Does Universal Mask Wearing Decrease or Increase the Spread of COVID-19?

Preface. The use and requirements of masks have become incredibly political and partisan. Unfortunately, far too much of science, knowledge, journalism, and even epistemology are becoming political.

The following is presented as is, for information only. — charles rotter

Guest post by Leo Goldstein.

Abstract

A survey of peer-reviewed studies shows that universal mask wearing (as opposed to wearing masks in specific settings) does not decrease the transmission of respiratory viruses from people wearing masks to people who are not wearing masks.

Further, indirect evidence and common sense suggest that universal mask wearing is likely to increase the spread of COVID-19.

This paper agrees that wearing masks in specific settings (such as healthcare facilities) achieves protective effects, although the masks should not be home-made, must be worn correctly, replaced frequently, and not overestimated.

Theory

Introduction

Recently, the CDC has recommended universal mask wearing (UMW) in public settings. Some state governments have even issued orders mandating near-universal mask wearing. The recommendations apply to cloth mask, including disposable masks from non-woven materials, not surgical masks.

The UMW recommendation is expressed in (Brooks et al., “Universal Masking to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission—The Time Is Now,” 2020) co-authored by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, and on the CDC website (CDC, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” 2020). The CDC website states:

“CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household… Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.

Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control.”

Notice the expression “may help prevent.” This kind of expression is used in the marketing of echinacea and similar products, and it is effectively a non-statement alongside “may not help” or “may harm.” Unfortunately, “may help” is widely used as an affirmative recommendation for universal mask wearing.

When Masks are Useful

In many situations, wearing a face mask is certainly an effective source control measure. Mask wearing for infection source control is firmly established in some medical procedures. For example, surgeons wear surgical masks during procedures to protect patients’ open body cavities from infection via germs from the surgeon’s mouth and nose. Surgeons have to change their masks at least hourly and between patients[LG1]  (Kelsch, Changing Masks, 2010). Other professional examples include hairstylists, massage therapists, and nail technicians working with clients. Such uses are collectively referred to here as “Situation A.”

The next level of mask wearing includes patients waiting in clinics or undergoing certain procedures as well as people visiting nursing homes et cetera. The common feature of these situations is that people wear masks for short periods of time, with a clear purpose and sometimes under medical personnel’s supervision. This might be called “Situation A— “.

Some people might voluntarily wear masks in public settings to protect themselves and others. Such uses are referred to here as “Situation B.” On such uses, professional opinions differ. Some institutions (including the CDC and the US Surgeon General) say the benefits of Situation B mask wearing are uncertain and that harm may result from these uses because members of the general public might be unable to properly wear and handle masks.

Notice the differences between Situations A and B. When professionals (like surgeons) wear masks during a professional activity (like surgery), they:

  • Are trained and used to wearing masks.
  • Handle masks properly (including masks’ replacement, disposal, and disinfection).
  • Wear masks for a specific task and a short amount of time.
  • Use masks to protect against the forward spread of the germs. Surgical and cloth masks do not protect against germs spreading in other directions.

Members of the public, however, are likely not trained in proper mask wearing and handling—despite good intentions. A mask’s usefulness and potential dangers depend highly on the wearer’s actions.

When people are forced or even subtly encouraged to wear masks for long periods, they wear masks differently. Some people position their mask to cover only their mouth but not their nostrils, though nostrils have higher viral concentration, see Leung et al. below. Some people frequently remove and replace their masks. When removing their masks, some people fold or roll masks so that the interior and exterior sides come into contact. Some people drop their masks into a purse, pocket, or glove box only to use them again at their next stop. After a few cycles, the masks’ interior and exterior become interchangeable. Even if a wearer has no infection, their mask can pick up coronavirus and other germs from the air and from dust particles. These masks can then spread the virus because every time the wearer exhales, the coronavirus and any other germs that have accumulated in the mask spread into the air. This kind of masking wearing is referred to here as “Situation C.”

When people are told to wear masks in specific situations to protect vulnerable individuals—for example, in pharmacies, nursing homes, and medical buildings—most people are careful to follow rules and recommendations. However, when people are ordered to wear masks everywhere and all the time, proper mask use and handling become significantly less probable. It is possible to enforce mask wearing, but it is impossible to enforce proper mask handling.

Mask Effects

The coronavirus spreads via droplets and aerosols that are exhaled by contagious persons with or without symptoms. Technically, it is also transmitted by fomites, but fomites originate in exhaled droplets and aerosols. In the best-case scenario, a cloth mask catches large droplets and some of the forward-moving aerosol. Neither surgical nor cloth mask restrains aerosols from escaping at the sides, top, and bottom of the mask.

Masks redirect aerosol flow to all sides. Though we take protective measures, none of these measures protect against viral-loaded aerosols—especially when they can settle downward from above. For example, we know not to sneeze or cough in other people’s direction. And recently, we have also become accustomed to keeping six feet of distance away from others in a frontal arc. Moreover, clerks, cashiers, and other service providers are usually protected by plexiglass barriers. But because these measures fail to protect against viral-loaded aerosols, even ideally worn and cared-for masks might cause more harm than benefits.

Additional Downsides of Wearing a Mask during the COVID-19 Outbreak

All masks make breathing more difficult, requiring more effort to inhale and exhale and potentially causing more viral load to be expelled into the air. Moreover, when a non-contagious person wears a cloth mask, his or her mask accumulates the coronavirus and other germs from the environment. If a contagious person wears a cloth mask, the mask also accumulates some viral load with each breath, and soon, it might discharge more viral load with each exhalation than the contagious person would otherwise exhale—and in more directions.

Masks cause heavier, deeper, and more forceful breathing as well as straining—all of the attributes believed to have caused exceptionally bad outcomes in the case of a church choir in Seattle (Read, “A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead,” 2020). Deeper breathing allows the coronavirus to go deeper into the lungs, causing infection to take hold faster. The article explains:

“Jamie Lloyd-Smith, a UCLA infectious disease researcher, said it’s possible that the forceful breathing action of singing dispersed viral particles in the church room that were widely inhaled.”

As of now, hundreds of thousands of people are breathing similarly forcefully through masks in public spaces, and other people are inhaling what mask wearers expel. Read’s article contains another illustrative passage:

“Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer at Virginia Tech and an expert on airborne transmission of viruses, said some people happen to be especially good at exhaling fine material, producing 1,000 times more than others.”

This finding had been described in an unrelated study (Edwards et al., Inhaling to mitigate exhaled bioaerosols, 2004).

The Math of Viruses and Cases

The idea that cloth masks can significantly decrease transmission of the coronavirus faces a mathematical challenge. Viral load, or titer, is usually expressed as log10 of the number of viruses per unit of volume, and it is the best unit for estimating a virus’s ability to infect people. On the log10 scale, an emission decrease like 40% hardly registers. The same is true of a 60% increase. Unfortunately, masks can cause much higher emissions. A virus-contaminated mask worn by a healthy person, shedding viruses during breathing, would increase the viral load in a room from 0 to a non-zero level that may be sufficient to infect another person.

Literature Review

Unsurprisingly, academic literature shows an absence of benefits for universal mask wearing as source control and does not address the possible harms.

(Xiao et al., Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare SettingsPersonal Protective and Environmental Measures,May 2020) is the only systematic revie[LG2] w focusing on whether face masks decrease the transmission of viral respiratory disease in a nonhealthcare setting. With a focus on source control, the authors find that masks cannot decrease transmission in this context—or, at least, cannot have a significant effect—and that masks might even increase transmission. There is no reason to believe the results for COVID-19 differ from the results for influenza.

(Martin,” Response to Greenhalgh et al.,”2020) deserves to be quoted here:

“First, the evidence for the effectiveness of face masks in reducing viral transmission is very weak. Few studies examine the use of face masks in community settings; those that do find no evidence of reduced transmission compared with no face masks. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: both recent systematic reviews cautiously suggest that in some circumstances, wearing of face masks may be warranted. They also note, however, the absence of systematic study of harms.”

 (MacIntyre et al., “A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers,” 2015) is not directly relevant here because they investigate mask wearing for wearers’ protection. Nevertheless, they find that for healthcare workers, wearing cloth masks is worse than not wearing any masks. Wearing surgical masks was beneficial in the study.

References on the CDC website and in Brooks et al.

This subsection covers all the references in the CDC recommendations and Brooks et al. (the CDC team). Many sources address asymptomatic and aerosol transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, which are not in doubt anymore, so they are left out here. The rest of the sources include some anecdotal cases, examples of lab-tested masks or mask fabrics, and studies showing masks’ effectiveness in hospital settings, followed by attempts to extrapolate these results for universal mask wearing. Many studies, or their interpretations, combine multiple fallacies.

Healthcare workers and patients wearing masks in hospital undoubtedly decreases virus transmission. However, this effect cannot be generalized to make a case for universal mask wearing. But (Wang et al., “Association Between Universal Masking in a Health Care System and SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Among Health Care Workers,” 2020) miss an elephant in the room. The drop in new infections started before their implementation of masks, probably because healthcare workers started taking hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis See(Goldstein, “JAMA Rejected my Comment on Masks and HCQ,”2020). The effectiveness of COVID-19 prevention among healthcare workers via hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis is also shown in (Chatterjee et al., “Healthcare workers & SARS-CoV-2 infection in India,” 2020). It is unfortunate that Brooks et al. (the CDC team including CDC Director Dr. Redfield) selected this irrelevant and erroneous study as a cornerstone for their article.

(Schwartz et al., “Lack of COVID-19 transmission on an international flight,” 2020)

provides anecdotal evidence. Worse still, its evidence is probably incorrect. It describes a COVID-19 patient wearing a mask on a January 22 flight. After the flight, six passengers became sick[LG3]  with COVID-19 symptoms. They tested negatively, probably because of high ratio of false positives in the tests at that time.

(Hendrix, “Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri,” May 2020)

provides similarly anecdotal evidence on the absence of coronavirus transmission from the two stylists described in the study, at least one of whom was capable of transmission, to their clients. The stylists wore masks, so this case constitutes Situation A. The stylists’ clients wore masks, too.

(National Academies of Sciences, “Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 1, 2020),” 2020)

confirms that the coronavirus can spread via aerosols [LG4] generated by a person’s exhalation. They also state, “These findings suggest that surgical face masks [not cloth masks —LG] could reduce the transmission of human coronavirus and influenza infections if worn by infected individuals capable of transmitting the infection.” Even this limited suggestion, pertaining only to surgical masks, is based solely on Leung et al., discussed below.

(Leung et al., “Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks,” 2020)

examines the exhalation of patients with any of three types of virus (flu, coronavirus, and rhinovirus) collected over 30-minute intervals with no forced cough. The researches attempted to collect some, but not all, sideways flow. This semi-realistic testing demonstrated a lower effectiveness for even surgical masks. Detection of the virus was:

  • In droplets, masks versus no masks: 11% versus 21%.
  • In aerosols, masks versus no masks: 26% versus 46%.

The surprising aspect of Leung et al.’s study is surgical masks’ apparent low effectiveness in blocking virus-laden droplets. Droplets are supposed to hit masks, even as aerosols escape along the mask’s four sides, and remain inside the mask. Surgical masks retain over 99% of the exhaled droplets that hit them. Only 17 persons were infected by coronaviruses, none of which were the COVID-19 pathogen. Leung et al. also finds: “On average, viral shedding was higher in nasal swabs than in throat swabs”

(Johnson et al., “A Quantitative Assessment of the Efficacy of Surgical and N95 Masks to Filter Influenza Virus in Patients with Acute Influenza Infection,” 2009)

confirms that surgical masks significantly reduced the forward flow of the virus when flu patients coughed into a testing device. The authors stressed that participants wore masks for only for three to five minutes and that side flow was not collected.

(Konda et al., “Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks,”2020)

found that surgical mask material [LG5] intercepts about 99% of droplets and large (>300 nm) aerosol particles. But in tests were holes were made that had an area of only 1%, the effectiveness dropped by 60%! Cotton and other common materials have lower filtration effectiveness, although cotton quilt and high-TPI cotton are quite effective, and using multiple layers further increases effectiveness to nearly 99%. But the gaps in masks are much larger than 10%, so only large droplets expelled forward are captured. The CDC does not claim otherwise. Also, that finding suggests that an individual who needs to wear a mask should neither try to use a homemade mask nor use a surgical mask for COVID-19.

(Ma et al., “Potential utilities of mask-wearing and instant hand hygiene for fighting SARS-CoV-2,” 2020)

has an inaccurate title. The study tests mask fabrics’ filtering ability, not actual masks worn by real persons.

(Aydin et al., “Performance of Fabrics for Home-Made Masks Against the Spread of Respiratory Infections Through Droplets,”2020)

is another study of fabrics. They also explain why a mask may stop large droplets but allow small droplets and aerosols to escape: “when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks into a mask, the droplets that would hit the inside of the mask are relatively large, and have high momentum.”

(Davies et al., “Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks,2013)

is a study of an unusual type of mask:tightly fit (like a respirator) homemade masks. As expected, these masks decreased the number of exhaled germs, but nobody recommends or uses tightly fit masks for COVID-19.

(Anfinrud et al., “Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering,” 2020)

visualizes droplets motion, consistently with the belief that large forward moving droplets are intercepted by a mask.

(Hatzius, “Goldman Sachs | Insights – Face Masks and GDP,”2020)

is not a scientific paper, one passage merits attention here:

By our estimates, the increase in distancing our Effective Lockdown Index (ELI)—a combination of official restrictions and actual social data—subtracted 17% from US GDP between January and April, and other countries with even more aggressive restrictions saw even larger economic effects.”

(Greenhalgh, “Face coverings for the public,” 2020)

 study’s declared methodis narrative rebuttal. Accordingly, it reports no scientific findings.

(Fisher, “Factors Associated with Cloth Face Covering Use Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States,” April and May 2020)

, published on the CDC website on July 14, reports statistics on how many people wore masks. These statistics are irrelevant to the question of whether masks were useful or harmful.

