Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed early edition co-host, Doug Kellett to the studio.
During the first hour, Leahy and Kellett discussed the lack of data to support the face mask mandate across the nation. Leahy noted that the public health officials at healthaffairs.org had used analyses providing supporting evidence that face masks only reduced the spread of coronavirus by only two percent.
(Dr. Nahid Bhadel clip plays)
Kellett: There’s a doctor.
Leahy: That is Dr. Nahid Bhadel who is an infectious disease specialist and is a professor at the School of Medicine in Boston. She also has an appointment with the Tufts University Fletcher School of Diplomacy.
Kellett: Oh yes. That was on my list.
Leahy: On your list.
Kellett: I did not get my invitation to that. I’ve been waiting in the mail for that. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Of course the School of Diplomacy, they want me desperately to talk to them about how to improve your diplomatic capabilities right? (Laughter)
Kellett: You could do some work on that a little bit. OK. By the way, they canceled the running of the bulls in Spain. So we’re not going to be able to do as we had planned.
Leahy: I had a friend that did that once and I said, are you crazy?
Kellett: That’s the first question you would ask.
Leahy: Yes. And he said a little bit. I want to go back to this statement if you don’t mind.
Kellett: Sure go ahead.
Leahy: I sent to you this study that I mentioned. I’ll just read you the abstract. You can read it more at your leisure.
Kellett: That would probably be that way, but yes.
Leahy: Here’s this thing. Now, here in Tennessee Governor Lee has said well if your county executive outside of the main Metro areas where they apparently have the authority to do that independently. We’ve got mask requirements if you go outside in Shelby County and in Davidson County without any medical evidence by the way. Let me just add that.
He said if other county executives outside those counties want to put mask requirements on, go ahead. Ok. I have been talking about this for some time and I’ve been asking where is the medical evidence that actually wearing a mask either a cloth mask or a surgical mask, not an N95 which is a much more sophisticated mask, where is the evidence that it actually stops the spread of COVID-19?
There is no medical report done that does it. There is, however, and I’ll refer to these as the public health goons. By that I mean, I’m talking about the entire public health infrastructure which in my view is designed to create some kind narrative that they can use to support infringements on personal liberty. That’s my view Doug, not yours, but mine.
Kellett: It’s a money-making operation. I don’t know about infringing liberty necessarily. That doesn’t make them any money. It’s a for-profit business. So there is some profit motive going on here.
Leahy: There is a study that was published in public health professionals journal called Health Affairs-healthaffairs.org. It was conducted by a professor at the University of Iowa School of Public Health and a research associate there at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
My good friend Jim Larew who is a far-left guy but a good friend lives in Iowa City. He’s been my guide to all the developments in Iowa politics. Let me just read this to you. I’ll read the abstract so your eyes don’t glaze over. (Kellett chuckles)
And you just kind of react in real-time here to this. Community use of face masks and COVID-19 evidence from a natural experiment of state mandates in the US. Ok, so what they did with this study is they provided evidence from the effects of state government mandates in the United States for face masks in public use by 15 states plus the District of Columbia between April 8 and May 15.
So all they did was they looked at which states are requiring face masks in public and then they went and they looked at the data of the number of COVID-19 cases there. Ok? So here’s what they found. The research design is an event study examining changes in the daily COVID-19 growth rates between March 31 of this year and May 22 of this year. Here is their big conclusion.
Mandating face mask use in public is associated they say, with a decline in the daily COVID-19 growth rate by nine-tenths of one percent during the first five days. One point one percent from days six to 10. One point four percent from day 11 to 15. One point seven percent from day 16 to 20. And two percent from day 21 thereafter. But their big conclusion, the findings suggest that requiring face mask use in public might help in mitigating COVID-19 spread.
Kellett: That’s interesting. You know Mike I hear Sanjay Gupta, the doctor from Emory University he’s always pointing out and I don’t know any studies about this, but he talks about Hong Kong and he talks about Japan that they didn’t have as big a problem with the COVID-19 because they mandated masks right at the beginning there. I think that’s part of the problem. We get so many conflicting sorts of comments. Who knows what to believe.
Leahy: I’ll go to that study in a second, but it’s a good point that you raise. You try to look at the evidence here. To me, the question is one of causality. Right? The other problem with this study is they don’t show you the data. I like to look at the data on these things. I am highly suspect that this data and how they came up with this data.
But let’s just say for a moment that it’s true. So you are saying that you are going to mandate face masks for everybody in your state because when states mandate that in public and out in the open we think that it reduces the number of COVID-19 cases by two percent after three weeks. Really? That’s it? That’s the best you got?
Kellett: That’s certainly not a lot. I think the other thing too Mike, I guess and you mentioned that there was a difference in the type of masks that you wear that might make a difference. But it would seem like in a common sense thing if I have somebody around me that’s breathing out COVID-19 and they got a mask on that it would at least reduce the amount that gets in the air so it would help my chances of not getting it. It seems like that would in a common-sense form help right? That’s why we wear them when we go out, right?
Leahy: Here is the reality. Dr. Simone Gold who studied this showed that if you are wearing a cloth mask the pores in that cloth mask are about 200 microns wide. The COVID-19 virus is one-tenth of a micron wide. We talked about this before.
Kellett: Were you the one that told me that the best way to do it is to have one of those paper like the kind I have that you would wear the cloth mask and the paper and that it does cut things down that the one mask doesn’t?
Leahy: I didn’t tell you that.
Kellett: Ok. Somebody told me that.
Leahy: Again, there is a sort of logic and thought process. That’s one thing. But then there’s evidence. And so I can see the argument that if you say you are trying to stop the COVID-19 virus which is one-tenth of a micron. You are trying to stop it if you double mask, triple mask, or quadruple mask that it would perhaps slow the spread somewhat. But again, we are into the issue of somewhat. And the evidence that it is significant in reducing the spread of COVID-19 just seems to me not to be there whatsoever.
Kellett: I saw something the other day that these face shields might be better than masks and they are more comfortable. The problem they are having is when you wear a mask is that if you have glasses on they just fog up.
Leahy: Yes. My question is if you want to reduce the possibility of the case by just two percent, how do you mandate that? How do you mandate that if the best you can say is, well we think we reduce it by two percent.
Kellett: I don’t know. Maybe I’m the two percent so therefore I want you to wear one? I don’t know. (Laughs)
Leahy: But I look at that and I say, it’s not making the case. (Kellett chuckles)
Listen to the full first hour here:
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