First you change the thread title and then you bring up Covid-related questions?!
I looked into some of the numbers a while back when somebody claimed that countries with lower vaccination rates get less infections and/or deaths (I forget which) and found: uh, nope. Just another anti-vaxxer lie. It’s true that there don’t seem to be significant differences between 60% vaccinated regions and 70% vaccinated ones, but there was a big difference between the 60-70% ones and those under 40-50%, and another big shift at over 85%. I guess that’s the beginnings of the herd immunity we keep hearing about. Granted, those were just a few places and it was way before Omikron.
My point is: Covid policies are a mess, statistically speaking. There’s no clean data to compare because every country fires several different measures at the problem, they keep changing policies as the data changes, and a lot of people ignore them anyway. So despite a few clear success stories, we can see broad differences but it’s hard to pin them down to any one measure.
As for masks, I’ve never heard anybody suggesting that they alone are enough to ward off the pandemic – but they do help if used as one of a bunch of measures. Thre’s no denying that. Their true value, though, is that they justify keeping the shops open and not ruining the rest of the economy. Me, I’d rather everybody stayed home, but I like staying home, so I may be biased.