References

  1. Anfinrud, Philip; Stadnytskyi, Valentyn; Bax, Christina E.; Bax, Adriaan: Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering, in: New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, vol. 382, no. 21, pp. 2061–2063, available at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/abs/10.1056/NEJMc2007800, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  2. Aydin, Onur; Emon, Md Abul Bashar; Cheng, Shyuan; Hong, Liu; Chamorro, Leonardo P.; Saif, M. Taher A.: Performance of Fabrics for Home-Made Masks Against the Spread of Respiratory Infections Through Droplets: A Quantitative Mechanistic Study, in: medRxiv, 2020.04.19.20071779, available at: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.19.20071779v2, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  3. Brooks, John T.; Butler, Jay C.; Redfield, Robert R.: Universal Masking to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission—The Time Is Now, in: JAMA, 2020, available at: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.13107, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  4. CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), in: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  5. Chatterjee, Pranab; Anand, Tanu; Singh, Kh Jitenkumar; Rasaily, Reeta; Singh, Ravinder; Das, Santasabuj; Singh, Harpreet; Praharaj, Ira; Gangakhedkar, Raman R.; Bhargava, Balram; Panda, Samiran: Healthcare workers & SARS-CoV-2 infection in India: A case-control investigation in the time of COVID-19, in: Indian Journal of Medical Research, 2020, vol. 151, no. 5, p. 459, available at: http://www.ijmr.org.in/article.asp?issn=0971-5916;year=2020;volume=151;issue=5;spage=459;epage=467;aulast=Chatterjee;type=0, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  6. Davies, Anna; Thompson, Katy-Anne; Giri, Karthika; Kafatos, George; Walker, Jimmy; Bennett, Allan: Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?, in: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 2013, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 413–418, available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/testing-the-efficacy-of-homemade-masks-would-they-protect-in-an-influenza-pandemic/0921A05A69A9419C862FA2F35F819D55#, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  7. Edwards, David A.; Man, Jonathan C.; Brand, Peter; Katstra, Jeffrey P.; Sommerer, K.; Stone, Howard A.; Nardell, Edward; Scheuch: Inhaling to mitigate exhaled bioaerosols, in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,2004,  vol. 101, no. 50, p. 17383, available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/101/50/17383.abstract.
  8. Fisher, Kiva A.: Factors Associated with Cloth Face Covering Use Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, April and May 2020, in: MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 69, available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6928e3.htm, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  9. Goldstein, Leo: JAMA Rejected my Comment on Masks and HCQ, available at: https://defyccc.com/jama-declined-comment-masks-hcq/, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  10. Greenhalgh, Trisha: Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest, in: Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 2020, available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jep.13415, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  11. Hatzius, Jan: Goldman Sachs | Insights – Face Masks and GDP, in: Goldman Sachs, 2020, available at: https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/pages/face-masks-and-gdp.html, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  12. Hendrix, M. Joshua: Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri, May 2020, in: MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 69, available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6928e2.htm, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  13. Johnson, D.F.; Druce, J.D.; Birch, C.; Grayson, M.L.: A Quantitative Assessment of the Efficacy of Surgical and N95 Masks to Filter Influenza Virus in Patients with Acute Influenza Infection, in: Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2009, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 275–277, available at: https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/49/2/275/405108, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  14. Kelsch, Noel: Changing masks, in: Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) Magazine, 2010, available at: https://www.rdhmag.com/infection-control/personal-protective-equipment/article/16407656/changing-masks, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  15. Konda, Abhiteja; Prakash, Abhinav; Moss, Gregory A.; Schmoldt, Michael; Grant, Gregory D.; Guha, Supratik: Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks, in: ACS nano, 2020, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 6339–6347, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252#
  16. Leung, Nancy H.L.; Chu, Daniel K.W.; Shiu, Eunice Y.C.; Chan, Kwok-Hung; McDevitt, James J.; Hau, Benien J.P.; Yen, Hui-Ling; Li, Yuguo; Ip, Dennis K.M.; Peiris, J.S. Malik; Seto, Wing-Hong; Leung, Gabriel M.; Milton, Donald K.; Cowling, Benjamin J.: Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks, in: Nature Medicine, 2020, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 676–680, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2
  17. Ma, Qing-Xia; Shan, Hu; Zhang, Hong-Liang; Li, Gui-Mei; Yang, Rui-Mei; Chen, Ji-Ming: Potential utilities of mask-wearing and instant hand hygiene for fighting SARS-CoV-2, in: Journal of Medical Virology, 2020 available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/jmv.25805, accessed: 07/23/2020.
  18. MacIntyre, C. Raina; Seale, Holly; Dung, Tham Chi; Hien, Nguyen Tran; Nga, Phan Thi; Chughtai, Abrar Ahmad; Rahman, Bayzidur; Dwyer, Dominic E.; Wang, Quanyi: A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers, in: BMJ Open, 2015, vol. 5, no. 4, p. e006577, available at: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577.abstract.
  19. Martin, Graham: Response to Greenhalgh et al.: Face masks, the precautionary principle, and evidence-informed policy, 2020, available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1435/rr-43, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  20. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 1, 2020), Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, available at: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25769/rapid-expert-consultation-on-the-possibility-of-bioaerosol-spread-of-sars-cov-2-for-the-covid-19-pandemic-april-1-2020.
  21. Richard Read: A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead, in: Los Angeles Times, 2020, available at: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-29/coronavirus-choir-outbreak, accessed: 07/22/2020.
  22. Schwartz, Kevin L.; Murti, Michelle; Finkelstein, Michael; Leis, Jerome A.; Fitzgerald-Husek, Alanna; Bourns, Laura; Meghani, Hamidah; Saunders, Andrea; Allen, Vanessa; Yaffe, Barbara: Lack of COVID-19 transmission on an international flight, in: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2020, vol. 192, no. 15, p. E410, available at: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/15/E410.abstract.
  23. Wang, Xiaowen; Ferro, Enrico G.; Zhou, Guohai; Hashimoto, Dean; Bhatt, Deepak L.: Association Between Universal Masking in a Health Care System and SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Among Health Care Workers, in: JAMA, 2020, available at: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.12897, accessed: 07/25/2020.
  24. Xiao, Jingyi; Shiu, Eunice Y.C.; Gao, Huizhi; Wong, Jessica Y.; Fong, Min W.; Ryu, Sukhyun; Cowling, Benjamin J.: Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures – Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020 – Emerging Infectious Diseases journal – CDC, available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article, accessed: 07/22/2020.

426 thoughts on “Does Universal Mask Wearing Decrease or Increase the Spread of COVID-19?

  1. A cloth mask is a virus amplifier? From the article:

    “If a contagious person wears a cloth mask, the mask also accumulates some viral load with each breath, and soon, it might discharge more viral load with each exhalation than the contagious person would otherwise exhale—and in more directions.”

    So somehow, you end up with more virus per breath than without the mask.
    This is like saying that a hose pipe delivers 5 gal/minute, but fit it with a mask and it will deliver 7 gal/min.

    Now if they had said something like “upon a cough or sneeze” rather than “with each exhalation” I just *might* have believed it.

    Just this causes me to classify the entire thing as garbage.

    • The thesis is that breathing becomes deeper and more frequent and would increase shedding, i.e. increases flow using your analogy. You could be right or they could be right.

      • Good point.
        Also the deeper breathing accumulates larger aerosols on the outside of the mask as well as expelling them more frequently even around the edges.

      • “You could be right or they could be right.”

        Yeah, that’s the problem. There is no definitive finding either way.

        • Yep.
          I’m a 77 year old Registered Professional Engineer. This does not qualify me to speak about epidemiological issues but it certainly positions me for valid opinions on Problem Solving methodology PSm). The Government’s (published) PSm stinks.
          I do have strong positive opinions on HCQ/Zpak/Zinc, and increasing makeup air for HVAC systems spreading virus aerosols. Just opinions, not facts.
          Where ARE the facts? A great deal of effort and money has gone into contact tracing, but I find no organized databases. Any college junior should be able to ferret out cause and effect using regression analysis.
          What % of infections were (likely) direct contact?
          How many think they got infected by coughs or sneezes?
          Were you in a damp, cold restaurant with recycled air blowing in your face?
          Outdoors?
          Confined in a home with A/C?
          Confined in a home w/o A/C?
          Do you regularly leave windows open?
          Do you like (and participate) in camping, boating, hiking?
          More questions than this would likely exhaust the average contact tracer…but so what? This is war! Doesn’t the Government get it?
          Please post references to this data if you have it…)

      • The thesis is that breathing becomes deeper and more frequent and would increase shedding,

        No, that was NOT the “thesis” [hypothesis] proposed. The argument was accumulation would lead to more viral load, so Scissor’s criticism of that is value.

        Another aspect which does not seem to appear in the article is that the obstruction of normal breathing caused by the mask leads to heavier breathing, oxygen depletion and likely more mouth breathing.

        Oxygen stress lowers immunity. Mouth breathing bypasses the protection provided by normal air passage of nasal breathing.

        Mouth breathing also leads to voting Democrat ( but that’s a side issue ).

        • “Mouth breathing also leads to voting Democrat ( but that’s a side issue ).” – ROTFLMAO

          You win the groaner award for the funniest comment today (so far).

        • I have thought about this as well. People with sinus problems and small nostrils tend to mouth breathe and would do so even more in a mask. A good reason not to use one.

    • Philip – yes it seems odd, doesn’t it?

      I look at it this way.
      – without a mask, I exhale a certain amount of water vapour
      – if I put on a mask and go into a sauna, soon my mask will be saturated with water
      – if I then go into a normal room (still wearing my mask) and exhale, then as well as the water vapour in my breath the exhalation will blow some of the water vapour from the (sodden) mask into the room.

      Obviously, this cannot go on indefinitely. At some point the mask will no longer be sodden, and will contain no more water vapour than the room’s ambient air. At that time, the phenomenon of dispersing more water than is actually exhaled will stop, but for some time I will be blowing out more water than I actually exhale.

    • Does this happen in legions disease with a household water hose on some occasions? You may be right, I may be wrong.

    • It still does reduce viral output and should be washed regularly, which is not discussed much.

      I remain a skeptic but have worn a mask in confined areas since mid-March; seems logical to me. I of course wash it regularly.

        • Is that US$? I bet a years supply of N95 rated masks in Australia would be well up on that so much so most people would not be able to afford them, even if they were available to buy. I mean, a few months ago we could not buy paper towels to wipe our asses let alone cover our faces.

          I don’t often say this in comments, but you are a moron!

          • Paper towels will clog a toilet, and are way to rough anyway.
            And paper towels as a mask?
            And you are calling other people names?

          • “Nicholas McGinley July 25, 2020 at 11:15 pm”

            Paper towels to wipe our asses = toilet paper, D’oh! What else are they made of? What are N95 rates masks made of? Paper! D’oh!

          • I see frustration here? If it’s the general situation in Australia I think it’s wrong to blame it on Steven? Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff said in November, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. It provides the opportunity to do things that were not possible to do before.”

          • “I mean, a few months ago we could not buy paper towels to wipe our asses let alone cover our faces.”

            I knew being down under generated some odd behavior, but do you really wipe your a$$ with paper towels, then cover your face with it? I suppose you get used to the smell, eventually.

          • I am gonna let Pat slide on this one.
            Hell, who wouldn’t be sore iffen they had a permanently chafed bunghole after running out of paper towels back in March?

            Having to use newspaper would make anyone grumpy as all get out.
            Might as well use steel wool pads.
            I wonder who else was not paying attention during potty training and missed the part about using bathroom TISSUE and not paper TOWELS?

            And I am pretty sure if the entire country had been under the mistaken impression that masks were made of paper, someone had to have figured out by now that masks and other PPE is never made from paper at all.

            Here in civilization we use polyester spunlace for survival masks, gowns, show covers, etc. Same material baby wipes and “Premoistened Adult Wipes” are made of.
            These days anyhow.
            N-95 masks are made from nonwoven polypropylene made from a melt blowing process.

            Even the early predecessors of the N95 and surgical masks were never made of paper.
            In 1910 a guy in China invented a cloth mask, used during the Manchurian Plague outbreak that year.
            By the time of the Spanish flu, masks developed for WW I and made with fiberglass filters were available.
            In the 1960s, synthetic fiber versions replaced cloth masks in medical settings in all developed countries.
            In the 1990s, a guy named Peter Tsai invented the N95 mask, originally for I industrial use, although by 1995 he had developed anti virus technology, and patented a version used to protect against resistant tuberculosis bacillus.
            There are many grades of masks, both the N95 type and what are commonly called surgical mask type.
            The surgical masks are actually made in grades designated surgical, isolation, dental, or medical procedure masks. In China they are designated either medical or surgical.

            As for not having enough…little Taiwan is s nation of 24 million people.
            They currently make some 13 million N95 masks EVERY SINGLE DAY!
            I do not have the number being made in the US, but I know there are no longer any shortages.
            Way back in March 3M had already doubled production.
            And many huge manufacturers were quick to step in with humongous production increases and whole new factories.o
            There is over 100 years of data and proof that masks work.
            Anyone denying it is delusional.

          • Dang autocorrect!
            “Here in civilization we use polyester spunlace for survival masks, gowns, show covers…”
            Tablets are the worst.
            Should be “Here in civilization we use polyester spunlace for surgical masks, gowns, shoe covers…”

          • “Paper towels will clog a toilet, and are way to rough anyway.
            And paper towels as a mask?
            And you are calling other people names?”

            When this all started (in the US) there was a run on toilet paper. Shelves were bare, people were hoarding so alternatives were looked for and there sat paper towels. People are going to wipe with something, well most people anyway. Soon paper towels disappeared off the shelves too along with all types of paper masks.

          • N95 masks (effective at 0.3 micron) are not generally cellulose, but rather, melt-blown polyester sandwiched between non-woven fabric.
            VERY technical!

        • If everybody bought a years supply of N95 masks, I wonder what would happen to the supply (and price)? Hospitals and health professions that NEED them would not be able to get them and prices would skyrocket. And since the vast majority of people don’t know how to fit and use them properly, it would be a tremendous waste of a limited resource. Another stupid Mosher posting.

        • N95’s are “wearer protective”.

          N95’s only filter incoming air. A valve allows exhaled air to escape unfiltered and with little resistance. Exhaled are through the small valve orifices have far higher velocities than normal exhalations. Exhaled air is “shot out” across the room.

          N95’s are not great at trapping all the cough or sneeze droplets. A cough or sneeze “air volume” is expelled from the valve at many times the velocity of a normal cough or sneeze through the small valve orifice.

          N95’s increase breathing air resistance considerably, requiring 300 – 600 kCal of extra energy expenditure in an 8 hour day depending on physical activity. (Weight loss masks!)…which requires thousands more breaths per day…with deeper breathing which produces higher viral loads in more numerous exhalations.

          So…Don’t use N95’s in social settings…unless you are the only one in the room that’s not infected!

          Nothing’s simple about masks.

          Basically, multilayer cloth masks are decent cough and sneeze catchers. That’s helpful, but don’t wear them longer than a couple hours…get a new one after 2 hours, and wash them all daily (unless worn only once a week) with mild soap and rinse really well with HOT water to minimize skin and lung reactions to detergent residues.

          • This comment is beyond belief!
            The truth is very close to the exact opposite of every word of this comment from “docsider”.

            Nearly every word… uninformed BS, spoken with an air of authority.
            N95 masks come in several grades, some of which have an optional valve.
            It is simply false to assert they have valves and not mention that only some kinds have can an OPTIONAL valve.
            Knowing this, it is hard to.imagine that everything else you said is not likewise just some crap you made up in your own head.
            Not a word of it comes from any knowledgeable source, or any manufacturer, or any regulatory body.
            Not.
            One.
            Word.
            It does not even make sense to assert that the the valves offer little resistance to exhaled air, but also somehow accelerated it in a jet that will shoot across a room.

            Surgical N95 respirators are specifically designed and engineered to protect the patient and the health care workers from the transfer of microorganisms, bodily fluids, and particulates.

            They are made to be used one time, but there are emergency use authorizations and established procedures for decontaminating and reusing them when needed.

            The ones with valves are banned in many states, countries, and in health care settings, unless there is a no other choice, and in which case they are worn with a surgical mask over the valve.
            The ones with valves are never used in hospitals without a surgical mask over the vakve.
            The ones with a valve are industrial use devices, not made for medical applications at all.

            And perhaps ever worse, is the suggestion that surgical masks can be washed and reused!
            These should never be reused.
            By anyone.
            It is illegal to do so in any medical application.
            These are not intended to protect the wearer, and are not designed to form a seal around the edges of the mask.
            The emergency use authorizations granted for respirators are not applicable to masks.

            Ignore what is said about not using them.
            It is fslse.
            Instead look at the labelling that comes with the unit.
            Respirators with a valve are not intended to, and cannot, protect anyone but the wearer.
            By definition.
            It is unlikely anyone will be coming across this type anyway, unless they are old, for the duration of this “emergency”.
            Manufacturers are focusing production on the ones that are medically useful.
            They are now adding coatings made and labelled for killing certain microorganisms on some of them.
            Do not ever wash any medical LOW with soap and water if it is in contact with your mouth and nose or close to the eyes.
            Soap is a very poor choice for decontamination.
            Zero competent authorities or manufacturers recommend soap for reusing face masks or respirators.
            The guidelines were to never touch the front off the mask.
            If you do you must wash hands immediately.
            Throw away any mask that gets dirty, torn, or damaged.
            Treat a mask as hazardous waste of you know you were in direct contact with an infected person.
            If you reuse a facemask, touch it only by the straps, carefully and deliberately, then fold it with the outside doubled into itself and place it in a plastic bag.
            If it is set or moist bacteria will likely multiply on it.
            But in general those should only be reused if there is no better choice.
            Amazon has many choices for survival style masks, but the ones that are FDA approved are not available for sale to the public.
            Typical price is a box of 50 for around $30.
            KN95 type are readily available as well.
            But not the ones equivalent to surgical grade N95 masks.
            KN means it is made in China to Chinese standards.I
            They may or not be medical grade. Problems were found when some Chinese masks were tested. They did not confirm with standards.

            If you want to clean a cloth facemask, do nothing wash mothballs and water. That is just dumb.
            Put it in the washing machine.
            If it is a surgical mask type, read the label.
            Ignore people who have no idea what they are talking abkut, like consider here.
            This is no time to be making crap up about safety equipment or PPE.
            I have posted links to the professional working groups on reuse and decon of face coverings.

