Branch COVIDians (aka COVIDIOTS), are the enthusiastic Karen Enforcers of policies that they've been told work by the DNC or their media, but demonstrate no actual domain knowledge of the problems or skepticism (critical thinking skills) to back it up. They are the Dunning-Kruger's who believe the evidence against masks or shutdowns are conclusive: "the science is settled" when in reality, both are still hotly debated in scientific circles and there's as much evidence against both as effective as for. When cornered, instead of discussing the topic, they usually attack people, or post links to their favorite non-scientific source, or rarely, to a junk study that's easy to debunk.
While I sometimes argue with these people, the point is not to change their mind (their views demonstrate that they're not open to the nuances of reality), it's to get them to show to others that their consensus demanding tantrums are not based on nuance or reality, but based on a desire to conform to what they've been told to think (usually by the far left).
If the COVID Shutdown worked, there would be cases where states or countries that didn't shutdown would outperform those that did. But the facts are there are many examples to the contrary:
- California shut down earlier and harder than Texas. California has more cases, more deaths, and a worse curve than Texas.
- In fact seven states never issues shut down orders at all: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. All of them outperformed California or New York which had shutdowns.
- There are many countries that never did lockdowns: Belarus, Brazil (Roraima, Rondonia), Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Malawi, Tanzania, Nicaragua, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Uruguay. Many of those countries well outperformed countries that did full lockdowns.
- There's even more evidence that some that did late lockdowns, or didn't lock down as hard, did NOT always under-perform those that did it earlier or harder.
If the COVID Masks worked, there would be cases where states or countries that didn't require masks would outperform those that did. But the facts are there are many examples to the contrary.
- California required masks earlier and harder than Texas. California has more cases, more deaths, and a worse curve than Texas.
- In fact some states never issues mask requirements (Iowa, South Dakota), 20 states issues them very, very late, and many of those places well outperformed places that had stricter and earlier mandates.
- There are many countries that never did mask requirements: the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland), Iceland, Ireland, Japan, China. Many/most of those that "required" them, really only did it in certain locations or never enforced it, like most the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the UK, Germany, France (which requires it, but never enforces it, and few obey), etc. And performance was with many/most of the non-mask places outperforming those that had them.
- There's even more evidence that some that did late masking, or didn't mask as hard, and they did NOT always under-perform those that did it earlier or harder.
Why don't cloth masks matter?
Remember, masks are there to prevent your sneezes (assuming your asymptomatic) from spreading to other people accidentally. Only, how many people catch COVID this way at all? The answers is virtually none. (One case in 305 observations of people that came in contact with asymptomatic but COVID positive people, not wearing masks -- and the one case might have had had contact and got it from another vector). 
Do Masks make things worse?
Even if masks did help with one factor, the question is whether the negatives of wearing a mask outweigh it. What are some of those factors:
- People that wear masks have false confidence, so participate in riskier behaviors
- They get closer to others in order to be heard (and false confidence)
- They speak louder, which projects more particles
- They repeat themselves more (extending exposure)
- They pull the masks down sometimes (defeating them), often the 3rd time they weren't understood -- so they are speaking louder and closer -- now without a mask
- They touch the masks, and then their face (which transmit pathogens more than not wearing them)
- Imagine you go into a bathroom with fecal bacteria landing on a nice moist mask to grow/spread on... yummy
ANY of those things (and dozens of others), could defeat the theoretical benefits of wearing a mask.
So again, the honest admit, we don’t know... we know that in other pathogens like SARS-1, they masks had no positive effects and some negative ones. (Which is why the CDC and WHO both recommended against them). But we aren’t 100% sure that SARS-2 is exactly like SARS-1... it’s just highly likely that it is.
What about mask studies?
I’ve read about 2 dozen studies on the topic. The fake ones (bad science) can be classified in the following ways:
- Single aspect like studying droplet dispersion through masks.
- Cherry picking — they look at some countries that had better outcomes, and wore masks, and compare them to some countries that had worse and did. But they ignore many outliers, and all the factors that went into the outcomes besides masks. (These are political hit jobs)
- Models/speculative — they project that based on either a single factor (like the single aspect), or based on really bad cherry picking, that masks may help.
None of those are real science, those are politics.
The real science studies are the ones that tried to do large scale comparisons in the real world with control groups and people wearing masks or not. All those were done long ago and take a lot of time. Those virtually all showed that cloth masks don’t work. Most show that surgical masks and others don’t help in non-clinical settings.
What some dishonest people do is link to studies that showed that N95 masks or surgical masks do help, in clinical settings, by trained personnel and project that out to the real world and non-trained people using cloth masks. Those people are either idiots, partisans, or outright dishonest.
But my point initially was that the evidence for masks is very soft. There’s some theories that implies it might help, and lots of reasons why that might not be the case. And large observational studies show that they shouldn’t really work in the real world — they’re a placebo. Those spouting the benefits of masks are usually more political than rational. They say stupid things like they aren’t needed if you’re burning shit down or rioting, but you aren’t safe with masks in church or school. At the grocery store they’re 100% effective, but not at the polling booth. Teachers can’t feel safe wearing them so shouldn’t have to teach, but that everyone else should feel confidence with them. And so on. That’s politics — and it’s destroyed the credibility of Branch Covidians that are out there pretending that masks are proven to help... when they aren’t. They are lightly suspected that they might help more than they hurt, but informed people are divided.
So I’m not saying that masks or shutdowns don’t work. I’m saying that evidence is they don’t work enough to make a difference over other factors.
Science doesn't get to cherry pick examples that fit their agenda: that's politics. If any state/country didn't shut down or mask mandate, and has lower case loads then scientists don't pretend that Shutdowns/Masks alone cure the problem (or are even that effective). Maybe it helps, maybe not. But it certainly doesn't help more than other factors or there would be no cases where places without would be even close to those that did. Yet the opposite is true.
These are unproven tools (superstitions until the hard evidence is in), and not a very effective one -- with HUGE costs to the economy or culture. And that's before you start factoring in other deaths that were caused or contributed to by the lockdown or masks.
So lockdowns and masks are debated for good reasons: we don't have clear evidence that they work. Those screaming that if you don't follow the lockdown, but ignore essential workers, or protestors, Politicians, and others that ignored the lockdown, then you can write them off as ignorant, polemics, or just idiots.