Feds to enforce new mask order through 'criminal penalties'

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take a walk through the White House grounds. (Official White House photo)

An order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went into effect Wednesday that requires individuals to wear masks while on public transportation or in transportation hubs.

The order, which won’t allow commonly used face coverings such as bandanas or other knitted fabric, gives federal authorities the power to enforce it through criminal penalties.

The CDC says, however, it “does not intend to rely primarily on these criminal penalties but instead strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance.”

Last month, President Biden signed an order requiring individuals to wear masks on federal property.

The CDC specifies the type of mask and how it must be worn. Masks are required on planes, trains, buses, subways, taxis, car services, boats and in transportation hubs. The law will be enforced by Transportation Security Administration agents, state and local officials. Failure to comply will result in banishment from travel and possible criminal penalties.

The libertarian magazine Reason warns that creating “a vast network of law enforcement officials empowered to enforce these mask rules will of course provide a handy new excuse for monitoring and surveilling citizens.”

“Meanwhile, deputizing federal agents, state authorities, and local cops to enforce transit mask rules will open up all sorts of new police harassment and abuse opportunities.”

Reason notes the CDC order gives authorities a considerable amount of discretion.

“For instance, travelers can take masks off while eating, drinking, or taking medication—leaving room for a lot of individual judgments in how long it’s reasonable or appropriate to remove a mask for during these activities, as well as misinterpretation in whether someone is allowed to have a mask on or off at a given moment.”

The science

In November, as WND reported, the first large, randomized controlled trial of its kind showed no statistically significant difference in COVID-19 cases between people who wore masks and those who did not.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it found that a “recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident [COVID-19] infection compared with no mask recommendation.”

In October, an analysis of a dozen graphs charting the number of COVID-19 cases in countries and U.S. states confirmed the conclusions of recent studies that mask mandates have no effect on the spread of the disease.

Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, relied heavily on the public adopting a strategy of herd immunity to allow them to build up antibodies. Although admitting that the use of masks could be considered when visiting busy and confined places, he has been against mass mask mandates.

“The evidence is weak,” he told Science magazine. “Countries that have masks are not doing the best right now. It is very dangerous to try to believe that masks are a silver bullet.”

Swedish authorities actively discouraged people from wearing face masks which, they said, would spread panic, are often worn the wrong way and can provide a false sense of safety.

That was Anthony Fauci’s argument in a “60 Minutes” interview in March when he said that, in general, “people should not be walking around with masks.”

“Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.

“You’re sure of it? Because people are listening really closely to this,” he was asked.

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

A study by the Centers for Disease Control in October indicated that Americans were adhering to mask mandates, but they didn’t appear to have slowed or stopped the spread of the coronavirus. And further, it found, mask-wearing has negative effects.

A change in ‘the consensus’

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has compiled a page of “Mask Facts” that explains the basic science behind mask-wearing and summarizes a variety of studies.

It shows that the consensus prior to the coronavirus pandemic was that the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public in slowing the spread of a virus is unproven, and there’s evidence it does more harm than good.

On April 6, the World Health Organization said the “wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risks.” Just two months, later, however, as the pandemic surged, the WHO changed its stance without providing any evidence with randomized controlled trials.

On March 5, the Centers for Disease Control said masks “are usually not recommended in “non-health care settings.”

But on Aug. 7, the CDC said it “recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.