On his second day in office, President Joe Biden ordered all federal employees and anyone doing business with the federal workforce to wear masks while on federal property. Biden also called for the goal of “maximizing public compliance” to mask-wearing. On January 29, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under the authority of the Public Health Service Act, ordered face masks to be worn by all travelers on public transportation, in hubs, on airplanes, and on rideshares. The official CDC order states that, although CDC “reserves the right to enforce through criminal penalties, CDC does not intend to rely primarily on these criminal penalties but instead strongly and encourages widespread compliance.” For perspective on whether masks will become a permanent fixture, Health Care News talked to Patrick Wood, director and founder of Citizens for Free Speech. A more extensive interview can be found on The Heartland Daily Podcast.
Health Care News: The Biden Administration has mandated masks on federal property and through the CDC, on transportation but could this put pressure on the private sector to follow suit?
Wood: I fully expect that will be the case. That’s already taken place in the states and certainly, in my state of Arizona, that’s been the case. The governor orders a restriction in the name of a public health emergency and, all of a sudden, businesses across the state require these things, and often way beyond even what the executive orders state. So, yes, it’s going to trickle down into private businesses, into corporate business, of course, and into state governments, as well.
Health Care News: Many people, including physicians and free-market-leaning economists and policy experts, support masks because they feel it is an inexpensive, benign measure that can restore confidence in the economy and may provide some protection from the spread of the virus. Do you agree?
Wood: Masks do little to protect people from disease. There are no scientific studies that show this. People will ask, then why have masks always been worn in medical settings? The answer is simple – to protect patients and providers from saliva. There may be a reason for some people to wear face masks in public, but for the general population, masks can pose a health risk. Medical experts agree and a number of people are making this point.
We started a website called No Masks for Kids.com and have gotten numerous reports from parents describing the harms children have suffered from extensive mask use. I was overwhelmed by the response, by how detailed the reports have been and how quickly they came in. You can read all the reports. We didn’t edit anything out, including misspellings and grammatical errors. Bringing children into this is just wrong. We are sacrificing this precious resource on the altar of a political agenda.
Health Care News: Your website offers a blue card people can order to help defend their decision not to wear a mask. How does it work?
Wood: We call it our no-mask card. It is not a magic amulet to get a pass. It’s not some kind of official document that you get from, I don’t know, the IRS or Justice Department, whatever, that excuses you from wearing a mask. But it is your appeal that wearing a face mask poses a serious health risk to you and affirms your right to state that. It’s a free speech issue. You have the right to proclaim that. It’s your opinion that wearing a face mask poses a health risk. And as a matter of fact, about 40 percent of society can state that absolutely, positively without any question.
You take all the people, for instance, that have asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart issues; or maybe they are undergoing cancer treatment, where their immune systems are suppressed and, you know, on down the line. Diabetes is another big one. You have a ton of reasons, medical conditions why you may choose not to wear a face mask. And any medical doctor will tell you that (at least they would before the pandemic), “You should never cover your mouth and restrict your airway.”
So that 40 percent of society for sure needs to stand up and say, you know, “I will not risk my health for your whatever,” you know, dictate. “I just won’t do it. You can’t force me to do it.” Personally, when someone approaches me, I say, “okay, let me settle the issue for you, and here’s what I’m going to say to you, ‘It’s my body, my choice.’” And that usually causes a rolling of the eyes.
Health Care News: How concerned are you that mask orders will not go away after we have achieved herd immunity and what concerned members of the public do to prevent that from happening?
Wood: There is no evidence that mask mandates will be lifted in 2021, and some are saying it may be six or seven years. Essentially, this means “forever.” Like the pseudo-science of global warming alarmism, the pseudo-science behind mask-wearing is not based on fact, but on propaganda. There are no signs that propaganda will be lifted for either mask policies or climate alarmism.