      • The mask has to be part of an overall and comprehensive strategy to avoid getting infected and the avoid infected people from spreading it to others.

        As for the masks themselves, a good quality N95 mask can be disinfected very easily by any number of methods.
        Virions die when they are in the environment, quickly in some conditions, more slowly in other conditions.
        Placing a mask in a sealed clear plastic container in the dashboard of a vehicle sitting in the Sun with the windows closed will do the job very effectively.
        Strong UV will do it even faster.
        Another way would be to saturate the mask in isopropyl alcohol. It evaporates quickly and will leave the mask sterile.

        We can also develop better masks, such as one with a layer impregnated with iodine or some such antimicrobial substance.

        In the meantime, far fewer people are dying as doctors get better at treating patients, and many of the vaccines are showing much reason to be optimistic.
        And in any case, the vast majority of deaths are of people who are at an advanced age and/or not in good health.
        And even most of those people live through the infection.

        IMO, mostly what we need are a large increase in the supplies of common sense and rationality.
        If masks intercept virions, less of what is in the air will wind up in the body of a mask wearer, and less of the virus in an infected mask wearer will end up in the air.

        Anyone who can manage to ignore those to things can convince themselves of anything.

        • “Nicholas McGinley July 25, 2020 at 9:32 pm

          Strong UV will do it even faster.”

          Strong UV? What is that? UV-A, ineffective at killing viruses. UV-B, slightly effective. UV-C very effective at killing viruses. What is “strong” UV?

        • Exactly, masks will not completely stop everything but they will reduce what is called viral load. It is well accepted that the severity of an infection is related to viral load. Hence, masks are almost certainly able to reduce severity of infection.

          I use the analogy of seat belts. Seat belts do not stop accidents nor do they guarantee a person will not die. What they do is reduce severity of injuries.

          The bottom line is masks will save lives and help reduce the number of hospitalizations. I have no idea why people continue to fight against them.

          • Should speed limits be reduced to 10mph? That would save lives.

            Should smoking marijuana and cigarettes be banned? That would save lives.

            I could go on and on and so could you. It’s your life, protect it how you see fit. If you are afraid of catching something, then avoid it for 100% effectiveness.

          • But wouldn’t the asymptomatic carrier actually be increasing his own viral load by wearing a mask? If the mask is stopping some of the virus from getting into the environment, and does not deactivate the virus that it has captured, then each time the wearer inhales, he is breathing in some of that virus back in. Possibly quite a bit because masks also cause people to breathe much more deeply.

            So after a day of wearing a mask vs. not wearing a mask he has increased his viral load quite a bit, and brought it deeper into his respiratory system. If greater viral load = increased severity of disease and worse health outcomes, as you say, then mask wearing may slow population-wide transmission but also perversely make those infected much, much sicker.

            I don’t know this to be true but it seems worth figuring out before we start forcing people to wear masks everywhere, even outside, as many politicians are now doing.

          • Derg wrote: “If you are afraid of catching something, then avoid it”.

            @Derg, are you stupid, illiterate, or just obstinate? This is not about you, it’s about the people around you. When I drive down the freeway at the speed limit, or a few miles above, and some character comes flying past at 20 or 30 mph above the speed limit, that’s a hazard to him (I suspect it’s always a “him”, not a “her”), but it’s also a hazard to me in case he clips me or has his accident right in front of me. Likewise, someone in the store I go to once every couple weeks who is not wearing a mask is a problem for me (assuming masks do protect others).

            (BTW, it may appear I’m replying to Richard M, but that’s because there was no “Reply” link on Derg’s post. I guess that’s to prevent the posting hierarchy from getting too deep.)

          • Justin,
            “But wouldn’t the asymptomatic carrier actually be increasing his own viral load by wearing a mask? ”
            Do you really think exhaling is a significant process by which our body reduces the amount of an infectious organism a person is infected with?
            Really?

          • Lower viral load Means that if you are infected , the body has a better chance if fighting off the infection before you get sick.

            It is also why asymptotic people are less likely to spread covid (or any other flu) since the viral load they are infecting people with is lower

          • But the speed limit should be lowered to 10 MPH to save lives! If you disagree you just want people to die.

            See how this works yet? No, didn’t think so.

        • > “If masks intercept virions …”

          The active viral particles for C-19 range between 15 – 20 nm.

          In all this yelly-screamy about masks, I have seen no one actually quote the “mesh” size N95 masks allow air to flow in and out through. A guaranteed photo of a cross-section of the mask material with a scale would be the best …

          • N95 masks (effective at 0.3 micron) are not generally cellulose, but rather, melt-blown polyester sandwiched between non-woven fabric.
            VERY technical!
            also
            “ianl July 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm
            > “If masks intercept virions …”
            The active viral particles for C-19 range between 15 – 20 nm.”

            Actually, I and many others think that the virus is often spread via Brownian-motion sized aerosols, and a n95 mask will do just fine!

          • No type of surgical mask or respirator has ever used any sort of paper or any other form of cellulose as a filter medium.
            Not generally.
            Specifically.
            They are not ever made of paper.
            Stuff like that reveals ignorance, as does referring to SARS Co-V-2 as a flu.

        • “Placing a mask in a sealed clear plastic container in the dashboard of a vehicle sitting in the Sun with the windows closed will do the job very effectively.” How, not from UV killing the virus because windshields block 98-99% of UVA, B, and C.

      • Try living a normal,life! Masks are a waste of time and just plain wrong.

        I am so sorry for all who have become frightened little mice!

        • Thank you! You’ve hit the nail on the head! This virus isn’t going anywhere…just look at the influenza virus that scientists try so desperately every year to eradicate only to have it mutate, thereby necessitating yet ANOTHER “vaccine “! We all just need to get on with our lives! There should never have been a shutdown of life as we know it because of this virus! If you’re a person with underlying comorbities, then THEY NEED TO TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION NECESSARY FOR THEM! There is a 99% survival rate among the rest of us!! People need to wake up and think for themselves!!!

          • There is more too it than that.
            For every death, there are some people who get viral pneumonia, and many of these people will have lung scarring that may reduce their quality and quantity of life to come.
            And there may well be a vaccine.
            Vaccine have not been a big priority for biotech and pharma companies, due to many factors.
            But this disease has changed that calculus tremendously.
            And we are in an age of rapidly advancing knowledge of such matters as virology and immunology, as well as entirely new ways to make vaccines, and to make antibodies directly.
            Besides, this is a new virus, and no one knows how likely it is a vaccine will be found for any particular virus, in advance of the effort to try to make one.
            Some are readily found, some are found but only after some great effort or serendipitous finding, and some have resisted all efforts to find a vaccine…so far.
            But many vaccines are in the pipeline of clinical trials, and trying to guess which ones will work is just that…a guess.
            The data so far looks promising, so there is reason to be hopeful, for one thing because there are not one or a few but a bunch of separate efforts along different lines of reasoning and research.
            So it is reasonable to be guardedly optimistic.
            And in the meantime, doctors are learning more and more about how to keep people alive long enough to overcome the infection, even as some unexpected complications seem to be occurring in some subsets of patients.
            When major efforts to cure a disease have been made in the past, medical science has leaped ahead in huge strides, and there is every reason to expect that this time will be no different, and given the amount of attention and effort, perhaps unprecedented in the advances that might be forthcoming.
            There are already some drugs that have helped a great deal with large [percentages of patients at every stage of the illness, and these are not even made for purpose drugs, but old ones, ones that were sitting on the shelf waiting for something to try them on, ones that have had success with related complications pertaining to immune system overreactions, etc.
            Including at least one direct acting anti-viral.
            And all this in a tiny fraction of the amount of time that is typical for new illnesses and new drug usages and new vaccines.
            Nothing like this has happened before.
            The cutting edge of new drug and new treatment development is far beyond what was even imagined just a decade ago.

          • Well said, Lynn.

            Finally someone with good old common sense.

            A mask provides about the same protection against a virus as underwear provides against a fart.

          • Lynn…correct and your view as well as candid explanation are sane, rational and to the point; TRUTH! People still fail to see they’ve been had by the most nefarious people on the planet to get us all in a hoopla and allow them more advantage than they already have to prod us all like sheep into whatever configuration they require in order to gain complete control over the human race, and people like Fauci or Bill Gates are damned evil liars possessed by filthy lucre and evil spirits. On March 14th I spoke my mind as to what I knew and could easily surmise was going on, especially after nearly 4 freaking years of watching the Dem party headed by the totally evil and insane Pelosi with her point man lying scummy Schiff fabricating weaponized lies to destroy a presidency, a soft coup d’ etat; which all helped me to understand this was a global fiasco like no other in history especially with the atheist evil CCP headed by the diabolical Xi Jinping. You hit the nail on the head; the sooner people stop worrying about catching colds and flu and just move on with living their lives sensibly the better they and the world will be. Here is what I had to say back in March and again more recently by following these links. And I hope the weakest links among us the one’s I see driving down the interstate highways with masks on somehow wake up and get a dose of reality! Take the damn masks off and I refuse to wear them anywhere I go. There are also legal protections in our favor to resist this madness so people need to get truthful information on that and tell the retail stores they have no right to tell us to have a mask on; period!
            https://lawrencemorra.com/2020/03/14/we-are-on-the-precipice-without-any-doubt-in-my-mind/
            https://lawrencemorra.com/2020/07/19/no-impact-on-the-epidemic-curve/
            https://lawrencemorra.com/2020/06/04/evil-is-at-work-overtime/
            https://lawrencemorra.com/2020/07/08/no-one-has-died-from-the-coronavirus-respected-veteran-bulgarian-doctor/
            https://lawrencemorra.com/2020/07/08/basic-human-rights-infringed-upon/

    • The masks act as collectors. The argument depends on proper use, circumstance, and exposure. Also, there is only anecdotal evidence of asymptomatic aerosol transmission. The primary mode for asymptomatic transmission is likely to be contact and subsequent transfer through mucosae.

      • Masks mostly stop infected people from sneeze spattering me or the various keypads I will soon touch. Good idea in crowded public indoors situations. A courtesy to others. For sports that require running, well……

        • Nobody sneezes into a mask, at least not more than once. Yuck! I’ve seen a few mask wearers sneeze recently, and they all pulled up their mask and sneezed into the crook of their arm. They did that because they did not want to make their mask unusable. The whole sneezing and coughing argument is a canard.

          • Totally agree. And coughing and sneezing into one’s elbow (clothed) is probably a lot more effective. When they did the test in the video on Facebook, they used bacteria rather than virus, and put the petri dish in front of the mask. They should have put one to the side as well, because that’s where the over-spray comes out.

    • Think of it as more like a wash rag, once it becomes loaded with dirt it just spreads it around rather than cleaning.

      • It is a simple matter of cross contamination.
        There is no mystery.
        If you own one dishtowel in your kitchen that you wash once a week…yes, you are spreading germs around, not wiping them up.
        If you have a three foot high stack of clean dishtowels on top of your refrigerator that you launder properly, as use a fresh one whenever you want to make sure it is not a germ rag, then you are not simply spreading germs around.
        Sponges…some people put them in the dishwasher.
        I like to buy the large packs of them, and toss them in with a load of white towels getting bleached.
        Plus run and HE washing machine on the sanitize cycle, and dry on high heat.
        I only use sponges to wash the sink, and then spray it with kind of kitchen spray with bleach.
        I have always done this, and have never gotten sick from food I prepared…ever.

        Example: You take meat out of the freezer and put it on a plate in the fridge to thaw.
        When you take it off the plate to cook it, you place that plate in the dishwasher immediately…never reuse it, ever.
        The you wash your hands well, and if it was chicken or something known to have a high chance of bacterial contamination, like ground beef, wash them twice, and dry hands with a clean cloth, then put that cloth in the hamper.

        There are a limited number of places where germs are likely to exist that might make a person violently ill, and food is one of them.
        Never reuse any utensil or dish, or even a glass or a cup, without sanitizing in the dishwasher.

        • paranoid much?? As a teacher of young children I come into contact with any bug going around.. I take a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral one a day supplement.. rarely become so ill to need time off but often have a sniffle… I think my immune system is quite robust. If I were taking your kind of precautions I think I would be ill every other week..(hmm that logic doesn’t quite work)
          I think what I meant to say is should I become ill I would be VERY ill.. that’s better.

        • Food poisoning is quite different from a sniffle.
          Do you wash hands after handling meat?
          Do you use a dish with raw meat juice on it for cooked food?
          You think hygiene is paranoia?
          Good for you Pig Pen.
          I do not get sick.
          Hardly ever at all.
          You get sick all the time.
          Tell me again who has a better immune system?
          I have spent decades at jobs that would make Mike Rowe vomit and run away.
          I rarely have been ill.
          Never srriously, except for a blood borne infection acquired via a blood transfusion.

    • Philip, using your analogy, it is more like saying that an hose pipe delivering 5/gals /minute pours some of its water into a bucket. If you cough and knock over the bucket, the flow into the environment momentarily goes up way above what it would’ve been without the bucket.

    • Your entire “argument” is painfully illogical, suggesting that you are simply a “Believer” in mask-wearing. You chose what you think is a flaw (it isn’t) in the argument, allowing you (you think) to throw out the entire thesis.

    • During the bouts of The Plague that swept through Medieval Europe, people took to wearing masks to avoid getting the Plague. They still got it, and the Plagues just kept coming.

      The current crop of masks, cloth or paper or whatever, aren’t very helpful when the Sneezin’ Season for Seasonal Allergies arrives, as it has for me. If those disposables do the job at all (better than nothing) , they stop pollen from driving me nuts as well as put a short-term barrier of some kind between me and the other person 6 feet away from me.

      Maybe the real issue is that we need a vaccine (under development) and meanwhile, this bug will just do whatever it wants to. The planet is overcrowded anyway, isn’t it? Isn’t that what the ecohippies are saying?

      • Pollen is around the size of virus particles; 50-200nm for pollen, 120nM for COVID-19.
        A well fitted (fit-tested) N95 should minimise transmission of pollen.
        I’m a doctor in a hospital. Only one of the 4 N95 masks available to me provided an adequate seal. Testing was done using particle generators and sampling from inside the mask vs outside.
        The main purpose for wearing masks is not to stop the virus being breathed in when it floats around all by itself. It’s to catch the massive number of droplets containing thousands of virus particles when people talk, shout, cough or sneeze.

    • “it MIGHT (my emphasis) discharge more viral load.” the article is interesting but it and the references are shot through with “might,” “could,” “may” and other qualifiers. this is not data, it constitutes speculation.

    • Your analogy of a hose pipe is not appropriate. The virus multiplies rapidly in the warm, wet environment of the mask, so you get out more than you put in.

      • The essential aspect of all viruses (virii) is they cannot reproduce, ‘multiply’, outside of a host cell. To that extent they are not life, and B. Doyle is impeached ignorant.

    • This “mask is dangerous” argument sounds very much like the “outside secondhand smoke is as deadly as smoking cigarettes” hoax. Anything that impedes direct virus transmission and allows nature to diffuse the concentration should be beneficial.

      • Actually, since the mask is designed as a barrier, it will concentrate the virus, not diffuse it. Then when you take it off and touch it, you will contaminate your hands with that concentrated sample and cross contaminate anything else you touch. Contact transmission is a much more likely cause of infection, so mask wearing may actually be making things worse. Or not. But that’s just as plausible as the notion that they reduce transmission. It really depends on your biases what you believe.

        • Actually Paul, there is more and more evidence emerging regarding routes of transmission, and as of recently (past few weeks) there is no confirmation that fomites are a source of transmission for this contagion.
          There is simply no evidence that anyone has ever gotten sick that way from this disease.
          It may be that it does happen, but it would probably take deliberate exposure of a large number of people under varying conditions to even have any evidence one way or the other.
          Now, that is not to say anyone should assume it can not happen, and hand washing remains part of every recommendation on reducing the spread of this and other common diseases.
          And the procedure for donning and doffing a mask is part of what is collectively called “compliance”.
          Lack of compliance refers to just such factors as you mention here.

