Opinion: Vaccine, mask mandates can’t take credit for lower COVID-19 death rates, a comparison of states shows

Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center shares why the data does not back up the claims of Gov. Jay Inslee.

Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center shares why the data does not back up the claims of Gov. Jay Inslee

Elizabeth Hovde
Washington Policy Center

If you’ve been listening to Gov. Jay Inslee, he is confident his strict COVID-19-related mandates have been responsible for saving lives. Never mind that lower state death rates don’t depend on state mask and vaccine mandates. 

Elizabeth Hovde
Elizabeth Hovde

In a Feb. 25 press conference about lifting his indoor mask mandate on March 12, Inslee said, “I have not been shy about standing up for public health. It saved tens of thousands of lives,” and, “The decisions we’ve made have been different than other states. And it has kept the death rate very low relative to other states … because they did not take the measures that we took.”

The data do not back up these claims. The state’s new “ForWArd” campaign lists the states with the lowest cumulative death rates per 100,000 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Washington is tied with Maine in the No. 5 spot. Beating Washington are states that did not have vaccine mandates on government employees (Alaska and Utah) or had them but allowed for testing alternatives (Hawaii and Vermont). Only one state with a lower cumulative COVID-19 death rate had a mask mandate that lasted as long as Washington state’s did (Hawaii). The other states with lower death rates either never imposed a mask mandate or removed it long before Inslee did. 

See state comparisons on vaccine mandates here and comparisons on mask mandates here.

If harsh mandates kept the death rate low relative to other states, how does Inslee explain Alaska and Utah? There are clearly many factors involved, so the governor’s bragging is off-target.

Hardline mandates are causing harm in other ways. Hundreds of state employees and health care workers were fired under the governor’s orders. This brought widespread disruption in hospitals, in schools and on public roads. On a human level, the vaccine mandate ruined family budgets and ended people’s careers.

Vaccinated people can contract and spread COVID-19, but under the mandate, only unvaccinated people were fired. That makes the mandate policy unacceptable and discriminatory. And the governor ignored the science of natural immunity.

Instead of ending the vaccine mandate as a condition of employment and sending apology letters and rehire offers, it was announced yesterday that workers who contract with the Secretary of State’s Office will be added to the “fired” list if not vaccinated. 

Inslee refuses to let go of this misguided policy that is ruining lives and lowering the quality of taxpayer-funded services. Neighboring Oregon is rightly abandoning its misguided vaccine mandate. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said of the switch that “extraordinary emergency” orders were no longer necessary as “we learn to live with this virus.”​​

She’s right that hardline vaccine mandates are no longer necessary. They were never appropriate. 

Elizabeth Hovde is a policy analyst and the director of the Centers for Health Care and Worker Rights at the Washington Policy Center. She is a Clark County resident.

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christodamas
christodamas
8 months ago

Science!

Margaret
Margaret
8 months ago

WA State Dept of Health previously reported weekly on COVID-19 related deaths by Vaccination status, yet the last report was released on March 2, 2022, with no more weekly updates since then. The report did not include hospitalizations or deaths among residents under 12-years old.

WA State COVID-19 deaths from Feb 01, 2021 – Feb 01, 2022
Number of COVID-19 deaths ages (12+) Page 11 & 13
Fully vaccinated 1,655
Partially vaccinated 333
Unvaccinated 4,595

“Definitions
All case, hospitalization, and death data reported are based on positive molecular or antigen test results. A fully vaccinated COVID-19 case is a person with a positive molecular or antigen test result and a specimen collection date two or more weeks after receiving the final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.”

“Deaths are reported to the state by health care providers, medical examiners or coroners, local health departments, or others to the official vital records database, WHALES.
COVID-19 deaths included in this report are identified in WHALES where the cause of death was confirmed or suspected to have been COVID-19.
 For this report, the determination of whether a person is fully vaccinated is based exclusively on data from the Washington Immunization Information System (WA IIS)”

“Linking methods All information on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths provided by this report use WDRS data linked to WAIIS COVID-19 vaccination data. The links are based on a comparison of the first name, last name, and date of birth of cases to the first name, last name, and date of birth of those with COVID-19 vaccination in WAIIS. Only exact matches on all three items are considered the same person. Missing or misspelled names and incorrect dates of birth may lead to some vaccinated persons being incorrectly classified as unvaccinated. COVID-19 cases with vaccines not reported to WAIIS as described above are considered unvaccinated in this report.”

Why hasn’t this report been updated since March 2? Some of the mass vaccination clinics conducted by Public Health departments did NOT require any ID, so names may have been missing or misspelled, and ages were not verified. At the March 23, 2022 CC Board of Health meeting, the Director noted that there have been cases where deaths initially reported by DOH as unvaccinated are later corrected to be shown as vaccinated.

Are the suspect deaths truly COVID related?

Suspect death: COVID is not listed as a contributing factor on the death certificate (but wasn’t ruled out as cause of death)  and the person died after testing positive for COVID within 28 days.” CC COVID data page

The PCR tests are well known for false positives, which would inflate COVID deaths, since a positive COVID test is the primary criteria for a “Suspect” death.
“Suspect” deaths may NOT be be COVID related at all. The CDC recently revised death data to delete deaths formerly attributed to COVID.

