Mask mandate didn’t work against COVID-19 in LA, say doctors from USC and UCLA

A group of doctors from USC and UCLA penned a letter saying the statewide mask mandate in California was ineffective against COVID-19.

The letter, which was sent to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, was obtained by the LA Daily News.

The letter was signed by was signed by Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner, clinical professor of medicine, population and public health sciences at USC’s Keck School of Medicine; Neeraj Sood, professor of public policy at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy; James E. Enstrom, retired professor of epidemiology at UCLA; Dr. Noah Kojima, senior resident for internal medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine; Dr. Catherine A. Sarkisian of UCLA’s Geffen School; James E. Moore, II, professor at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering; Dr. Gabe Vorobiof, associate professor of medicine and cardiology at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine; and Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, professor at UCLA’s Anderson School.

The letter is said to have played a role in the decision not to re-institute the mandate in Los Angeles County last month.

“Any indication that the county would soon be moving to the medium community level would be a good reason to not move forward with universal indoor masking, which is what we are doing today. We will be pausing and not moving forward at this time,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last month citing a decrease in infections and hospitalizations.

Some of the same doctors wrote an op-ed for the Orange County Register on July 22. “Now in mid-2022 we have much better data. Exhaustive tracking of in-school COVID spread was indistinguishable with and without student mask use in studies in Spain, a conclusion repeated in two separate COVID waves.”

They continued, “Studies of student masking with control groups in Georgia, North Dakota, Finland and the UK have all found the same lack of any clear benefit. One randomized controlled trial showed no significant benefit to the mask wearer, and a second randomized trial found a slight benefit (and only in older adults) that was not reproduced with a different analysis of the same data.”

During an interview last Thursday, Dr. Klausner said that there was a small rise in cases after the mask mandate was implemented, however he did acknowledge that the mandate could have stopped a steeper rise. “People might argue it might have risen faster,” he said, but added, “By the naked eye, there was no clear discernible effect of mask use.”

Kathryn Bargar, who is a supervisor at the Los Angeles County Board, said that she is definitely not opposed to people wearing masks as an extra layer of protection, however Bargar believes that the state should no longer force people to do so. “I do believe masking is another line of defense in protecting yourself and others,” Barger said. “But as far as mandating: It’s time has come and gone.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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