          Having said that, there were studies as long ago as April (IIRC) showing that the virus does is not found on respirators that have been worn in a medical setting, unless the respirator was exposed to bodily fluids.
          This is one reason why reuse for up to five cycles on donning and doffing are approved in a medical setting.
          With decontamination, it may be only limited by the total number of hours the respirator is worn.
          They become more effective at filtering the longer they are worn, as dust and anything else in the air fills in the spaces between the overlapping fibers.
          They filter more effectively over time when worn, but it gets takes more effort to breathe through them.
          Some work is focused on cleaning the trapped particulates from the respirator.

          When used in industrial settings, an earlier version of fiber respirators were washed after every shift and reused the following day.

          https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e8126f89327941b9453eeef/t/5ea7bbadccc886265eebc288/1588050862097/200427_N95_Schematic_Release_v15.pdf

          https://www.n95decon.org/

          • Nicholas,
            The fact of the matter is, there is very little real data on how this particular virus is transmitted, one way or the other. Whatever you believe is a consequence of your own biases rather than any actual facts.

            As far as masks are concerned, they are being promoted as ways to prevent contaminating surfaces via expelled saliva either from coughing/sneezing or even just talking. Any droplets small enough to stay suspended in the air long enough to be inhaled by others will be small enough to go through most masks or around them since most are not worn properly. And it will be almost impossible to train the general population on proper mask usage, so this will not change. At this time there just is no rational argument for forced mask usage by the general public.

          • I never mentioned forcing usage.
            I am discussing reasons for believing they might be useful.

            As for transmission, did you read what I said?
            I was pointing out that researchers have no hard evidence either way that fomites have made anyone sick.
            But it is known that this virus is airborne.
            It is breathed in and a person gets infected.
            There are many instances where this is known to be the only way a person could have spread it to another person.

            As for masks being impossible for anyone to have a reasonable chance of using them properly, that is nonsense, with all due respect.
            N95 respirators are not difficult to use properly.
            And it is simply not true what you are asserting about mask permeability.

    • Phillips
      You are right.
      Leo Goldstein does not know what he is talking about.
      I hate masks and used them for only 3 hours in the past 4 months – so I have bias against wearing them.

      But I also respect science.

      The science supporting masks is over 50 years old.

      It’s simple
      The spray when you cough sneeze or holler at the police can go very far.

      Any type of mask reduces that distance.

      That could be good news especially if the mask wearer is infected and does not know it.

      With ordinary flu you know you are infected and stay home.

      There is no reason to debate masks.

      Everyone should wear one so I, an old timer, do not have to. Heh heh

      The six foot social distancing RULE, however, is not backed up by any science. Spray could reach six feet from a violent cough. Even WITH a mask on.

      Doctors use better masks for a different reason – if they screw up your operation, you won’t know who to sue. A real doctor told me that at a cocktail party after many martinis.

      • Thank you Richard.
        I would add, NO ONE likes to wear one.
        If that was the issue being debated, there would be none.

    • This is like saying that a hose pipe delivers 5 gal/minute, but fit it with a mask and it will deliver 7 gal/min.

      Really? That’s a horrible analogy and, in no way, captures the point the author was making.

      Air is NOT water. Yes, they are both fluids, but there are different dynamics going on because of the great difference in density between air and water. The pressure on a mask delivered by water at 5 gal/minute, in no way, compares to the pressure on a mask delivered by even a cough of air.

      My fluid dynamics kung fu is not good enough to explain the exact physical differences between what you speak of and what the author speaks of, but using a bad analogy to try countering a good point is not very productive. Water is not air. Masking a water hose is not like masking a breathing face. There are significant differences between fluids of different densities and compositions. All fluids are not equal in how they perform in similar circumstances.

      Don’t let a faulty analogy force you to reject the whole article.

      How do you envision breathed out particles interacting with a mask? They don’t just stop, do they? What happens after particles hit the mask, and breath continues to flow?

      Let’s say we have a some small spit particles hitting the mask after you sing a rousing tune. You’re wearing a woven fiber, cloth mask that has pores between the intertwining threads. The pores might stop a whole spit particle from going through right away — its viscosity allows it to hang in the pore, say, but you continue to breathe, and this puts further pressure across that drop. What is that breath pressure doing to that drop now? — slowly driving it on through, evaporating some of it, and driving the rest through? And where does it end up? — mushed around to the other side of the mask maybe? — with its nucleus now on a thread on the outside of the mask? … And then what? [I don’t know]

      And that’s the point, we don’t know, as fare as I can tell. What sort of fluid dynamic complexities are really going on at the level of small spit drops and aerosols? They are light and fluid, NOT heavy and fluid, like hose water.

    • Your ability to think might just be garbage.

      If someone is actively shedding a virus and wearing a cotton mask, about 95% of the viral load is stopped from coughs and 25% is stopped from normal breath. The mask eventually becomes saturated to a point where that viral load from coughing (large droplets) is instead incorporated into the breath as small aerosol droplets which are more likely to bypass a bodies first line of defense (mucus) and is directly inhaled into the LRT and a non infected person becomes infected.

      The literature on the spread of respiratory viruses clearly shows that fomite and large droplets cause a small percent of infections, it is the small aerosol droplets which are inhaled directly into the LRT which lead to most infections and the most severe cases.

    • “This is like saying that a hose pipe delivers 5 gal/minute, but fit it with a mask and it will deliver 7 gal/min.”
      Your analogy fails in that water coming out of the hose is only going one way. The flow mechanics are different for breathing and viral aerosols.

    • i’m a Canadian. Our Covid death toll yesterday was 4. I wear a mask in enclosed public places as required. Our population is about the same as that of California. What was their death toll yesterday? How is it going with the general acceptance of mask wearing there?

    • Not a good analogy. More “virus per breath” is just a higher concentration of virus in the hose pipe that delivers 5 gal/min. Not more flow.

    • “Other professional examples include hairstylists, massage therapists, and nail technicians working with clients.”

      First, masks on people in these activiies are ONLY effective if one of the two people are sick. Otherwise, masks are useless. The assumption that the hairstylist is sick is not useful. If the person is not feeling well, sure they should wear a mask. But to assume he or she is sick all the time is simply unhealthy for the stylist. Wow.

      And, yes, this is all about training the public to be complacent and flexible and do whatever the government orders you to do—its all about control and power. However, when the government orders us to do something that is counter to our health, it should be resisted strongly. Telling people to be Sheeple is the goal of socialism—then, they can do whatever they want to us, regardless of it being against our good interests.

      • The assumption that the hairstylist is sick is not useful. If the person is not feeling well, sure they should wear a mask.

        “An important finding of this report is that more than half the residents of this skilled nursing facility (27 of 48) who had positive tests were asymptomatic at testing. Moreover, live coronavirus clearly sheds at high concentrations from the nasal cavity even before symptom development. Although the investigators were not able to retrospectively elucidate specific person-to-person transmission events and although symptom ascertainment may be unreliable in a group in which more than half the residents had cognitive impairment, these results indicate that asymptomatic persons are playing a major role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejme2009758

        But to assume he or she is sick all the time is simply unhealthy for the stylist.

        ????

    • I’m very happy with vaccines. During my life I got very, very sick with every influenza strain. I can still remember just how bad I had the 1968 Asian flu – I was 26. The last time I had the flu (3 weeks in bed) was 1997. Since then I have had an annual flu jab, and no influenza at all! Given that a couple of relatives died of influenza, the vaccinations may well have kept me alive. You will understand why I am a bit nervous of Covid19, and hope a vaccine is developed. By the way I’m an individual, not a mass.

      • I take every vaccine I can get my hands on.
        Never had a bad reaction or gotten any disease for which I have been vaccinated, after getting the vaccination.

        In fact, I am the Mr. T of vaccinations.
        And these days I am pitying a lot of fools.

    • I love it when the antivaxxers self identify.

      Simplifies the task, that of deciding who is worth trying to reason with, tremendously.

  2. Really? People are still insisting that wearing masks does not reduce the spread of Covid-19?

    It should be obvious to anyone by now that wearing suitable masks does reduce Covid-19 infection spread given even a small amount of common sense in wearing it. It certainly is obvious at my Wife’s hospital wear all staff wear masks before entering the building until leaving, only taking them off to eat (but with social distancing in place).

    The purpose of the mask is not to stop the virus from entering your nose or mouth, it is to prevent the dispersal of mucus droplets that contain the virus. Face shields may very well work better then a simple N95 mask as the eyes are believed to be an entry point for infection – at least that is what the hospital staff seem to think.

    If the mucus dries up on the mask, the chance of infection go way down. If the mask is helping to prevent people from touching their nose or mouth, the chance of infection go way down. People need to be washing their hands and sanitizing masks using some common sense. If just some people use common sense, the rate of infection goes down.

    I hate wearing a mask. They are uncomfortable and hot. But just because I don’t like them isn’t going to bias my opinion on if they work. They are not anywhere near 100% effective no matter how careful and trained you are, but given a population they will reduce the infection rate. Anything that slows down the infection rate is good (except perhaps locking up everyone in the homes and allowing the economy to crash – that is not good)

    Next people will start saying that the lock down did not slow down the infection rate (again). It did – I am not a fan of it or recommending it because of the financial harm it does, but it DOES slow down the infection rate. It’s a simple fact – people that do not believe it can’t read a chart (nor do they understand delayed response).

    • Ok, but how about this situation:

      Mask wearer leaves a covid hotspot and keeps his mask on. Enters a place that is not a hotspot. He now collected the virus on his mask and is fidling with it potentially spreading it. Better would be only to put a mask on when you really can’t keep distance. It is NOT a replacement for keeping distance.

      In Europe there are countries with high mask wearing and low mask wearing. There is absolutely no difference in number of cases between the countries. Most increase in cases over here is due to more testing.

      Best case scenario everone is trained in wearing a mask and disposes it after one usage. Sorry, but that will not happen. I keep extra distance to mask wearers, because they are probally distance replacers. Replacing distance with wearing a mask.

      • Do you have any evidence to cite for your assertion re countries in Europe?

        Why look only at one geographic region?
        Japan and South Korea have a high rate of mask use, and have since the outset.
        Both places have notably small rates of infection and death.

        • You need to look at hospitalization numbers. The Netherlands, only mask in public transport, has been flat for a while now( around 100 and 15 of them ICU) the cases are up and the media is in full panic mode. In stead of pointing out that it is just people getting tested, they point out that other countries have stricter mask rules. Totally ignoring the fact they are in the exact same stage as the virus. I used Europe, because I am from there and know about my surrounding countries. Let it sink in for you: 100 people out of 17million are in the hospital due to covid. Everybody needs to calm down and go for reason over popular trend.

          Who would be a healthier person? Person A) going uitdoors breathing fresh air or person B) travelling in public transport with a mask, go to the office with a mask and then later on visit the supermarket with a mask. All with that same mask of course, because you know people right. Same rules on a well ventilated house applies to you being able to breath well.

          So yeah if you have no other choice and can’t distance, put that mask on and try to breath slow. Then after you get rid of it. Sadly no one does that over here so yes I do hold my breath and look away when a masker walks by.

          Our Dutch CDC leader even stated that masks on public transport was a political rule not a science based rule. Very bold thing to say to be honest, but had enough credit build up and replacing people left and right is more of an American thing.

        • Nicholas, just check worldometer for say, Croatia and Belgium. Belgium has heavy mask rules, from the beginning they had a real lock down, Croatia, where I live nobody wears a mask Properly, even when they are told to do so (I live there). Belgium has in excess of 800 deaths per million, where Croatia only has 31 deaths per million.
          Wearing a mask gives a gut feeling that they should, work. However the hard numbers in real life do not support this. Even Sweden, that had no lock down, hardly any social distancing, no masks, is still way below the amount of deaths per million than Italy, Belgium, Spain and many other countries, where the lock down was severe.

          • Enrico, Actually Sweden is not ‘way below’ Italy. As of 26 July, here are the top five countries, in deaths per million, from Worldometer.

            Belgium 847
            UK 674
            Spain 608
            Italy 581
            Sweden 564

            Clearly Belgium is an extreme outlier, but Italy and Sweden are very close to each other. Leaving aside the tiny countries of Andorra and San Marino which have few deaths but a high rate per million, there is only one other moderate size country with more than 500 per million: Peru at 546. There are only four countries with more than 400 deaths per million: USA, Brazil, Chile and France. The deaths per million for the three countries most similar to Sweden in climate and culture are: Denmark 106, Finland 59 and Norway 47.

            However you look at it, Sweden is in the top 12 countries (out of 213 listed) in terms of deaths per million.

          • 14% of Sweden’s population has developed antibodies, which suggests previous exposure to the virus. This is an absolute minimum as we don’t know how long the antibodies last in humans. If it is similar to other corona viruses then the antibodies might be shorter lived.

            This means a MINIMUM of 1,432,200 Swedes have had COVID-19. 4,939 have died. This is a MAXIMUM case fatality rate of 0.35% which is the equivalent of a bad influenza season.

            Those numbers will both have increased since that report. For example the deaths are about 500-600 higher. I haven’t found current positive antibody results so if you do please post.

            Thanks

          • There could literally be a thousand different reasons why Croatia has different infection rates. This is nonsense.

        • Jeroen makes more sense than Nicholas McGinley in that you have more similar eating habits, culture and infrastructure between European countries, than you have between Europe and Japan-South Korea.

          • Korea kimchi with every meal which is high in many vitamins and minerals in particular selenium which inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. So the equivalence is not valid.

            In Europe and the USA you can get the same selenium benefits from eating one or two Brazil nuts a day.

          • Korea
            Vitamin D shot 200000 IU, every 3 months
            Kimchi every day
            Brazil nut, every day.
            hand washing, 20 seconds, back and front with soap,
            mask wearing

            Avoid touching your NOSE, eyes, mouth

            it is not that hard, so I just wear one (N94) when I leave the house, and If I know I will
            be in a confined space I opted for the N95.

            small inconvenience to maintain my freedom

        • As to places in Asia that wear masks they also do other things we don’t do here like take people’s temperature at public places (sick people know this so they stay home like they should).

          Japan never shut down so what is their “herd immunity” at?

          They also count the positive/negative, hospitalisations and deaths differently than the USA so comparisons are not valid.
          1) Does Japan count people who die WITH covid-19 as a death FROM it like the USA does?
          2) Does Japan count active infections with recovered infections (anti-body) like the USA does?
          3) Does Japan count multiple positive tests from an individual as separate cases like the USA does?

          Since April Mexico has had mandatory mask wearing and has a higher compliance than Japan yet their cases are going up dramatically. The Nordic countries in Europe don’t have mandatory masks and are doing the best so maybe we should look at what they are doing?

          Sorry but you are comparing “apples to frisbees”. Both fly when thrown but that’s it.

        • Jeroen,
          No, it is not a simple matter of looking at hospitalization rates.
          That information is meaningless in this context without detailed and ACCURATE knowledge of mask use over the total period of the pandemic.
          No such detailed knowledge exists.
          But there are a few countries notable for high rates of mask use and compliance.
          One of them is the first country to have the virus, that somehow got it under control.
          I left out that example since it is impossible to say much with certainty re China.
          But other countries in that part of the world have no such issue with opacity.
          Which is why I named the two I did, plus the one you mentioned.

      • Chzechia, early mask adoption.
        1420 cases/million and 34 deaths/million.
        Compare them to Netherlands and Sweden.
        Chzechia relaxed their stance and now have a second wave.
        When the Head of the South Korean SARS, MERS & COVID-19 medical pandemic team says Masks, Gloves & Glasses are essential for COVID-19 I believe him.
        All the countries with previous Epidemics knew how to deal with COVID-19.

        • So is everyone in the country to wear “Masks, Gloves & Glasses” in all public settings all the time or was that a recommendation for health care workers? For those at risk? What exactly is the context of that comment?

          thanks

    • Flu cases in Australia are way down, presumably due to widespread mask usage and social distancing. So, facts.

      I’ve got a mask with a small pocket for a HEPA filter. I’m guessing this works better than cloth.

      I’m not going near anyone without a mask because, well, because I’m not a total moron.

      • See now, here in just three sentences, I can identify Adam as a rational person who has common sense.

      • What a Supercilious Git. If you were anything but a total moron, you would realise that this virus is not going away, face it, they don’t and sooner or later we are all going to get it. There will be no effective vaccine, never has been for colds and ‘flus. This is all just to “flatten the curve” – remember?