In 2020, Prior to the roll out of the fast-tracked vaccines, The Freedom Foundation reported about the problem of too many deaths reported as COVID deaths, WA REDUCES COVID-19 DEATHS BY 200; INVESTIGATION SUGGESTS IT’S STILL TOO HIGH
 

Melissa
Melissa
8 months ago
Reply to  Margaret

The DOH report has been stalled because starting in the end of January 2022 most (or even all according to CCPH data) of cases and hospitalizations have been among those fully vaccinated. DOH doesn’t want to admit this publicly. Thus, they have delayed the report for “technical issues,” see DOH covid dashboard reports for statement on the delay.

The “most recent” report was issued March 2, 2022. This is a weekly report, so DOH has missed updates on March 9, March 16, and March 23. On March 23, the Clark County Health Director chose to “update” the Board of Health (BOH) with the “most recent” report (March 2), attempting to mislead the BOH by passing this old report off as being current, and not telling the BOH that the report updates have been sidelined for “technical issues” almost a month ago. 

in the meantime, according to CCPH data, between Feb. 18 and March 18, 2022, 107% of hospitalizations and 104% of cases in the past four weeks were fully vaccinated. Obviously not possible! (CCPH only shows the current week’s data, however archived CCPH webpages are available at the Wayback archive site. Just copy the web url and past it into the way back archive to retrieve older versions.)

After being called out about this dishonest and misleading 3-23-22 BOH updated, CCPH responded by not updating their breakthrough numbers on Friday. Thus, March 18, 2022 represents the “most recent” vaccine breakthrough data from Clark County, with no update on March 25 and no explanation for the delay.

CCPH has a data problem. DOH has a data problem. Overall numbers of new cases are low, Thank God, but in Clark County, all (most?) new cases are from fully vaccinated residents. 

Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
8 months ago

Quit making everything a political issue. If you didn’t like the mask mandate-move to Idaho or ND. Many are grateful that we did not get covid nor die and that we could go out for our essentials. It is time to move on!

John Smith
John Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Amanda Blake

The flu happens every year, get over it. If you want to wear a face diaper and virtue signal with your besty Karen that’s fine. Or maybe you all should move to Canada where sheep love to be herded?

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
8 months ago
Reply to  John Smith

I know it’s a fool’s errand answering a guy using a fake name, but in the interest of facts…

COVID killed 20 times more than flu (initially, although that’s now lower), and far more healthy middle-aged people.

Also, flu doesn’t leave anybody with brain damage, weak heart, lungs, kidneys or liver (except in the most extreme and rare cases). It doesn’t cause people to have lower sperm counts, or an increased risk of diabetes. COVID does all these things.

This is why we treat it differently than Flu. Take it or leave it.

Also, our community health matters. That’s true even for those who don’t care about their health, or the health of others, and even for those who deny that their (or others’) health is at risk.

But, this article was about the effectiveness of Inslee’s interventions, and so far the only evidence we’ve heard here was Inslee’s own claim.

John Smith
John Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

Nobody on planet Earth has accurate data on the Covid plandemic yet here you are spouting Leftist brainwash as gospel.

Weird how you would list so many of the side-effects of the fake vaccine but then insinuate it is from Covid. Did CNN teach you this?

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
8 months ago
Reply to  John Smith

We know a great deal, as we should after two years of global study.

There are studies released nearly every week about the dangers of ‘long covid,’ from the people best positioned to ‘know’ what they’re talking about: medical experts, universities, CDC, WHO, foreign health bodies, etc. All of the studies have enough content for you to see the veracity of the results.

There are no serious long-term side effects known for the vaccines, besides a handful of deaths from blood-clotting (which, now known, are treatable).

I listen to mostly right-wing news, because I find it interesting to try to imagine what I wouldn’t know–or what I would ‘know’ that isn’t true–if I were unable to research on my own.

Anyway, you don’t sound like someone who wants to discuss or learn, so peace 🙂 I just wanted to get the facts splattered here somewhere for other readers.

John Smith
John Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

You have nothing useful to add to any conversation here and it shows.

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
8 months ago
Reply to  John Smith

Thank you for sharing your feelings.

The facts I shared are easily verifiable to any who care to do so, regardless of how you or I feel.

John Smith
John Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

lol Clinging to your CNN propaganda looks good on you

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
8 months ago

I think you should find the data Inslee sourced his comments from, then publish and discuss them here. They are not likely so simple as “death rate per capita,” because that does not answer the question “Did mask mandates save lives.” To answer that question you have to measure deaths and then build a reasonable model for how things would have gone without the mandates.

There are many other factors involved. Senior population is one–which states have disproportionately more–because they are dying at a much higher rate than the population in general.

How about social dispersion–something Alaska has in abundance–or even racial disparities: non-white people die at a much higher rate than white people. Washington is about 75% white, Vermont is 94%.

So, per-capita death rates are a marker for many differences, the masks being just one.

Sarika
Sarika
8 months ago

Hi,just thought that this article might useful information hospitaization of vaccinated individuals versus unvaccinated

https://dailyexpose.uk/2022/03/24/uk-gov-data-92-percent-covid-deaths-fully-vaccinated/

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
8 months ago
Reply to  Sarika

Unfortunately that’s a right-wing article full of untruths. One “red flag” is any article claiming things like “99.9% survival rate” or “0.2% fatality rate”.

COVID’s death rate has never been as low as 1% in America, so 0.2% is a lie (by more a factor of 5) and the ‘actual’ survival rate is somewhere between 98 and 99%.

The rest of the article is as flawed.

Ricardo L Jomarron
Ricardo L Jomarron
7 months ago

What’s up with Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, etc.. topping the per capita death rates, lowest vax rates and no mask mandates?

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