Authored by Brad Jones via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Santa Clara County’s $3 million lawsuit against a church in California’s Silicon Valley over COVID-19 mandate violations, as well as its prior mask mandate, was based on a study that’s deeply flawed, critics say.
Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Chapel San Jose defied county mandates from May through October 2020 when the church held indoor services, made masks optional, ignored social distancing rules, and refused to place limits on how many of its 600 congregants could attend services.
The county filed a civil enforcement lawsuit against the church in November 2020 to collect fines and penalties totaling $2.87 million—and in its latest move, the county asked the California Supreme Court on Sept. 26 to review an appeals court decision from August that allowed the church to avoid paying more than $200,000 in court fines.
Meanwhile, the county’s indoor mask mandate was changed to a recommendation in March. The church also filed a civil rights lawsuit against county and state officials over the fines and COVID-related restrictions in April.
In a deposition in August, Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s public health officer, was asked about studies she relied on regarding COVID-19 policies.
“I can remember a particular study around masking evidence that was a large study in Bangladesh that had cases—it was a large retrospective cohort study that demonstrated the efficacy of community-wide masking. I can’t remember exactly where it was published. It was not published by the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” she said.
Dr. Robert Malone, an internationally recognized scientist and physician who has conducted key research on mRNA vaccines, told the Epoch Times that while Cody is highly credentialed, “she is citing as justification for action a very flawed study that actually proves if anything, that the masks don’t work, when you actually look at the data.”
Norman Fenton, a mathematician and risk information management professor at Queen Mary University of London, also said the Bangladesh study doesn’t hold up to rigorous analysis and doesn’t prove masks work.
“There was no discernible effect of the mask intervention on covid infection,” he concluded.
In his paper from May, Fenton states the news media grossly exaggerated the authors’ conclusions in the Bangladesh study, and that skeptical researchers have identified weaknesses in various aspects of the trial and statistical analysis, thus casting doubt on the significance of the results.
A more recent re-analysis published on Sept. 15 provides additional “damning critique” of the Bangladesh study, Fenton said in an email to The Epoch Times. The re-analysis, led by University of California–Berkeley professor Benjamin Recht, found masks had a “modest or no direct effect on COVID-related outcomes.”
Cody did not respond to multiple Epoch Times inquiries, and the county’s media relations staff declined to comment.
Malone and former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch, who have both spoken at Defeat the Mandates rallies, attended an event hosted by the Liberty Forum of Silicon Valley on COVID mismanagement in Santa Clara on Aug. 13.
Kirsch has written extensively about the pandemic, and said Cody’s recent deposition provided a rare opportunity to force a public health official to answer questions, according to his Sept. 20 Substack post.
“We finally learn in the deposition that Sara Cody’s mask mandate was based on the Bangladesh mask study,” Kirsch wrote.
He pointed out—as Recht did in his critique—data in the study seems to suggest red cloth masks worked better than surgical masks, while purple cloth masks were ineffective.
“Well, you can’t change the color of a mask and have it suddenly work. Physics doesn’t work that way, and so clearly what was going on is they were just measuring statistical noise,” Kirsch told The Epoch Times.
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