        Good luck with your prophylactic mask. Don’t let me see you without it, ever, ever, ever, for the rest of your life. Write that down and memorise it. Oh, and wear it in bed every night.

      • I have worked as Copilot on intercontinental. Going to Thailand and India they wanted us to eat malaria pills. When asked by the company doctor if I did take these pills I just said no because of the side effects. Then he said that I then probably would be less careless and take precautions so it was okay.

      • Mask use really isn’t common in Australia, and has only very recently been recommended, not required, in Victoria where the infection rate is climbing. I live in a regional area with only 3 positive cases, three months ago. No-one here has been or is masking up (except presumably in hospitals). But the flu rate has fallen as much as anywhere else. This is presumably because we are staying at home more and washing our hands more often, but most likely particularly because of a much higher vaccination rate than in past years. In April, all the chemists had vaccination clinics and medical practices were running production line clinics, booking up to twenty people an hour. Here, masks can be totally ruled out as a factor in reducing flu.

    • The whole thing is full of holes. I’m of the opinion that there is some evidence of benefit from wearing masks but it’s not very compelling. There are plenty of places where spread increased after mask orders were put into place. If evidence were so compelling, it would not have taken 6 months for WHO and CDC to reverse their positions on this.

      Unfortunately, politics or worse is dictating decisions.

      There is no way for typical masks to filter out aerosols, which is supposedly the chief route of transmission. N95 masks typically have an outlet vent that doesn’t do any filtering whatsoever on exhalation, and homemade cloth masks don’t do a good job in sealing in any case.

    • The lockdown maybe did slow down the rate of infection, but didn`t halt it. It`s a question of integrating under the graph – that integral has to be achieved to stop the virus spreading – AKA herd immunity. The lockdown was to save panicked political arses

    • Thank you Robert. Common sense–we talk about politicizing science and then put articles here that attempt to rubber stamp a politicized position about masks. Geeze.

      As far as I can tell, “Notice the expression “may help prevent” (from CDC) and “even ideally worn and cared-for masks might cause more harm than benefits” (from this opinion piece)

      “may” and “might” fall into the same category, so this “theory” to debunk the efficacy of wearing masks uses the same argument basis as the CDC. If you want to spark a conversation good–but this is an opinion and little else.

      Repeat after me “viral load, viral load”. Mask don’t stop Covid, it slows the spread, reduces the spread and lessons the disease once someone gets it.

      Stop trying to “prove” that masks don’t work–they do! We have real science, not theories about mosquitoes passing through a chain link. What one can say is, “Masks don’t stop the spread but they slow it and they make the infection easier for a body to fight– It helps the infected person from giving me a huge viral load if they wear a mask and it helps that smaller viral load become even smaller if I wear a mask when infected by them–this is significant.

      “Viral load,” repeat after me, “viral load.”

      https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent

      • Well said Shelly!

        I am not going to be joining in any chants, about viral load or anything else…but I will agree with everything you said.

      • Article: “Why did the CDC change its guidance on wearing masks?

        “The original CDC guidance partly was based on what was thought to be low disease prevalence earlier in the pandemic, said Chin-Hong.”

        That’s a lie. We were originally told there would be 2.2 million deaths from this thing in the US. It was like ebola and the black plague combined. “Unprecedented!” was the cry. “Low disease prevalence?” Good God, some of us are old enough to remember all the way back to early 2020!

        On to another ‘expert’ quoted in the article:
        “Rutherford was more blunt. The legitimate concern that the limited supply of surgical masks and N95 respirators should be saved for health care workers should not have prevented more nuanced messaging about the benefits of masking. “We should have told people to wear cloth masks right off the bat,” he said.”

        So here is an admission of a lie. We have two known liars whose views are presented with a straight face as the basis for “science.” Is it any wonder that the general population – and particularly we older folk who have taken a few trips around the Sun – aren’t certain of anything except that someone is lying to us?

    • “Really? People are still insisting that wearing masks does not reduce the spread of Covid-19?”

      yep it is one of the shortcomings in “evidence based” medicine as opposed to science based medicine.

      • Patient: Dr my ulcer is not getting better.
        Dr Mosh: shut up! The science says antacids will cure your ulcer. Be patient patient.
        Patient: well shouldn’t scientists look at this again?
        Dr Mosh: do you want me to show you the peer reviewed journals simpleton?
        Patient: you are so wise. I have no idea why anyone wouldn’t trust you.

    • here’s a compromise from someone who hates to wear masks… If masks work to prevent the spread, then require a mask for everyone but open everything up… all bars, restaurants, amusement parks, schools, sports, etc without any occupancy restrictions or social distancing. if this is not satisfactory for those who are pro-mask, then u dont really believe they work like u say they do. why are most mask “studies” since march2020 pro-mask but most before 2020 indicated masks were nearly useless for the general public in stopping the spread? it’s so politicized now that trying to get some unbiased truth is next to impossible – from whether masks work to actual covid deaths (death count includes people who died from covid as well as people who died from something else but had covid as well as people who presented covid symptoms but were never confirmed as having covid). the whole thing is a mess.

      • As goracle mentioned I’d say the mask issues were extensively investigated for almost 20 years now & the published literature revealed they were not doing what people assumed their barrier position inferred. Which, I surmise, is why WHO & CDC initially took the position with the general public of stating masks were not indicated.

        My recollection of a pre-WuhanFlu Cochrane meta-analysis is that the only case where non-medical personnel demonstrated a benefit from wearing a “surgical” style mask was when that person was attending to another individual in a home situation. And, if memory correct, reduced the risk of contamination from the attendant to their charge by 3 or 6%. Pardon lack of citation – I just don’t keep computer files on anything.

        • Masks work when compliance is high.
          They do not work when compliance is poor or absent.

          One thing that almost surely renders them useless is believing they are useless.

          • Is that home-made, reusable and washable masks? If so, as the Australia Victorian premier advocates, you are talking shyte!

          • simply believing they’re useless now makes them useless? could it instead be controlled studies that showed they were ineffective at preventing the spread? has mask alarmist reached par with climate alarmist?

          • I’m on a tangent here, but it makes for one of those little logic riddles. If I am the only one not wearing a mask in a room with 99 other people who are masked, who is at risk? 😉

          • Nicholas – 2 thoughts:

            1; The virus doesn’t give a darn what you believe, but,

            2. The person who believes masks work will likely take more care to use and take care of the mask properly.

          • The point may be a subtle one, but I thought anyone could figure it out upon reflection.
            I was wrong, apparently.
            If a person thinks a mask is useless, how likely is it that this person will make sure to use it properly and follow all the proper procedures recommended?

            There were a low of people that did not believe seatbelts helped protect people during an automobile wreck.
            So hardly anyone used them, even though eventually all cars had shoulder belts that were known to be highly effective at reducing injuries and saving lives.
            Those who did wear them were not especially likely to be sure to always use one.
            Some people did not use them on short trips…even though most accidents occur when a driver is close to their home.

            But when they were mandated, and tickets started to be handed out, everyone started to use them, and cars became far safer.
            Similar evolution with child seats.
            People would neglect to strap them on to the seat, or not buckle the kid into the seat all the time, or put them on the front seat where the airbag could kill the child, and where it is less safe to begin with.
            Numerous studies show the problems seen with lack of efficacy of mask and respirator use is a matter of poor compliance.
            My guess is that everyone who does not understand this might as well not bother with one.

    • Robert of Texas,
      Incredible, isn’t it?

      Reading through comments here (and everywhere else for that matter), it is obvious that some people have retained their rationality and common sense, while others…iffen they ever had any, they have abandoned it.

    • 1) The fact that anyone wears a mask is not an evidence of their effectiveness :

      I would even say (no pun intended) that the “Monkey sees, monkey does” attitude is not a sensible behavior and may be even dangerous unless what “Monkey does” is fortunately based on actual evidences.

      But where are the evidences ? Where are the randomized controlled trials which proove face masks’ effectiveness ?
      This brings us to the second point.

      2) Back from “common sense” to actual science, which indeed, may be counterintuitive :

      2019 WHO’s survey with respect to, among other infectious desease mitigation options, face masks (p. 25, 26 & 100) :

      https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329439/WHO-WHE-IHM-GIP-2019.1-eng.pdf?ua=1

      p. 100 (conclusion) :

      “Ten RCTs were included in meta-analysis,
      and there was no evidence that face masks
      are effective in reducing transmission of
      laboratory-confirmed influenza. ”

      RCT: Randomized Controlled Trial

      • Thanks for the link.

        Once again, we see the ravenous controllers are pushing their agenda to force people to act according to their personal dictates.. Odd that the same people don’t attempt to force people to wear a helmet while driving a car, after all, head injury is the most prominent cause of death in car accidents. NTSB I chose not to wear a mask, it is nothing more than a personal petri dish. Maybe some energy could be better spent on the benefits of zinc and scorbutic acid and B vitamins and ….

    • The key word in your response is “droplets”
      200 scientists forced WHO to admit aerosol spread.
      Physical studies in 2005 and 2009 show surgical type masks create aerosol jets all around the edges of the mask. Said aerosaols travel 30 ft (not 6 like a droplet) and maybe more due to air conditioning.
      Combining the studies results with the aerosol admission by WHO and you have a situation that masks could very well be spreading the virus.
      Whats going on in the southern states sure has to make one wonder.

  3. “Mask wearing for infection source control is firmly established in some medical procedures”

    Established by … customs?

    • Yes, it was established by editorial decree. Apparently, two hair stylists were wearing masks and they didn’t infect any of their clients (about 140). Embarrassing really. How many billions do taxpayers fund for this?

      As it turns out, one hair stylist was infected by the other. Apparently, the masks didn’t prevent that infection from occurring. Perhaps it’s the time of exposure (viral load) that is the most important factor.

      https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0714-americans-to-wear-masks.html

      • There really isn’t clinical evidence of their (a diverse assortment) effectiveness in the general population. In the best case it offers a placebo effect. In the worst case it creates a false confidence and acts as a collector.

        • Many people wear masks under the nose.

          I saw it myself.

          And it was in a medical center, in Paris. Nearly all secretaries had their masks on the mouth only.

  4. Masks weren’t mandated in Michigan until last week, before the Governor’s COVID-19 Report came out, which shows on page 161 that masks weren’t needed in half of Michigan if they work at all.

    At least two in Michigan have been killed recently in mask arguments – bad policy kills.

    The same CDC who tells Governors to make us wear masks knew this summer was going to be hot:

    https://i.postimg.cc/0jBqJBWL/CDC-2020-Projected-of-Future-Ext-Heat-Days.jpg

    https://i.postimg.cc/wjYGbzmw/Governor-s-COVID-Rpt-National.jpg

    Heat stress symptoms are similar to many reported COVID-19 symptoms. How about that!

  5. I wonder if in those countries, mostly Asian, where use of masks has a long tradition, the masks reinforce a cultural tendency to physical distancing? Look, I’m wearing a mask – keep clear. Presumably it becomes automatic.

    In western countries, people aren’t used to wearing masks. As a result, masks are misused, as described, but may also give a false sense of security so distancing can be ignored. I’ve noticed, in Australia, how difficult it is to keep 1.5m away anyway. People here just have a tendency to bunch up or drift closer. You have to work on it to stay apart eg in supermarkets. Masks seem to let people relax about this.

    So to balance this story, it would be interesting to understand how behavioural details of mask use differ between countries and cultures. The articles cited above seem mainly about the technical attributes of the materials.

    • Physical distancing is not possible in Asian cities like it is in the West, but it is true that they have a cultural acceptance to mask wearing.

      However, it’s becoming clearer that Asians have benefited from cross-immunity from previous coronavirus infections.

      • Scissor, that would be the point of such a comparison. Given that the population density is greater in Asian cities, and so it’s harder to keep your distance, the question is do masks encourage and increase the distance people keep apart?

        I’d also like to see a comparison of distancing in different venues. I’ve noted that people keep further apart in the local IGA supermarket, but tend to bunch up in Aldi! Differences in the people who shop at these outlets or in the width of aisles? Bars versus coffee shops? Age difference? If you want to influence people’s behaviour, you have to understand how they behave and why. That’s separate from the question of how much immunity there is in Asian populations from past infections.

    • I agree Tom Foley.

      Here in Wales masks are advised in shops but are not compulsory (yet). However, I have noticed that people who do wear masks are far less circumspect about social distancing in the supermarket than those who do not, coming to stand alongside you even if you yourself are not wearing a mask.

  6. Clearly they work or otherwise health care workers would all become infected. I also imagine that masks will reduce your viral exposure if you happen to encounter an infected person. I’m 59, so I buy surgical masks by the box, use hand sanitizer and avoid prolonged contact with any crowd. I don’t know for sure how much it helps but it seems to be a minor inconvenience that I’ve already become used to.

    • Probably, avoiding prolonged contact with crowds is most wise.

      Healthcare workers were 12 times more likely to be infected than the general population, and those not having adequate access to PPE were 23% more likely to be infected. PPE has some benefit but not a lot really. It is frequent exposure, as one would expect, that increases transmission.

      https://www.massgeneral.org/news/coronavirus/study-reveals-risk-of-covid-19-infection-among-health-care-workers

      • Masks are worn to prevent the wearer from spreading germs to a patient.
        Respirators are worn to prevent a wearer from breathing in whatever is in the air.
        Different grades of masks and of N95 respirators exist.
        At the outset, many health care workers were likely not apprised of these distinctions, just like the general public and even supposedly informed people looking at the issues closely.
        The type of respirator with the vent is not meant to prevent a wearer from spreading any germs they might be carrying. The valve allows free flow of exhaled air, and are there to make the mask more comfortable, trapping less heat, and allowing free expiration of breathe.
        Most places have banned the ones with the valves for health care workers and even for medical use at all.
        The masks come in surgical, isolation, dental, and medical procedure grades, all distinct in the amount of protection they provide.
        They are different sizes and are made and worn differently.

        Hospital workers that care for COVID patients have learned they need to wear a surgical or isolation type mask and a N05 respirator that is meant for medical use, not the same as the ones used for industrial work.
        Right from the get go, there are large teams of scientists improving these masks that work for the manufacturers, including working groups formed to study the issue of reuse and decontamination.
        The guy who invented the ones used for preventing spread of virus and bacterial diseases, who got the patent in 1995 to include a layer that is electrostatically charged, came out of retirement and has been working on improvements.
        These are not simple pieces of cloth. They are high tech synthetic fibers composed of numerous layers, and the amount of time they can be worn, etc, has long been recognized as a critical issue, and studied.

        There is a reason that in courts of law, people who have formed opinions on an issue are excluded from juries.
        Such people are known to often be impervious to new information at odds with what they had decided based on limited or one sided information from biased or poorly informed sources.

  7. I wear a mask while out an about because I’m a good citizen. But I doubt that they do anything with respect to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

    • ???? u wear a mask to be a good citizen even though u think they’re not good at preventing the spread? the logic fails me. but I do it too I guess when I vote (to be a good citizen) even though I doubt the candidate will keep promises.

  8. Pretty simple really.
    If masks work,the crisis is over.
    We can all mask up and get back to work.

    Any other choices are illogical.
    So our “experts” say we must wear masks,ergo they must declare the crisis over.

    If not,then decreeing all must go masked,well except government employees and a few other “special” classes of person,is a lie.
    An open declaration of Power over principle.

    A question from a nurse;”When will we flatten the stupidity curve”?

    We can’t cure stupid,however once it willingly self identifies,we are no longer obliged to continue employing it.

    The miserable failure and politicalization of Public Health that this Plandemic has exposed,clears the way for Firing them all.
    For these “helpers” are truly too dangerous to be entrusted with power,for even another hour.

    The most useless group of people in our society have forbidden the productive from working,while preening in their new found power.
    Unfortunately,their ability to foresee the future is demonstrated to be as great as their other skills.
    The great pandemic ,with the help of every accounting trick and false association available,has still failed to top a bad flu year…
    But the exercise in mass control has been very successful.

  9. weirdly here in Korea they actually track down every cluster.

    without exception every clust shares a few characteristics

    1. Indoors
    2. close proximity of people
    3. Prolonged exposure
    4. talking, chanting, or singing.
    5. no masks

    ya’ll keep muddling around till you figure it out

    • yes… it would have been good if we closed down everything and required masks in November of 2019 at the start of flu/pneumonia season in USA. It must be because they spread differently than covid.

