Super Bowl masking double-standard called out one month after researchers find 'lockdown policies are ill-founded'

The controversy comes a month after Johns Hopkins University published a study that found past lockdown protocols had minimal effect on public health.

A-List celebrities went maskless at the Super Bowl yesterday, prompting online criticism over how COVID restrictions are applied differently to ordinary people and elites.

On Superbowl Sunday, celebrities were seen inside the Los Angeles football stadium without masks, a full 48 hours before California's mask mandate ends tomorrow. 

Clay Travis, founder of the anti-PC sports media company Outkick, Tweeted a video of the maskless A-listers at Superbowl LVI, noting that every child in the state is still required to wear masks in school.

Reason Magazine Senior Editor Robby Soave quote tweeted a collage of celebrities, including Ryan Reynolds and Ellen DeGeneres, in the stadium without masks. 

Prior to the Super Bowl, the NFL put out a statement for attendees stating, "Fans will be required to comply with all LA County COVID-19 health and safety protocols to enter the Super Bowl LVI campus at SoFi Stadium."

"Updated protocols include, but are not limited to, a mandatory mask requirement INSIDE THE STADIUM for EVERYONE over 2 years of age regardless of vaccination status," the statement read.

[RELATED: ACADEMICALLY SPEAKING: Why do progressive elites love open borders, violate their own COVID protocols?]

Western Journal contributor C. Douglas Golden wrote Monday that the "unmistakable" language in this requirement "apparently didn’t apply to the rich and famous in the crowd." 

"In yet another stunning display of tone-deaf, let-’em-eat-mandates cluelessness, countless celebrities at Sunday’s Super Bowl were without a facial covering to be seen, even if food or drink were nowhere near their mouths, causing #hypocrisy to trend on Twitter for hours after the game."

This controversy comes one month after a three-person research team found that such non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) COVID restrictions, including but not limited to mask mandates, lockdowns, business and school closures, and social distancing requirements "had little to no public health effects.” 

The article was published in Studies in Applied Economics, a series "under the general direction of Prof. Steve H. Hanke, Founder and Co-Director of The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise." 

Hanke was one of the article's three authors. The other two were Jonas Herby, special advisor at the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, and Lars Jonung, an emeritus professor at Sweden's Lund University. 

Herby, Jonung, and Hanke conducted a "meta-analysis" of multiple studies published since 2020 on lockdowns, shelter in place orders (SIPOs), and other NPIs. 

These policies “have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument," the authors write. 

[Related: Campus workers union demands return to remote learning, adoption of stricter COVID guidelines]

According to their report, “Several studies find no statistically significant effect of lockdowns on mortality,” and others find “no significant effect of any of the analyzed NPI’s, including business closures, school closures and border closures.”

Hanke told Campus Reform, "It goes without saying that there have been significant disruption costs imposed by lockdowns on students of institutions of higher education, as well as high schools and grammar schools."

"If university administrators and government policymakers are interested in science, they will consult our research," he continued. 

Vanderbilt University locked down its campus in December, prohibiting any non-essential social interaction. Students were unable to travel, “participate in gatherings of any size,” or attend sporting events. “

Princeton University imposed restrictions last month, barring students from traveling outside the county. Yale University similarly told students to “avoid local businesses, restaurants, and bars, including outdoor drinking or dining.”

Dozens of universities across the country made the switch to remote learning to begin the new year, despite billions being allocated in part to ensure a safe in-person learning environment.

[Related: Fordham University bars students from drinking water...for health reasons]

In their article, Herby, Jonung, and Hanke compare the efficacy of lockdown and similar measures to their socioeconomic impacts felt by Americans and humanity at large.

“Lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects," they write. "They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.”

Last month, Campus Reform spoke with students at George Washington University who spoke about the impact lockdown policies have on mental health. 

"[Locking down] definitely also affects mental health," one student said. "Especially for people who like, have a problem with like depression and isolation," one student said.

The students' comments echo the authors' assessment of the cost of the lockdowns. 

“These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument," the authors argue. 

Campus Reform has reached out to Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Johns Hopkins University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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