On August 24, Oregon governor Kate Brown instated a state masking requirement that requires everyone five years and older, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask, face covering, or face shield in outdoor spaces if they are less than six feet apart from individuals not in their household.
“Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” said Governor Brown. “Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19.”
On August 24, Oregon had 49,889 active cases of COVID-19. As of yesterday, Oregon had 86,623 active cases of COVID-19 — an increase of 73 percent from the day the governor announced the outdoor mask requirement. Keep in mind, cases merely mean positive tests; an active case does not necessarily mean that person is significantly ill. The seven-day average of daily new cases has actually declined a bit, from a peak of 2,322 on August 30 to 1,616 yesterday. This wave appears to have peaked.
Nonetheless, the fact that the state with the most far-reaching masking requirement has seen a 73 percent increase in active cases in about a month is a vivid illustration of the limitations of masks. The Delta variant is really contagious, and no state can mask their way out of the pandemic.
What is more troubling is that the state’s death rate, while never particularly high, has climbed a bit. Until mid-August, the state’s seven-day average of daily new deaths was less than ten deaths per day. Since the start of September, the seven-day average has been hanging around 20 deaths per day, although the actual number of new deaths changes dramatically from day to day.
As Fauci himself noted before the mania got really going, the evidence for masks, especially cloth masks commonly worn in public doing much good is thin, and the evidence that masks are needed outdoors in most situations is basically nonexistent. Nevertheless, it makes people in power feel good to order other people to do something, almost anything.