    • Korea is very, very different culturally from the USA. There is a very intense personal disciple and responsibility. Recall when the Korean piloted planes kept crashing. Boeing found out that it was due to the co-pilot not wanting to inform the pilot of a grave danger due to the pilot would lose face. Once the co-pilots were trained to remove this cultural imperative they stopped crashing. This example is not instructive as to covid but is illustrative of the huge Here in the USA we have -now- at least a dozen different cultures and sub-cultures. Many of these cultures within the USA never sheltered in place nor did any of the protocols most of us did and they never will. We need to accept this with honesty and adapt on that basis. Good luck with your mask as eventually you will come in contact with someone who came in contact with someone and either your immune system will rise to the challenge or not. Twas ever so.

    • None of that seems weird to me.

      Something else that is not seeming weird to me…the set of anti mask zealots seem to be a close match with the set of people who have all along decided what was true and molded to “evidence” to suit their beliefs.
      The people in a muddle will never figure anything out…that is not how they operate.

      • nick mcginely, replace “anti mask zealots” with “climate alarmists” and your comment still makes sense. The problem is that while mask zealots use science that was published prior to this scamdemic (similar to what you would call a climate denialist) but pro-maskers only want to look at a very small subset of the science has been published since late march2020 (similar to climate alarmists only looking at science done since 1980). Additionally,mask science done since march2020 is highly tainted due to the politization of covid (similar to climate science since 1980 regarding we’re the earth burning up).

        So, it’s my opinion that “anti mask zealots” are using science to back their stand who pro-maskers are the ones muddling. We can both be wrong or one of us is wrong and the other is right. However, we cannot both be right at the same time. Therefor, you”re wrong 😉

    • Planned Parent accounts for 1/4 to 1/3 of all excess deaths. Still a minor effort compared to other “Planned” protocols.

    • weirdly here in Korea they actually track down every cluster.

      without exception every clust shares a few characteristics

      1. Indoors
      2. close proximity of people
      3. Prolonged exposure
      4. talking, chanting, or singing.
      5. no masks

      This is very interesting.

      Do you have a link to these findings?

      /Jan

  10. The article fascinates, but where is the article? I don’t see a link to it.
    Seeking the original, I lifted two word-sequences from the article (one of 9 words, the other 12 words)
    and searched for them via Google. Nothing came up.

    Please post a link to the article you are quoting. Thanks in advance.

  11. I got a mask. Cut a couple of eye holes in it and now I look like the “Lone Ranger” or maybe “Robin Hood”. Some keep their distance and others smile!

  12. In my own reading of the literature, I have gone through most of the references listed at the end of the article multiple times, and my conclusion is the same — the level of evidence required to invade an individual’s intimate personal space with a forced muzzle just is not there. The proof that the threat of COVID-19 is at a level to require such intimate invasive mandating of masks just is NOT there.

    The latest counterargument being put forth to address this objection is that lack of evidence is NOT justification to give up hope that a significant effect still might be there, and that we should use the precautionary principle to wear a mask anyway. Where is the caution in allowing such a principle to destroy entire economies and ruin countless lives? Absurd !

    I always come across weak justifications like “it’s better than nothing”, “it reinforces consciousness of the threat”, “it enlists everyone into the same mindset”, “it is something that we usually would not do with this level of evidence, but we’re desperate, so we must try anything”. In short, the studies that promote universal masking are ultimately based on a superstition that shelves evidence, in favor of hope. It’s sickening to see the verbal gymnastics and statistical mathemagic that some of these … “researchers” … go through to justify this irrational approach.

    Masking has turned into a religion. Governors of the United States have become idiotic servants to this new religion, as they manically dole out executive orders requiring masks statewide. Marketeers are going wild, structuring whole new businesses based on the selling of masks to supply this new religion. People are calling 911 to report mask violators. It’s crazy sh!t going on out there.

    And what are a great number of people doing who wear masks. They are hoisting them below their chin, under their nose, hanging them off an ear, touching them more than they would ever touch their face without them, storing them in unsanitary places, not being careful handling them. In short, there is NO mandate to enforce proper technique in using the masks, and this is probably an even greater argument against their mass use than the science arguments.

    People are not doing it right. People are giving the appearance of doing it right, just to comply. The human behavioral reality is being totally pushed under the table in most discussions, and this is probably the biggest reason of all to say that masks do not work. Masks cannot work. People are not willing to do what even they claim to realize is the right way to do it. It’s all talk. Superficiality. Blind following. ……… Religion based on faith.

    We are talking about the real world, with real people, working real jobs, eight hours a day, five or more days a week. We are not talking about pristine labs with perfectly controlled set ups and focused observations limited to a simple set of mechanical principles, with limited accounting for a limited class of fluid-dynamic phenomena.

    The spike in death is a DONE DEAL. All-cause death rates are back within the norm. There is NO DEATH CRISIS that exceeds any other time. There is an awareness crisis, a detection crisis, a consciousness crises, amplified by an information circulation crisis.

    It’s time for more people to stand up and refuse to go along with the sham any further. We need to open up the windows, stick your head out the window, like in that movie, and scream out, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

    https://youtu.be/ZwMVMbmQBug

    • The latest counterargument being put forth to address this objection is that lack of evidence is NOT justification to give up hope that a significant effect still might be there, and that we should use the precautionary principle to wear a mask anyway.

      I’m with ya . . . got it.

      Where is the caution in allowing such a principle to destroy entire economies and ruin countless lives? Absurd !

      So you would argue that implementing the precautionary principle by wearing a mask destroys “entire economies” and ruins “countless lives”?

    • “I have gone through most of the references listed at the end of the article multiple times,”

      If only some of those commenting here would do the same.

    • Robert,

      I read as many of the underlying research documents that I can get me hands on and I agree with your analysis completely but if I must wear a mask to get into the grocery store or pharmacy I put it on and mutter under my breath “I’m mad as hell and wish I didn’t have to take this anymore”.

  13. If masks really were important, then lawmakers and government employees in DC would not have exempted themselves from their own mandate:
    “Washington, D.C., mandates face masks for the public, but exempts all lawmakers and government employees” – July 23, 2020 by: Ethan Huff
    https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-07-23-washington-dc-mandates-face-masks-exempts-lawmakers-government-employees.html
    “Bowser’s mandate, which was not legally passed as a law, orders everyone over the age of two in D.C. to wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors, or else face fines of up to $1,000. All non-politicians two-years-and-one-day-old and above will be aggressively policed for compliance”

    • Ah yes, the old “Do as I say, not as I do” position taken by politicians and bureaucrats.

      What else is new?

  14. Next week there will be a big review claiming masks *do* help with preventing the spread of the Wuhan virus.

    The “science” has been so politicized it is almost worthless.

    How many doctors and nurses will stop wearing their masks after seeing this survey? I’m betting very few doctors and nurses will stop wearing their masks because of this survey.

    I won’t stop wearing my mask because of this survey.

  15. I look at the data : https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?

    Look at Japan: deaths per million : 8 cases permillon: 228

    Close, alphabetically, Ireland: 357 5235

    I have also seen the video with the Japanese crowding in the metro WEARING MASKS .

    It is all about reducing the virus load , and the mask stops the infected person putting too much out ,and the healthy one from inhaling it if passing through a patch of sneeze. All a matter of probabilities, and it has worked in Japan. ( unless the Japanese gods are protecting them 😉 )

    All this insistence of making a population of billions into the sterilized environment needed for an operating room is useless imo, and harmful if the population obeyed them; we would soon be succumbing to simple bacteria and viruses if our immune system is not kept on its toes with continual attacks to defend.

    Just take the Japanese example of mask use to reduce the bulk probabilities in crowded conditions, again imo.

  16. If masks are effective, why has the infection rate increased markedly in CA, WA, Ill, and TX, after masks were mandated? I have yet to see anyone not touch the mask, not stuff a used mask in a pocket and then reuse it, clean it after each use. The US surgeon general took a used mask out of his dirty pocket and was prepared to use it during a press conference. Is it any wonder that masks don’t work in a public setting?

    Dr Fauci and Redfield should be fired for incompetence. They both insist against all real life data that masks are super effective.

    • So it’s not a question of the effectiveness of the masks in themselves, but of the way people are using them that undermines their effectiveness.

      • It’s a combination of a lot of things. What type of mask? Is it worn correctly? Is it disposed of correctly? Is it changed every hour of wear?

        Masks do limit the distance large droplets go. This can help but so does carrying a napkin and covering your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze. What percentage of the time are you coughing or sneezing? Why wear a mask the rest of the time?

        Droplets are one mode of transmission but so are aerosols (here is a link to a easy to read explanation of the differences): https://first10em.com/aerosols-droplets-and-airborne-spread/

        In normal breathing droplets go less than 1 meter. Talking about 1 meter. Coughing 2 meters. Sneezing 6 meters. Those are all approximations.

  17. So the question is: Had the “mask & 6.1 feet” commandment been rigorously followed from early on, would it have been necessary to flatten society and the economy?
    When governors and mayors convert the last 20 years of their wealth accumulation into hundred dollar bills and burn them in public my anger at this will stop expanding. These people have not suffered from their regulations, as have friends and neighbors. Livelihoods and saving have been destroyed. Sad.

    • The Seattle mayor turned against the democratic assembly at the capitol when they threatened her and her family. She’s not such an ass when her interests are at risk.

    • About that social distancing: Americans may be wondering why some European countries specify observing a 1 meter distance & England has recently given the social distance range as 1.5 meters. Apparently part of how we perceive doing everything better extends to our expulsive force – we need 2 meters between adults to “flatten the curve.”

  18. ???? u wear a mask to be a good citizen even though u think they’re not good at preventing the spread? the logic fails me. but I do it too I guess when I vote (to be a good citizen) even though I doubt the candidate will keep promises.

  19. I heard a doctor say on tv a couple of days ago that the length of treatment for people hospitalized with the Wuhan virus had been cut by one-third or two-thirds (his wording was a little confusing) as compared to back when the virus first appeared.

    Does anyone know anything about this? Perhaps, the treatments now being used on Wuhan patients is making a difference. Length of hospitalization is what needs to be reduced for the Wuhan virus. The longer it is in the body, the more damage the body suffers, so if people are currently casting off the illness weeks sooner than they were before, then that has to be a good sign.

    • I know a whole lot about it.
      The problem for many people here is that they decided what they wanted to believe long before there was sufficient evidence, and have ever since been filtering out anything they do not want to hear.

      Remdesivir.
      IL-6 blockers
      Steroids
      High flow oxygen
      Plasma
      A few other things.
      Plus the standard comprehensive supportive care as needed.
      The people and hospitals caring for patients have been eliminating useless treatments and adopting those shown to be efficacious.
      It is showing in the numbers, for quite some time now.

      There is no mystery.
      You just need to pay attention.

      • i did not see hydrocloroquin treatment on yout list which, when administered early, has shown great promise in treating covid. lets ignore all those dr’s and studies that show this, remove them from youtube, and essestially threaten their careers for speaking out.

        cloth and surgical masks (not n95) may or may not be effective. prior to march2020, studies generally indicated they were not. since march, they are. the politization has made me look at it with a squinted eye (like climate science) and ask many questions. if they work, then require them but no lockdowns and open everything back to normal (bars, restaurants, amusement parks, gyms) with no social distancing or occupanvy requirements – because masks work at preventing the spread accirding to you and the post-march2020 science. you cannot have “mask up everywhere indoors and outdoors” but keep lockdowns, social distancing, and occupancy restictions in place at the same time – because post-march2020 science says so.

        You have teachers union stating they’re not going back to work in september because they’re afraid of getting sick from covid being spread by students? I thought the post-march2020 science said masks work so what are they afraid of? speaking out of both sides of their mouth? Oh, and there’s also their request that they won’t go back to work until illegals get welfare benefits and defunding the police.

        Finding the truth on masks is becoming harder and harder because this is no longer about covid… its morphed into a grab for power and control and special interests. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

        • HCQ may have had a lot of vocal backers at the outset, and it was given to more people than the evidence ever warranted.
          But at this point the issue is beyond doubt…it does not work.
          Not at any stage, or in combination with anything, or at any dose.
          It is one of the most studied medicines in history to have shown no efficacy in large controlled trials.

          Insist otherwise all you want.
          If you cannot abide by overwhelming evidence, that is your issue.

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/25/does-universal-mask-wearing-decrease-or-increase-the-spread-of-covid-19/#comment-3040746

          Do a search engine look see for yourself.
          I have not even been able to take the time to read through or compile the number of clinical trials that have now been published.

          But it seems it should be done, so as to have a long list of the evidence.
          I will include in the list all of the studies, including the follow research on the earliest assertions of efficacy.

          • Nicholas, it appears we have more in common than not… except I wasn’t a trump fan but felt I had no choice between him or Clinton (I posted somewhere here about voting to be good citizen even though chances were low the politician will keep their promise.

            pneumonia/flu/corona all spread very similarly and infected people have very similar symptoms and the % of infected with asymtomatic/symptomatic/hospiralized/dead are in the same ballpark. you want to throw everything we know about the 2nd most common respiratory virus, how they likely transmit, who’s most at risk of dying from them, among other reasons, out the window because it’s new?

            unfortunately, there’s too much misinformation to weed through to get to the grains of truth due to the politization of this virus. I’ll go where the science leads but those waters have been muddied by hacks in power pushing their agenda (just like climate science).

            I’ll repeat, I’ll wear the mask but open the economy back up (no restrictions, no lockdowns, no 50% occupancy limits, and no social distancing – because you’re saying masks work). wither that or co tincure the status quo (lockdowns, restrictions, occupancy limits, social distancing) with no mask because they don’t work on a massive scale like this. The politicians and society in general need to choose one or the other because because maske either are or not effective at preventing the spread.

            But if you’re going to tell me to use masks because it’s not about preventing the spread but to reduce the spread, then why did you hate grandma and your 1 yr old grandson during the height of pneumonia season by not wearing a mask? Or maybe you only care about deaths from virus/bacteria that transmit via droplets from speaking/coughing/sneezing and cause lungs to fill with fluid it’s spelled “covid” ?

          • Making stuff up again.
            I know you cannot help it.
            But go back and find where I told you to do anything at all?

            You will not find me saying any such thing.
            I do not need to look to see if you told me to not wear one.
            I did not see anyone telling anyone not to wear one, just that they were sure they were worthless and maybe even harmful.
            And you might want to see a therapist about these Grandma delusions you imagine other people have going on.
            Or not, I really do not care what the hell you do.
            I do not think we are the same at all.
            I read what people say, and assume they say what they meant.
            I do not try to imagine what they might have meant if I was to make up stories in my head about crap that never happened.

          • ” Do a search engine look see for yourself.
            I have not even been able to take the time to read through or compile the number of clinical trials that have now been published.

            But it seems it should be done, so as to have a long list of the evidence.”

            That definitely would be good, given that I’ve been following this for months and so far I’ve seen several studies showing positive impact, a handful showing no impact, and only two showing negative outcomes, one of which was retracted and the other of which was questionable for several reasons. I must have somehow missed this mass of evidence you’re referring to saying it’s not effective.

    • Where was the doctor located? Treatment protocols vary per country and hospital. We know that mortality is being reduced in hospitals that don’t rush to intubate

    • One hypothesis is virus is mutating to different strains and the less deadly strains are spreading more. The reason for this is that if a strain is deadly it is less likely to spread because the person gets sicker and then stays home or goes to hospital. The less deadly strain spreads because person is not that sick ( or asymptotic ) so goes out and spreads the less deadly strain. The less deadly strain then acts as type of vaccine for more deadly strains. There are already harmless coronaviruses that have been in human population for thousands of years. It is very possible when these viruses first entered human population they were far more deadly but have mutated to be harmless.

