Pro and anti-mask advocates argued on Twitter after New York Times columnist Bret Stephens covered a study that concluded masks made “no difference” in the spread of COVID.

The op-ed with the headline, “The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?” examined whether masks made a real difference in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Tom Jefferson, an Oxford epidemiologist, concluded the science was clear. “There is just no evidence that masks make any difference,” Jefferson reportedly said.

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The op-ed triggered a flame war on social media, with some conservative political commentators declaring vindication on claims that some of them have been making claims since early 2020.

One pro-mask advocate lashed out at Stephens, with another scientist calling some of the discussion around mask mandates “misinformation.”

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Who is Bret Stephens?

Bret Stephens is an American journalist, editor, and columnist. He joined The New York Times as an Op-Ed columnist in April 2017 and NBC News as a senior contributor in June 2017.

Stephens was born on November 21, 1973, in New York City. His father, Charles J Stephens, was the vice president of General Products, a chemical company in Mexico.

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Bret earned an undergraduate degree in political philosophy from the University of Chicago. Later, he pursued a master’s degree in comparative politics at the London School of Economics.

Stephens joined The Times after a long career with The Wall Street Journal as a foreign-affairs columnist and as the deputy editorial page editor.

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From 2002 to 2004, he was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post. Stephens won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2013.

Stephens is married to Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, a New York Times music critic. The couple has three children and lives in New York City. He was previously married to Pamela Paul, the former editor of The New York Times Book Review.