Scientific experts are saying an end to the Chinese coronavirus situation is approaching, with an Oxford study finding a therapy that is 90 percent effective. Despite this, Tarrant County commissioners only listened to their staff and extended their countywide mask mandate, while rejecting a citizen’s request for more time to present opposing evidence.

On Tuesday morning, Tarrant County commissioners unanimously extended their emergency declaration, empowering County Judge Glen Whitley—spokesman for the commissioners court—to also extend the countywide mask mandate by another 90 days (through May 25). The mandate still exempts those to whom masks pose a “significant mental or physical health risk.”

Commissioners may revoke the emergency declaration at any time.

“Social distancing works,” said County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja, as he reported to commissioners that coronavirus numbers are decreasing. “Wearing a mask works.”

Dr. Richard Bartlett of West Texas disagrees.

“Numbers are trending down because of herd immunity and early effective outpatient therapy,” Bartlett told Texas Scorecard. “Everyone in Texas knows multiple people who have recovered from COVID.”

“Masks don’t have a randomized controlled trial [RCT] from Oxford University (the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with 72 Nobel Prize laureates),” he continued. “RCT is the top-shelf, creme de la creme, highest level of definitive scientific medical evidence.”

Dr. Bartlett does have an RCT from Oxford of a therapy that’s shown to have a 90 percent success rate against the Chinese coronavirus.

“Early administration of inhaled budesonide reduced the likelihood of needing urgent medical care and reduced time to recovery following early COVID-19 infection,” the RCT study states.

“The findings from 146 people – of whom half took 800 micrograms of the medication twice a day and half were on usual care – suggests that inhaled budesonide reduced the relative risk of requiring urgent care or hospitalisation by 90% in the 28-day study period,” the University of Oxford website published earlier this month. “Participants allocated the budesonide inhaler also had a quicker resolution of fever, symptoms and fewer persistent symptoms after 28 days.”

“The Randomized Controlled Trial of Oxford University is confirmation that Texas providers have been right to use effective early outpatient therapies to ameliorate symptoms of COVID,” Dr. Bartlett said. “Does Taneja have an RCT proving masks and social distancing are the cause of numbers going down? We all know the answer to that question.”

During public comments, a citizen also asked commissioners to consider an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal by Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins School and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Makary believes Americans will have herd immunity to the virus by April.

“I’d like to know if there’s availability for us to show something very different than what [Dr. Taneja] is presenting,” citizen Lana Austin asked commissioners, wanting more than the three minutes of speaking time allotted to citizens during court meetings. “I think we’re making decisions based on misinformation.”

“We’re not going to get into presentations back and forth. We’ve got our staff and our folks who we’re going to rely on,” Judge Whitley replied.

“I want to be heard.” Austin said.

Upon hearing of the mask mandate extension, constitutional law expert and former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi issued a call to citizens.

“It’s time for civil disobedience on mask mandates,” he posted on social media. “We will be wearing masks 5 years from now if people keep complying.”

Tarrant County citizen Kenya Alu agreed, calling for the month of March to be “Mask Burning Month.” “Stop wearing them,” she posted on social media. “I promise you it can be done!”

Texas is still under a statewide mask mandate from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Citizens may read more about the study of inhaled budesonide at the University of Oxford website. The full text can be found here.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.