      • The history may not be that long for at least some of the common cold human corona viruses.
        “Unlike other betacoronaviruses, bovine coronavirus of the species Betacoronavirus 1 and subgenus Embecovirus is thought to have originated in rodents and not in bats. In the 1790s, equine coronavirus diverged from the bovine coronavirus after a cross-species jump. Later in the 1890s, human coronavirus OC43 diverged from bovine coronavirus after another cross-species spillover event. It is speculated that the flu pandemic of 1890 may have been caused by this spillover event, and not by the influenza virus, because of the related timing, neurological symptoms, and unknown causative agent of the pandemic. Besides causing respiratory infections, human coronavirus OC43 is also suspected of playing a role in neurological diseases. In the 1950s, the human coronavirus OC43 began to diverge into its present genotypes.””
        This is from Wikipedia article, which can be dubious in some instances…but I have read through the extensive references for this line of reasoning, and they are all from solid sources in published literature.
        Like this one:
        “Complete genomic sequence of human coronavirus OC43: molecular clock analysis suggests a relatively recent zoonotic coronavirus transmission event”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC544107/

        Other studies look at the most probable time of the most recent common ancestor of the other human corona viruses.
        It should be noted, that the whole field of comparative genetics is a subject of sharp disagreement between different researchers.
        For example, one study found the most recent common ancestor of all corona viruses to be only around 8000BCE, but others believe they have existed for at least 55 million years.
        That fact that OC43 is known to have diverged since the 1950s into several distinct strains gives weight to the view that some viruses we might have assumed have been around for eons are in fact the result of recent zoonosis.
        There is a whole publication that looks at emerging infectious diseases, (called The Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and every year there are many new ones found, most the result of zoonotic events.
        Many per year.

        • “There is a whole publication that looks at emerging infectious diseases, (called The Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases)”

          That very journal was cited in the article. Any comment on what “Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza…” had to say about mask effectiveness?

  20. “The coronavirus spreads via droplets and aerosols that are exhaled by contagious persons with or without symptoms.”

    You cannot make this blanket statement. Aerosols from the human body without high-pressure medical treatments, not proven, and highly unlikely. Aerosols can stay in the air for protracted periods, but, CDC and WHO both said aerosols are not produced by our bodies, but by high-pressure medical procedures.

    And there is NO evidence that people without symptoms, not coughing, not sneezing, no fever, no sore throat, who are also not singing or shouting, can transmit the virus. WHO’s chief virologist said this, and was forced to walk it back the next day.

    This virus spreads in close quarters with poor ventilation, from sick people to those who should not have been visiting them.

    I am expert in respiratory protection/gas masks, been following this story very carefully. Media is not, and politics are involved, media wants to destroy the economy to defeat Trump, else why is WHO’s Chief of Virology not allowed to ruin the reason for the lockdowns in the first place? She spoke the science that she had carefully analyzed from Korea and Taiwan where they can do contact tracing, and she said, repeated, and expounded upon, the fact that after careful checking asymptomatic people apparently do not spread the virus.

    Wearing a mask that leaks, such as all paper/fabric masks including N-95, does not protect the wearer. For legitimate protection from exposure to an infected person an elastomeric(rubber/vinyl) facepiece that makes an air-tight seal to the face is required, along with a HEPA(High-Efficiency-Particulate-Air) filter, essentially an absolute filter prevents any particles from penetrating. Well, the industry was not ready for this, these masks are produced by the tens of thousands, but not by hundreds of thousands, and we do not ramp up production in a week or two. Plus, they muffle speech, which medical professionals who must be able to communicate with their patients cannot tolerate.

    The N-95 masks leak 5%, hence the name.

    I could go on. You cannot make that blanket statement.

    The masks help prevent the virus from being transmitted forward, this much is true.

    • It is difficult to believe someone who is an “expert” and who has followed this story closely, could think it is not the case that asymptomatic carriers can and do spread this and very many other illnesses.
      The virus spread all across the country and indeed around the world with very few individuals having any idea how they got it.
      Even at the outset, there were well described instances of people who had clearly spread the virus to others despite not being symptomatic.
      And this is not rare among viral illnesses, or among infectious diseases in general.
      It is common.

      • Nicholas, are we going to throw away the science and everything we known about respiratory virus’ and illnesses because covid19 is new? Don’t flu/pneumonia spread in a similar fashion to covid and, although many get infected, most don’t get sick enough to show symptoms worthy of going to hospital (or any symptoms at all)? If so and, like you said, the majority of people didn’t even know they had covid, then what is all the fuss about? Are we trying to prevent covid infections or covid deaths (by this I mean actual covid deaths and not the overstated covid deathcount that includes those who died from covid/ died with covid/died presenting covid-like symtoms but never tested for covid)? If it’s infections, why don’t we lockdown, close the economy, and mask up every winter during the height of flu/pneumonia season (or are those deaths trivial)? if it’s deaths, why are we discussing lockdowns and wearing masks at all if the science says the most vulnerable population lives in nursing homes? Why not put safeguards there? When someone is going through chemotherapy, which degrades their immune system, do we shut down the entire city block where they live and force everyone there to wear masks or tell the patient (and family members around the patient) to take precautions?

        • @goracle, I like your last sentence:

          When someone is going through chemotherapy, which degrades their immune system, do we shut down the entire city block where they live and force everyone there to wear masks or tell the patient (and family members around the patient) to take precautions?

          A friend of mine, living 30miles away, got leukemia two months ago. Virtually no one here in Sweden are wearing masks and neither does my friend. Instead he stays in his house, enjoy sunshine in the garden and relies on his wife to go to town for grocery and other needs. – I have not visited him since he got leukemia, not only due to Wuhan, but really any virus and bacteria as his immune system extremely weak due the the treatment he receives.

          For the rest of us here in Sweden, the Wuhan death are down to very near zero, and last I checked at the Swedish National Statistic (3 weeks ago) the total excess deaths are zero.

        • Goracle,
          I am willing to have a discussion about it, but not with someone who puts words in other peoples’ mouths, or argues disingenuously.

          The first thing you say is to bring up another type of virus and assert an equivalence, when the evidence shows that this virus does not even behave anything like the most closely related types of coronaviruses that have long been in circulation.

          This point I was making was regarding a single aspect: Does the virus spread via asymptomatic transmission or does it not, or is it unknown?
          This question cannot be answered by analogies, or comparisons with other things.

          I am not even going to try to sort through what you said and all the questions you asked.
          You may think you know how someone feels about other aspects based on what they say about something else, but that is an assumption on your part that is specifically not valid in my case.
          I am not looking at this politically, or looking at questions as a set of issues that are all tied into one political lump.
          I think the lockdowns are unconstitutional and I have never said different.
          I was one of the very first and strongest Trump supporters on this site, back when few gave him a chance at the nomination…I knew he would be elected.
          I do not have to agree on any thing in particular with anyone in particular though, to look at questions of medicine and virology and anything else, quite apart from my support for a Trump or my strong and unwavering conservative bona fides.

          I think masks likely reduces the chance of spreading the disease, but if the law does not allow them to be mandated, then the laws need to be changed or someone has to demonstrate leadership by persuasion, or else too bad.
          But I also think that like No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service…anyone who owns a store or business can make rules that the owner decides.
          I hate cigarettes, and think everyone should quit, and I hate to breathe others peoples second hand smoke…but I hate the laws the make it impossible for a bar to allow smoking if they want to.

          Issues are separate, and I am not afraid to go where evidence leads.
          If that is unfortunate politically…too bad.
          That is what legislatures are for.
          But I am never gonna pretend something is true because I wish it was because I hate Nancy Pelosi’s guts and would love it if she had to eat every word she ever spoke.

      • I believe it because the WHO expert said it. She was forced to walk it back the next day because it would embarrass all the Captain Lockdowns in government. You need to pump the brakes….

        • I have never believed anything because someone who was an “expert” said something was true.
          Because I am a trained scientist and I know what evidence is and what it is not.
          And I know how to evaluate things myself, even when I do not have extensive knowledge of the underlying subject matter.
          In this case I do have detailed and extensive knowledge…or virology, immunology, epidemiology, COVID19, and also of the political nature of such entities as WHO, and thus also of the fact that people who work for such organizations are very often driven to make statements based on political concerns, or any number of extraneous issues.
          I di not ever once claim I knew about the efficacy of masks due to some peripherally related work or field of study.
          But since you brought it up…there it is.
          There are countless article over many years…articles and Lord only knows how many reasoned arguments, besides for the specifics of the issue, against appealing to authority as a point of evidence for any proposition…and that is on this site alone.

          But this issue is very clear…asymptomatic transmission has been demonstrated to occur for this illness, and in fact it is known to be a significant means of transmission.
          The only reason to think otherwise at the outset was due to the observation that for some viral respiratory illnesses, a person is most contagious when they are sickest.
          But even for those specific viruses, there is very often a period of time when a person is contagious just prior to having overt symptoms.
          Some virus have only a small window of contagiousness within the total period of a patients illness, while for other viruses, that is not true.
          Some viral illnesses have the patients become more contagious for the duration of the illness.
          Many diseases cause chronic infections, or latent infections, and in some of these, a person who was never symptomatic can infect people for the rest of their life!
          This disease has been seen to take months to resolve in some patients, and as long as months during which live virus can be swabbed from the nasal passages.
          This virus is not analogous to any other known corona virus disease.
          And it is also not unheard of for a virus within a virus family to have huge variations in how it behaves in a host.
          Vaccinia is similar enough to small pox that being inoculated with it is virtually 100% effective at preventing the disease of small pox.
          Vaccinia is as close to harmless as a virus that infects people can be, and cannot be spread from person to person. But small pox was one of the most lethal (30%) and contagious (R0 = 3.5-6.0) viruses known.

          How one asymptomatic lady infected 70 others she never had direct contact with:
          https://bgr.com/2020/07/06/coronavirus-spread-through-the-air-surfaces-asymptomatic-transmission-elevator/

          There are new research papers being published left and right detailing proof of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, too many to list, but here is one look. The article has links to the original research.

          https://www.morningstar.com/news/business-wire/20200701005730/eurofins-publishes-method-for-early-detection-of-asymptomatic-sars-cov-2-virus-spreaders-that-does-not-require-human-pcr-clinical-testing

          But even in the opening weeks of the worldwide spread of the disease, it was only ego and obstinacy that prevented widespread dissemination of proof of asymptomatic transmission.
          It came down to how one person interpreted imprecise questioning of some early patients.

    • “weirdly here in Korea they actually track down every cluster.

      without exception every clust shares a few characteristics

      1. Indoors
      2. close proximity of people
      3. Prolonged exposure
      4. talking, chanting, or singing.
      5. no masks

      ya’ll keep muddling around till you figure it out”

      Isn’t that what I just said?

      Moon

    • “Michael Moon July 25, 2020 at 10:14 pm

      This virus spreads in close quarters with poor ventilation, from sick people to those who should not have been visiting them.”

      The evidence today supports this view.

    • Hi M.M., – A nurse shared a picture of her face after a work shift wearing an N-95 mask. It showed the skin discoloration that occurred from properly sealing the N-95 margins.

      Earlier today I read an English fellow’s account of going to Sweden wearing his mask all the way through to the airport exit doors. He got outside, couldn’t quite orientate to what seemed strange & realized nobody was wearing a mask.

      • Sweden is 7th in the rate of deaths per 1 million of population.
        Japan and South Korea, where everyone wears a mask (and the infection began to spread early from right next door)?
        Those two are in 122nd and 133rd place, respectively.

          • Exactly sycomputing, – Picture this in Japan: a man packed into the Tokyo subway 1/2 a head taller than the fellow off his shoulder & both wearing “surgical” masks. They’ve had those masks on for long enough to start saturating the fabric & due to situational chest compression are breathing shallower.

            The taller fellow’s mask is venting “blow out” from it’s side margin because, as scientifically demonstrated, mask filtration was reduced due to human moisture content contained. This taller fellow thus has to produce more forceful exhalations to overcome airflow resistance in his face + more frequent impulsed exhales because of compression reducing his lung capacity, with concomitant alteration of internal CO2 gas content driving him to do so involuntarily.

            Maybe it’s just me, but in this Tokyo subway car I see the shorter guy off to the side is going to be getting a ride with constant exposure to whatever is being side vented from the taller neighbor’s surgical mask. The kicker is the 1/2 a head shorter fellow’s eye corner is directly in the path of the mask “blow out” ejected from fellow jammed against his shoulder.

          • None of what is happening anywhere is at all likely to be due to one single factor.
            I do not know of anyone who thinks masks make someone immune to getting infected.
            Most of the world ignored the use of masks for many weeks, months even in some cases.
            Other places used them almost universally from the get go.
            But all of those places, mask wearing and mask ignoring, had numerous other factors at work.
            It would be dumb to think masks make one impervious.
            Just as it makes no sense to ignore all that has been known and all that has been learned about how they can help.
            All the way back to Manchurian Plague at least…and that is just what has been scientifically evaluated.

          • None of what is happening anywhere is at all likely to be due to one single factor.

            That’s exactly my thinking as well, but since none of that was in your original argument I thought I’d ask.

          • I had made earlier comments with more detail, such as this one I made yesterday:
            “The mask has to be part of an overall and comprehensive strategy to avoid getting infected and the avoid infected people from spreading it to others.”

          • what evidence there is suggests that the severity of the disease may be a function of the inoculum. So for example, a ship of people all wearing masks had an asymptomatic
            rate of 80%.

          • That delta between Sweden and Japan/ south korea is vastly too large to be attributable to mask wearing alone. Probably can attribute no more than 1/3 of the difference to mask wearing and the corresponding reduction in R value. Other likely reasons for the delta are behavioral / cultural differences and most importantly, the populations greater cross immunity from other viruses.

    • And there is NO evidence that people without symptoms, not coughing, not sneezing, no fever, no sore throat, who are also not singing or shouting, can transmit the virus.

      There IS evidence:

      https://tinyurl.com/y3nzur56

      But a criticism of the above study points out that PCR tests are “extremely sensitive” and are able to detect both viable and non-viable viruses.

  21. There are only a few places where a virus can enter our bodies.
    Mouth, nose, eyes.
    It is not complicated.
    Keep the virus out of the mouth and nose and eyes, and you will not get any in your body.
    Get less in the body, and there is every reason to believe one will have less chance of getting sick, and less severe illness if one does get sick.

    Consider the analogy of a burning building to a space with virus particles in the air.
    If one has a full face mask respirator and an oxygen tank, you will be able to breathe.
    One does have to be a professional firefighter for this to be true.
    If such equipment is not available, the next best thing to do is whatever you can scrounge up.
    It also helps to have knowledge of some basic facts, such as that there is less smoke near the floor, sometimes very little or none.
    A wet towel over the face is better than nothing.
    Getting down on the floor is better then nothing.
    Both is better than either one alone.
    This is true no matter who you are.

    How anyone would or could believe that only certain people, in some situations, are helped by PPE… makes zero sense to me, and I am stupefied by the lengths some people will go to in order to convince themselves otherwise.
    And as usual, even worse than believing in some illogical crap, is trying to gaslight others into believing some illogical crap.

    • There are only a few places where a virus can enter our bodies.
      Mouth, nose, eyes.

      This caught my attention: “eyes”. I know someone who traveled to China over a year ago and returned with an infection resembling pink-eye. Perhaps lost in this discussion of the pros and cons of masking, is standard non-medical masks do nothing to protect your eyes. One’s eyeglasses might help a bit, but unless you’re wearing goggles with a face-seal, I think you are “unprotected”.

      • “…but unless you’re wearing goggles with a face-seal, I think you are “unprotected”.”

        I think that is not correctly stated.
        Wearing a full face mask or some type of sealing goggles would be better than regular glasses.
        Somewhere in between, it can logically be inferred that some type of close fitting eyewear is better than reading glasses perched on the end of the nose.
        Better than close pitting and large sunglasses would be easily obtained safety glasses, like the type worn with using shop saws, or chain sawing. This cost very little, come in adjustable models, and have closed cell foam rubber gaskets around the side. I have several types and colors.

        Then there are safety goggles used when applying chemicals.
        Cheap, come in all types of price points and shadings for outdoor use, and even the blue blocker type that sharpen vision at night and on the road.

        Having less than perfect protection makes on “less protected”, not “unprotected”.

        Unprotected is having your eyeballs exposed to every drop and fleck of flying spittle from someone who sneezes, coughs, or talks loudly while passing you in a store aisle or check out line.

    • Of course, if you keep removing the oxygen mask, or let the inlet from the tank get blocked up, you might find it not so effective. So the certain people who are helped by PPE are those who use it properly. Those people who don’t use it properly, as many comments have described, may have problems. Quite logical.

