Patterico's Pontifications


Los Angeles County to Reimpose Mask Mandates [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:43 pm

[guest post by JVW]

UPDATE: July 16 @ 1:45 pm

It makes my day when the esteemed David Burge (“Iowahawk”) agrees with me:

—- Original Post —-

I hope they have thought this through, but I would be willing to bet they have not:

Confronted with an exponential spike in coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County is re-implementing its indoor mask mandate.

According to the mandate set to go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, people will be required to wear masks while indoors in public spaces regardless of their vaccination status. Since the June 15 reopening, the county has only recommended mask-wearing indoors. The new mandate comes as Los Angeles County reported 1,537 new COVID-19 cases Thursday – the highest number of new cases in months. For a week now, the county’s daily new case rate has topped 1,000. Los Angeles County health officials also reported three additional deaths Thursday.

Wow, an “exponential spike” in cases? Truly grim. Unless of course you look at the real numbers: Los Angeles County makes the data on daily new cases and deaths available on its website, so it’s not hard to find even though it does not include the cities of Long Beach or Pasadena which have to be accounted for separately. The media breathlessly reports “a thousand new COVID per day for four straight days,” so maybe an eagle-eyed Patterico’s Pontifications reader can find that data in the following official numbers of new cases and deaths as reported by the county since the beginning of the month:

LA County July

So not only do I fail to see more than two days in which new cases exceeded the 1,000 threshold, I see only one period in which the four-day county average reaches 1,000, but just barely, and never a five-day or seven-day period at that level. Again, my data comes from what is released on the websites of Los Angeles County, the City of Pasadena, and the City of Long Beach. All of these numbers are subject to being updated and Long Beach has a lag in their reporting, so there is nothing on the Long Beach dashboard since last Friday. But the Long Beach dashboard does have a “Cases” option and if you look at that convoluted data displayed as cases per 100,000 residents you can extrapolate estimates for July 12 and 13 by multiplying the numbers by 4.62 (the latest Census estimate is that Long Beach has 462,000 residents), which I have done. If there truly were 1,500 cases reported Thursday, in plenty of time to be released to news outlets in time for a mid-afternoon article, why isn’t that data up on their website yet?

So what’s the deal here? Does Los Angeles County keep a second set of data, one that only they have access to and which is only slowly made available after LA County Health has utilized it for media purposes? And does that data consistently show 20-30% higher rates of new COVID cases than what they let us plebs see? Or are they just lying to us, like back in the fall when county officials claimed that their data showed that outdoor dining was causing the spike in new infections, yet tellingly refused to make the same assertion when called before a judge to explain the arbitrariness of their edicts while under oath.

Yes, another pre-publication update as the County has released their daily data in the late afternoon which includes partial data from yesterday. I want to show you a side-by-side comparison of what I downloaded at 3:11 pm today versus what I downloaded from the very same location at 5:31 pm. See if you can spot the differences:

Adjusted LA County data

Those are some pretty significant updates. I get that data from yesterday, Tuesday, Monday, Sunday, even into the latter part of last week has changed, but you’re going to tell me that data that is now 18 days old is still being updated, even if ever-so slightly (no further changes have been made to data prior to June 26)? And again, the county is informing the media that there were 1,500 new cases reported today. How long is it going to take to see that figure reflected that in the official data? It is discrepancies and continual revisions like this that have caused an awful lot of us to lose any respect for this wretched bureaucracy and its feckless leader. For those of you who live in other parts of the country, are your local health boards this haphazard in terms of releasing accurate data in a timely manner?

I’ll get to my main point and then wrap this post up: At 11:59 pm on Saturday, all Los Angeles County residents will be required to don masks once inside of any building, irrespective of our own personal vaccination status and irrespective of what percentage of the people in our community are fully vaccinated. I find this to be utterly stupid. I’ve been a good citizen and have played along with their capricious mandates thus far, but I will not be voluntarily masking up indoors for the remainder of the summer. If a business proprietor asks me to wear my mask in his or her establishment I will comply because that is their prerogative, but I will not voluntarily accede to an arbitrary and ridiculous edict from a domineering and dysfunctional group of anti-science apparatchiks who have so badly bungled all of their other attempts to enforce their mindless mandates. Here endeth the rant.


So Is Big Tech a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by JVW]

At National Review Online, Phillip Klein sees a problem for the argument that Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube, etc. are just private companies who reach their own independent conclusions on what user-posted content is acceptable and unacceptable, and that government interference (and, by inference, political ideology) does not come into play:

During the Thursday press briefing, [White House Press Secretary Jen] Psaki said regarding COVID-19 messaging that “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

[. . . ]

Psaki’s comment adds a new layer to the debate [as to whether Big Tech companies are truly independent of government influence]. Even if it may not matter legally, if Facebook is colluding with the government to suppress speech, it becomes much harder rhetorically to hide behind the “we’re a private company” defense. My guess is that Psaki’s comments will nudge more conservatives closer to the MAGA position of going after Big Tech if they were not already there.

In a more sane world, even progressives who are concerned about the intersection of Big Business and Big Government might be alarmed at this sort of collusion. But maybe since it benefits the agenda of a Democrat Administration they see it as a necessary evil to advance their goals. But woe unto them if the populists get tired of being dictated to by New York, Austin, Seattle, and Silicon Valley.


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