Saturday, June 3, 2023
HomePoliticsAnchorage mask mandate on Day 10, cases remain steady

Anchorage mask mandate on Day 10, cases remain steady

The mask mandate by Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has been in effect since 8 am June 29. By now, the community should be seeing a trend.

Yet in the past 10 days, the number of COVID-19 cases in the municipality have steadily continued, climbing in fact, with an average of 16 cases a day.

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The incubation period for COVID-19, is on average 5-6 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It can be up until 14 days.

By now, if Anchorage residents are being vigilant about wearing masks in public, and if the masks actually work against infection, there should be a noticeable drop in cases in the Anchorage municipality.

Anecdotally, Anchorage residents appear to be following the mask mandate in stores, work stations, and other public places. They don’t always wear their masks properly, or handle them like the toxic items they may be, but they appear to making an effort.

MRAK looked at the current health literature and found little credible published data on whether the masks mandates are effective.

In Washington state, where the mask mandate went into effect on June 26, the number of cases remains on the increase, at least in Seattle, where 535 cases were diagnosed on July 7:

In an academic study conducted over a number of U.S. jurisdictions where masks were mandated, the daily case rate declines by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points within days 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20, and 21+ days after signing of the mandates. The declines were labeled statistically significant, and contrasted with the pre-mandate growth in COVID-19 cases.

The study was published in the journal Health Affairs.

That study contradicts the experience of Seattle, and also Anchorage, with its mask mandate and relatively consistent cases. Anchorage is halfway through the experiment; the Berkowitz mask mandate ends on July 31 in Anchorage, unless extended by the mayor.

Anchorage has 344 active cases of COVID-19, and 245 people in Anchorage have recovered from the illness. Nearly 20 percent of the current active cases were diagnosed since July 4. That’s 11 percent of all the Anchorage cases diagnosed (598 as of this writing) being detected in the past five days.

It’s probably too early to tell if the Berkowitz mask mandate is working for the general, non-hospital population, which is not trained medically on how to use masks. But at this point, there’s no evidence that it is working.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. And that is why I am not wearing a mask, it is stupid on a level that is unbelievable. The mayor is just living his little dream of being king for a day, issuing edicts of zero consequence in order to feel important. Dumb as dirt.

    • And that it is exactly why the mask mandate is not effective, and the number of case is still increasing. Maybe Must Read Alaska should really look into how science works, and what can reduce effectivness of the mask mandate. The first cause is probably, that a large portion of the population just do not wear one.

      • MARC, If you go to a store you see at least 95% of people do wear them. I would estimate that is up from 60-70% before little Napoleon made his mandate. They help just like a bathing suit keeps pee off you in a pool….

    • And that is why we are still seeing a rise because people like you refuse to help protect the others. The mask is to protect everyone not just are being selfish andfoolish

  2. I think I’ll take my medical advice from qualified professional sources, such as the CDC, instead of from a partisan political website.

    • If you think you can trust the CDC then search for what the CDC said about masks on Feb 27, “CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks to help prevent novel #coronavirus.” Or how about what the US Surgeon General said on Feb 29, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk! ” And then in the background you had governments buying up stockpiles of masks. I’m not sure who to believe on the masks situation – but it’s not the CDC or US Surgeon General.

      • I fully disagree with you, the CDC is doing the best job ever. The CDC is able to look at what happens, and make decisions based on newer, and update facts and analysis.

        Decisions they took in the past was based on the knowledge acquired until the day the decision was made. As the knowledge on the SARS-COV-2 increases, the CDC reviews its guideline. This is how progress is made.

        One does have to review previous decision based on updated data, and acknowledge the understanding earlier was partial, not exact, or even wrong. Then decisions are reviewed, and better decisions could be made.

        There is a French saying about there is only stupid who does not change their mind.

        • Well said, Marc, but sadly, our voices make no impact here as reason does not prevail on this website.

          “Il n’y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d’avis.”

          And another just as good, in English:

          “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

          • Whidbey, it is rare to see someone as informed and smart as you taking the time to post logorrhea on such a knuckle-dragging site as MRAK. Me thinks that you sir, are wasting your precious pearls before us swine. I mean to say , we morons, those that support MRAK are not educated enough to comprehend your message, much less in French or Latin.

      • Of course you cherry-pick information to support your political point of view. Who doesn’t? Apparently you have missed subsequent recommendations from the CDC and Surgeon General, and also VP Pence (who could no longer hold out against mask wearing, caved, and has now endorsed doing so).

        Even Trump has grudgingly stated that people should mask up, although the statement was as timid and couched as possible.

        So, you can now wear one without fear of denigration or retribution from your fellow Conservatives, as you have been given a “Get Out of Jail Free” card by Dear Leader(s).

        Now, hear this. You don’t want to wear a mask only because you feel embarrassed, because you feel peer pressure from your cohort, because you think it makes you look weak or subservient, or maybe a little bit of each of these.

        If you want to truly MAGA, then mask up and by doing so help this country get back on its feet again. You will be viewed as a responsible citizen for doing so.

        If not, well, then shunned pariah is in your future.

