very smart public health step,” but Murphy did not actually cite any data supporting his assertion.
“I think we’ve had just over 2,600 cases of students with COVID positive since the beginning of the school year. That’s out of 1.4 million kids,” Murphy said. “So, it is a pretty stark piece of evidence, I think, that this is absolutely worked.”
Case numbers, of course, are not a reliable data point proving the efficacy of face masks. In fact, the Atlantic noted recently that a claim from the CDC “that schools without mask mandates have triple the risk of COVID outbreaks” is based on, at best, “very shaky science.”
Tapper, therefore, pushed Murphy again for an answer.
“But have you seen data that definitively proves that these mask mandates have worked?” Tapper pressed. “I mean, the numbers you just presented are impressive. But are they different from the numbers in states where they didn’t have mask mandates?”
Murphy, however, had nothing definitive to say and regurgitated pandemic talking points.
“Again, I know Jersey the best. But I’m highly confident and I’m sure our health officials will, could say it definitively,” Murphy said. “There is no question it worked. There is no question getting vaccinated, getting boosted, and wearing masks indoors have all been positive public health steps, compared to the absence of any of those things in the alternative.”
[embedded content] Democrat Gov. Murphy Can’t Cite Any Data Proving Anti-Science Mask Mandates Work www.youtube.com
In lockstep, Democrats have been softening their rhetoric on the pandemic and mask mandates in recent days.
For example, leaders in Delaware, Connecticut, and Oregon have also announced that mask mandates for schools are ending, while California announced Monday that its statewide mask mandate will not be renewed.
Despite claims that “the science has changed,” many political observers believe Democrats are changing their political strategy as they face potentially unusual brutal midterm election losses.