        Now, it’ll be dinnertime soon, Ms. Homemaker. Better be getting back to that stove.

    • But Whidbey, don’t you just love MRAK. That’s why you check in here….because occasionally you need to learn the truth. Now, go back to your marching orders at DNC, CDC,
      CNN, WHO, etc……..LMFAO.

      • Kemosabee, it’s actually for the entertainment value – bemusedly watching closed-minded people rage against the world via their keyboards.

    • Whid,
      I hate to say it to anyone, but you appear as uninformed, “expert” led, and gullible as any other uninformed American. That would be mostly those that depend on government to be their ultimate savior. CDC has proven, time after time, that their information and advice on wuhan v is undependable, inaccurate, and scientifically/medically unsound. This ‘partisan’ website specializes in the truth. Researched, documented and without attempted political manipulation, destruction or denial of such truth(s). If commentary is found deceptive or untrue, the site editors remove it and reprimand the author. Get your ‘advice’ where ever you need. The truth remains the truth, no matter your source of ‘information’.

      • In the words of Dear Leader (soon to depart the scene), “What have you got to lose?”.

        Be a responsible citizen and mask up. It doesn’t make you look weak – to the contrary, it makes you look like a responsible citizen who is doing his part to help get the country back on its feet.

  3. Wearing a face mask is a Democrat Political Statement, that means we support Democrat Agenda and we care…regardless if it really works or not.

    • Your statement is utter nonsense. COVID-19 is insensitive to political rage from either end of the spectrum. Take the time to learn something about virology, epidemiology, and infectious diseases. Ignorance as a choice will lead to very undesirable outcomes.

  4. I think the mayor is just using this mask mandate as a stepping stone to going back to lockdown.

    • A major goal of the mask order was to avoid another shutdown. It was devastating to our economy. Nobody, including the mayor, wants a shutdown. He’s said that several times. Why would he want that? It means less tax revenue.

  5. Thanks for the data exposure regarding efficacy of masks. In the future can you provide an overview current analysis of: total number of people tested for COVID, total number of people tested for antibodies, total number of people who were infected, total number of people who no longer have COVID, and relationship percent of impact on the total Alaska population and correlation with such data collection. This is a tall order request, but I think that such data reflection will help people to analyze for themselves the vulnerability of COVID.
    Maybe another analysis comparison is what do similar numbers look like for other viruses that has impacted the State during “flu season.”
    Thanks for your work

    • Hard to do Ken.
      Total number of people tested for antibodies…last word I heard from the State is antibody test were unreliable so they are not a priority. This doesn’t smell right to me.

      total number of people who were infected… without the antibody data we don’t know

      total number of people who no longer have COVID… The State keeps saying there are many folks with no symptoms who keep spreading the virus but we are not testing everyone so again we don’t know.

      I don’t know why three out of four of your wishes aren’t being investigated.

      I am satisfied the curve is shallow almost level in the upper teens. If things were really out of control it would be exponential. Too early to conclude masks don’t work.

  6. Statistically speaking, new cases are not on the rise; there is no trend. It will take more than 10 days to see any change,. Another problem that Anchorage faces is the steady influx of people flying in. Sure tourism is way down, but it doesn’t take many infected folks to make things worse when your numbers are relatively low. Instead of suggesting that it is not working here, I would look to the many examples of where it has been in place for longer periods of time and is working; they are not difficult to find. Many Republican governors are on board with face coverings, so it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Finally, the author might consider choosing a non-partisan face covering for the image used for the story; it foreshadows her conclusions.

  7. Thank you MRAK for another article offering real information no one else will publish. Unfortunately with the hyper-politicization of this, the truth will probably not actually set us free, at least in the near future; too many people in power have too much invested in keeping us muzzled, literally and figuratively. But for people who are actually open-minded, who are willing and able to think for themselves rather than marching lockstep with the “experts” who have the megaphone right now (and long ago squandered their credibility), knowing what’s really going on so they can continue thinking for themselves is some consolation.

  8. A key phrase is “if Anchorage residents are being vigilant about wearing masks in public”. Judging by the comments section that doesn’t seem to be happening.

  9. The muni has exceeded its ability to conduct “contact tracing” and without that they are just getting that warm feeling running down their leg. Contract tracing and testing of known contacts is the only way to really reduce the spread of the virus . The week to 2 weeks someone walks around after getting the virus from some one without a mask in a Crowded demonstration or bar only infects more people. If and when the carrier shows symptoms after being exposed and tested they just expose more. But their known contacts expose even more people until their systems appear. It is like trying to put out a raging forest fire but ignoring the sparks flying all over starting other fires. You will never put the fire out. If the Mayor really wants to reduce the transmission of the virus he has to hire and train as many contact tracers as required and spend less time on helping the homeless that don’t want the help. Supposedly the muni has over 1600 homeless in the Sullivan and camps around town with an unknown hanging out elsewhere. The people running the Sullivan say they have 300 to 400 at night there. They have a lot less during the day as I watch them everyday stream in and out in the morning and back in the evening. The rest won’t come in or they would still be using the Ben Boukie. They want to stay in their tents and not live in housing. They will come for a meal but then they leave again. The muni can not force them to use the day centers or the Sullivan and they will never give up their camps. That is just a bleeding heart liberal pipe dream. So Mr. Mayor hire contact tracers and put them in your empty buildings and speed up testing.

    Number of new cases are rising. There is still a steady flow of unmasked people in public gathering places despite the ban and shop owners have not been enforcing the mandate. This is not just about masks. Its about washing hands frequently, not touching your face, social distancing, testing, tracing, isolating and quarantining. Its a virus. If we do not optimize our behavior we will see more morbidity and death. If we do we will see less, plain and simple. The virus doesn’t care about your party affiliation. Politicizing our response has made it all worse. We need to work together on this

  11. You must have missed the large Lancet review and meta-analysis of 172 studies on six continents:

    “Without a mask, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.4%. With an N95 respirator or face mask, that number drops to 3.1%.
    “Our findings continued to support the ideas not only that masks in general are associated with a large reduction in risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV but also that N95 or similar respirators might be associated with a larger degree of protection from viral infection than disposable medical masks or reusable multilayer (12-16-layer) cotton masks,”
    Similarly, maintaining between three and six feet of distance from others reduces the infection rate from 12.8% to 2.6%.
    “The main benefit of physical distancing measures is to prevent onward transmission and, thereby, reduce the adverse outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Hence, the results of our current review support the implementation of a policy of physical distancing of at least 1 [metre] and, if feasible, 2 [meters] or more,”

    And you missed the report by CDC and the navy on statistics from the experience on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The navy reported out of a crew of about 4,800 sailors, 1,273 tested positive for the virus and 382 sailors participated in the study.
    Sailors who did not wear masks experienced an 80.8% infection rate, while those who used face coverings had a 55.8% infection rate. People who did not follow social distancing guidelines fell sick at a rate of 70% versus 54.7% for those who stayed around six feet away from others.
    Sailors who used common areas reported an infection rate of 67.5% and those who avoided those spaces saw a 53.8% infection rate.
    The Navy also found 18.5% of those who came down with the coronavirus were asymptomatic – so they did not fall sick at all, but were still contagious – while still others had mild symptoms.
    “This study shows young, healthy adults with COVID-19 might have mild, atypical, or no symptoms; therefore, symptom-based surveillance might not detect all infections. Use of face coverings and other preventive measures could mitigate transmission in similar settings,” the Navy said in a statement, according to the San Diego-Union Tribune.

  12. Take your mask to town son
    Don’t leave your mask at home Bill
    Take your mask to town
    He sang a song as on he rode his mask hung at his hip
    He rode into a cattle town, a smile upon his lips
    He stopped and walked into a bar and laid his money down
    But his mother’s words echoed again
    Take your mask to town son
    Don’t leave your mask at home Bill
    Take your mask to town
    He drank his first strong liquor then to calm his shaking hand
    And tried to tell himself at last he had become a man
    A dusty cowpoke at his side began to cough him down
    And he heard again his mother’s words
    Take your mask to town son
    Don’t leave your mask at home Bill
    Take your mask to town
    Filled with fear then Billy Joe reached for his mask to don
    But the stranger coughed again, the Sars-COV-2 cloud enveloped him
    As Billy Joe fell to the floor, the masked crowd all gathered ’round
    And wondered at his final words
    Take your mask to town son
    Leave your mask at home Bill
    Take your mask to town

  13. Stop talking and take action. Those of us who do not believe that wearing a mask is beneficial in reducing the spread of covid, must act now, before it’s too late. We need to have a huge rally at Sullivan Arena, where every seat is taken. Maybe connect it to President Trump’s campaign. Our President might come here if he was promised an arena full of his most faithful fans. Anyone could attend if they signed a pledge that they will never wear a mask. No one in the crowd of thousands would wear a mask. CNN would go crazy, along with the other fake news. Beautiful. About 14 days later we will have proof that the Mask Facists are really just liberals who hate America, hate freedom and liberty, hate the constitution, hate Trump, and hate Confederate war hero’s who bravely fought for state’s rights. I’ve studied the US Constitution and there is no mention of masks, which was noted in March by the President. We need a huge rally to tell the radical left: Real Alaskans Never Wear A Mask. Never.

  14. Why are we spending any energy on ‘fighting’ this? If it doesn’t help, it certainly doesn’t hurt. And not doing so just gives ‘them’ more ammunition to fire at ‘us’ over. So just wear it, for crying out loud. Not everything has to devolve into a political ‘us-vs-them’ pissing contest.This isn’t the hill to die on. If for no other reason, to show polite consideration for people who actually do think that it is important. Let’s fight for the things that matter!

  15. By now it is clear – the mask mandate is not working in Anchorage. Since this article was posted Anchorage new case records have been set or tied four times. Yesterday’s 40 new cases was an all time record. The trend is clearly UP, appears to be linear with a slope of close to 1 new case per day. Either masks don’t work at all (unlikely considering clear demonstrations they do), don’t work in Anchorage (probably due to lack of compliance especially in crowded venues), or the mandate was way “behind the power curve” in aircraft flying vernacular.

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