      • Yes, and also at the outset their were legit concerns about supply and conserving what was around for those who needed it most…people caring for patients.
        But the proper thing to have done was explain those details, not lie and say masks have no value for you or me, but health care workers will die if they do not have them.
        People were assaulted on the streets and in stores for wearing masks, and some notable examples were overwrought nurses and family members of health care workers doing the assaulting.

        The problem with that was, many people have and had N05 masks in their garage or supplies of tools and equipment in a closest. Millions and millions of people.
        Me for one.
        I had a large pack of low quality N95s for spray painting sanding etc, I got from Walmart, and one still in package 3M N95 high quality oil resistant mask in it original packaging.
        None of those already owned masks would do any good for people in hospitals.
        Nor would the millions on the shelves of every hardware store, paint shop, hobby shop, etc.
        And people could have fashioned one, in the style of the ones that protected health care workers during the Manchurian Plague and then Spanish Flu, and were largely made by the wearers from readily available materials.

    • The respirators are flexible fiber molded design, made to conform to the shape of an adult face.
      They will not work for children or people with facial hair.

      Let us assume for the sake of argument that a mask is close fitting around the sides…the wearer knows how to mold the nose bar to their face and make sure it is worn properly.
      So 5% of whatever is in the air will be inhaled anyway.
      The electrostatically charged layer is said to do better than simple diffusion based on the pore space would seem to indicate though.
      But ignoring that…if I walk through a cloud of invisible droplets or aerosols which have virus in them, while I am doing a shopping trip in which I stock up, move quickly through the store, and studiously avoid walking near anyone else, and I also shop at Costco or other shops that have installed barriers around the sales clerks and pharmacists, and shop at self checkout lanes at Walmart and go to the most remote check out station from any other customers at the time of day the website says the store has the least amount of customers (yes, they have a graph that shows this), then I am minimizing any chance of encountering such a cloud of contagion, and the amount I breathe in will be 1/20th of what it would be if I had no mask.

      So the question becomes, will an infectious dose of 1/20th of the quantity of virions I might have gotten in my mouth or nose without a mask, make any difference in how much chance I have of getting an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic case?
      I think it is worth the trouble to wear a mask for the chance that it will make me less likely to get a bad case, and more likely to instead get a mild case which will then make me immune by the time I go on my next shopping trip weeks later.
      I do not care if you wear a mask, because if I see you with no mask on, I will turn around and walk all the way around the store if I have to to avoid getting anywhere close to your unsafe breath…because I also consider anyone being unsafe is more likely to have stupidly become infected or to callously be going to the store even if they are sick.

      One twentieth of the virus sounds like a lot less to me.

      But consider, if the person who coughed out that cloud was also wearing an N05 mask, they will have left a cloud with fewer virions. Maybe 1/20 as many. That means I would get 1/400th as many virions as if neither of us was wearing a mask.
      But now consider that larger droplets have a far larger volume of material, and these larger droplets might be completely blocked by both my mask and the person who left a cloud of virus.

      So the amount of virus might be orders of magnitude less if both are wearing a good mask…even if it was worn by someone who touched the mask and then rubbed their eye when they got home…as long as I did not.
      I also placed my grocery haul in the trunk, where it is very hot and humid in the Florida summer heat, and then sprayed the whole shebang with Lysol, which says right on the label it kills 99.9% of corona virus.
      I sprayed by boots before I got in the car.
      I washed my hands with dilute povidone iodine before I went into the store, and also after I left, after I unloaded my stuff into the trunk.
      I also rinsed them with 94% isopropyl alcohol, of which one bottle goes a very long way.
      Let that air dry.
      I then took off my mask, took off my safety glasses, and washed them off with three separate rubbings of bleach saturated Clorox disinfectant wipes. I wiped my keys with them too.
      I then got in the car, started the motor, and leaned out the window to rinse my hands again.
      The wiped off the car door handle and steering wheel with some more Clorox wipes.
      I did not buy any of this stuff for this event…I had it all and every other kind of cleaning product which lasts me years once I buy them.
      And when I got home, I took off my boots and did not wear them for a few weeks…I have lots of pairs of shoes and boots and footwear.
      I took off every thing I am wearing and put it all in the washing machine, then washed my hands twice, and then went and took a shower.
      I always change my clothes when I have been outside anyway…always have…I get dirty on my jobs and in my garden, filthy really but in my house I am clean.
      And I checked myself…it is supposed to be hard not to touch ones face. Studies I have seen say the average person touches their face several times every minute or some crap like that.
      I do not worry about that once I am in my house, by my pool, in my yard, because I kept everything from outside in public out of my home environment.
      I found it was easy to not touch my face even one single time between leaving the house and taking a shower, whereupon I do not worry about that crap, ever.
      It costs me nothing, took a few minutes, and I am a month closer to when a vaccine is available.
      Oh, BTW…I signed up for a phase three clinical trial of the vaccine…they are giving in in three places within a 90 minute drive of my house.
      Still waiting to hear back.
      Not one person had any bad reaction in the phase one and two trials, and all volunteers had a antibody response many times what people who have gotten sick and recovered have.

      Even if those numbers of viral reduction are bunk and the actual number is a fraction of that, it still reduces my risk.
      There is some reason why some people never even know they got infected, and others wind up in the ICU.
      It is a reasonable surmise that it could be the viral load ingested when exposed that makes some or all of the difference.

      And it cannot hurt.
      I have not coughed or sneezed in years, not even once. Except that time I breathed in a saltine crumb while binged watching Hell on Wheels. Damn that hurts.
      And my mask is in the original clam shell package in my hot ass car in my Florida Summertime driveway. Good luck surviving in there.
      I do not even need to worry about that.
      I do not wear it in the car, that is ridiculous.
      I do not wear it laying by my pool, or mowing my grass.
      And if I got the virus, I never even knew it, six months in.
      I hope I did.
      And I will let you all know.

      Those masks are scientifically designed to filter out stuff.
      I believe the people who make that stuff know a thing or two I never did until recently.

      Whelp, time to clean some weapons and count some ammo, then go to ammo.com for some more.
      Reading the news from Portland has that effect on me.

  22. Here’s a 2006 review on mitigation of viral pandemics that conveys the same message:

    Inglesby, T.V., et al., Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 2006. 4(4): p. 366-375 https://doi.org/10.1089/bsp.2006.4.366.

    Recommend against: lockdowns, school closure, quarantine of healthy people, travel restrictions, restricting social gatherings; surgical face masks in public

    Recommend for: use of antiviral meds, quarantine of sick people only; early treatment; hand-washing.

    Interesting quotes: “A World Health Organization (WHO) Writing Group, after reviewing the literature and considering contemporary international experience, concluded that “forced isolation and quarantine are ineffective and impractical.”

    A review by a WHO Working Group on SARS also concluded that “entry screening of travelers through health declarations or thermal scanning at international borders had little documented effect on detecting SARS cases.”

    It appears the CDC and WHO have neglected or forgotton all the hard-won wisdom learned from meeting past epidemics.

  23. “Unfortunately, masks can cause much higher emissions. A virus-contaminated mask worn by a healthy person, shedding viruses during breathing, would increase the viral load in a room from 0 to a non-zero level that may be sufficient to infect another person.”

    This is a crock. The virus must be wet. When it dries out it it disintegrates.

    Where did you get this bogus DATA?

    • This is a crock. The virus must be wet. When it dries out it it disintegrates.

      So, breathing out moist air continuously across an intercepted virus particle (encased in its droplet or aerosol) dries out the virus? How does moist breath dry the virus to the extent you claim? — I don’t think it does. That’s the crock.

    • “A virus-contaminated mask worn by a healthy person, shedding viruses during breathing…”

      Wait, what?
      Is the person healthy or infected?
      Healthy people do not shed virus, and infected people cannot rightly be called exactly “healthy”.
      As soon as any virus is not in a host, it begins to degrade.
      The length of time intact virus can be found is dependent on several factors, but they always degrade at some rate, fast for some viruses, slower for others, and faster in some conditions, and slower in other conditions.
      One would have to believe that there is no such thing as a minimal infective dose to believe that filtering out some amount of the virions makes no difference.
      And that if the infective dose is above the minimum needed to cause an infection, that the amount of it has no bearing on how severe or mild a case one winds up with…in order to believe that reducing the amount of virus makes no difference.

      IMO, those are very dubious things for anyone to believe.
      I have read a huge number articles and papers and studies on this topic and related aspects since last February.
      We discussed these issues here over a period of months back when we had little to go on but what has been gleaned over the past 60+ years on these topics.
      No one knows the actual numerical amount of virions it takes to cause an infection, because they are simply too small to count, given that live virus cannot be distinguished visually from nonviable ones or particles that look similar but are something else.

      But I read nothing that disputes the principle of infectious dose as a key parameter in contagion.
      The number is smaller for some infectious microbes than for others, and from one person to another, given a huge variability in how susceptible different people are to getting infected no matter how much virus they are inoculated with.

      It is known that hand washing makes a large difference in how likely someone is to get many types of illnesses. And it is known that such washing cannot possibly remove 100% of anything as small as a microbe.
      So that leaves a distinct probability, in my estimation, that the difference is a number game.
      Less virus in your body means more chance your innate immune system, and various layers of defenses against invaders, can mop it up before it can reproduce enough to make a person sick.

  24. Basic common sense is usually a good guidance.

    To me, it is common sense that it makes a difference when you put a barrier which stops most of the droplets from flowing out in the air.

    After all, the mouth and nose are the sources for the virus spread. Virus does not multiply outside the body.

    /Jan

      • It is more than what I want to belive, it is a logical argument.

        Let me rephrase it In three parts to make it even clearer:

        1. The virus multiply only inside the body. That is an undisputable fact.
        2. The virus mainly comes out of the body by being in droplets we exhale.
        3. A barrier, such as a mask, will stop much of the droplets.

        Therefore a mask should make a difference. Do you see a flaw in that logic?

        • The flaw is in thinking that the droplets just magically sit there undisturbed and do not splinter, re-distribute over the mask (inside and out), get propelled off the mask in newly formed droplets, hit the floor, get blown around by air currents, and rejoin the air once again to carry on this merry cycle over and over, while we magical-thinking humans continue to fantasize that we can orchestrate fluid dynamics at the near small micron scale with a simple cloth barrier.

          • I do not think magic holds the droplets in the mask, but I do think surface tension in water, and the capillary action in a dry mask make a difference.

            As long as yo don’t wear a mask until it is dripping wet, you will find it difficult to blow droplets out of the mask.

            /Jan

  25. My favorite mask conundrum is how some people (stateside USA experience only) ordering delivered food get on-line complaining about a delivery person working either unmasked or improperly masked. I see restaurant staff taking breaks outside back doors with masks down, drivers in cars with masks somewhere other than in place & know that, just like most people I see out (including me) they are not changing their mask when pull it back up/reposition to hold in place, nor washing their hands before fiddling with the mask (or commonly unsanitary cellphone).

    When food delivery is made by a mask wearing person there is no likelihood that food’s chain of production to handing over has less of a viral load than otherwise. Surgical masks are usually not tactically worn by the general public & then too, if not changed within enough time, promote increased “blow-out” from the mask’s sides.

    Commentators here have pointed to dense Asian populations’ habit of using “surgical” style masks in public. If this is a significant factor in their WuhanFlu fatality rate then I would like to know the frequency with which they change their surgical mask to avoid mask side blow out, if they replace the mask anew after uncovering their nose/mouth & if any of them use cloth fabric material.

    Like many I saw the WuhanFlu reaching stateside & the pictures of Wuhan countermeasures alarmed me. I devised a personal respiratory apparatus with lab tubing & disposable 0.22 micron filters (coronavirus micron size still smaller) as something to use if among people.

    It was impossible to breath properly when wearing & I’m sure would have passed out if every used the rig. A French study of medical personnel performing surgery measured their oxygen levels periodically over time of the procedure & quantified the significant drop of blood oxygen when wearing a “surgical” mask when functioning in a stressful situation.

    NYC reported 66% (from memory) of the belated WuhanFlu cases were among people who had not been out & about. It is quite likely it came to their door with the then masked food delivery person – masks are able to accumulate viruses on their external surface.

    Out of courtesy I am respectfully masking up when enter a building or public conveyance. If I was coughing, sneezing, feverish or loutish I’d take up the veil willingly.

    • If by next week, or next month, or whenever, there are cheap fast tests that are widely available.
      How is that going to help me know who is and who is not infected?
      And how will that possibly help when out in public?

      And good luck with cheap fast tests.

      One comment above you, we have a guy generously conceding that if he knows he is sick, he will “veil up” when he goes out to mingle.

      • Both my wife and I have had the rapid COVID tests, for different circumstances. First, they are only 75-80% accurate. Second, there are not “negative” only “not positive”. And third, not positive rapid tests are NOT reported by doctors as they are only required to report positives.

        • I’m glad you asked. There is a MedCram video which explains why the cheap, fast, less sensitive tests are far better than the expensive, slow, way too sensitive tests — if what you want to know is whether you or your friends are contagious. They see it as about testing kids before they go to school in the morning. I see it as a way for a group of adults to meet without having to wear masks. Like on an airplane. Or crossing a border. But the biggest point is that it would help to reduce the R value, which is the only way to rid ourselves of this curse.
          https://youtu.be/h7Sv_pS8MgQ

          • +1

            If contagiousness could be contained by a cheap, fast, less sensitive test that would be the way to go.

          • Testing has value.
            It is good to find out if one is infected.
            My point is that it would take far more than simply having tests available, of any quality, to allow someone to have any way to know if the person who just coughed on them is not infected.
            If someone was infected, but can be shown to no longer harbor the virus, then I would be willing to assume that person cannot have been reinfected and might be contagious…even though that is not proved, it is very likely to be true, in my judgement.
            But a test showing someone has never been exposed and/or is not correctly harboring live virus in their nasal passages, only gives a single point in time that it could be assumed that this person was not contagious.
            Someone can get infected after being tested, or might have been infected a short time prior to being tested when their was not enough virus to detect yet. How long it takes between exposure and contagiousness is not known, but evidence indicates it is highly variable.

            So logically, there is only so much a test…any test…can tell us, and only so much help a test can be in controlling the disease.
            Then there is the issue of the shear number of tests that would be required, and then the logistics of distribution, and then the percentage of people who will refuse to cooperate, either by not getting tested, or lying about it, or refusing to be quarantined if they test positive…
            AFAIK, there is no logical way, and no historical examples, of testing alone controlling a disease.
            It is very likely theoretically possible, but not given the on the ground realities that would have to be surmounted.

        • Tom,
          “Second, there are not “negative” only “not positive”. And third, not positive rapid tests are NOT reported by doctors as they are only required to report positives.”

          What, seriously?
          *insert a big loud Steve Martin-style Well, Excuse Meeeee*

          If you get tested and call you doctor, they will not tell you what the result was unless positive?
          Huh?
          We are not talking about reporting to authorities here, but using testing so everyone can know whether to quarantine, etc. Are they just going to refuse to tell you anything if it is not positive?

          As for no such thing as negative tests…again…huh?

          You can find thousands of articles in every print media in the world about negative3 test results, false positive and false negative rates, etc.
          Not testing positive is known as being negative for the virus.
          And there can be people who have it who do not test positive, people who do not have it but who test positive, etc.
          The rules for letting someone out of the hospital or released from quarantine?
          Recall what was required?
          Two NEGATIVE tests in a row.

          WTF…do you guys just hate any person who says something that makes you uncomfortable, and just make crap up, and then believe your own BS?

          Name your favorite you tube medical site, or news service, or scientific journal, and I will show you articles and stuff they have said about “negative tests”.
          Seriously…name any source in the whole world.

          Example:
          New England Journal of Medicine
          “False Negative Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Challenges and Implications”

          https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2015897

    • Quick stat: There are over 330,000,000 people in the US alone.
      One test for each person would be enough to get tested one each.
      So far, in over 6 months, far less than that number of tests have ben done worldwide, total.

      So anyhow, ignoring the impossible number of tests required to test everyone even one time, what good will it do if someone tests negative tomorrow?
      They could get infected five minutes after getting the test done.

      Just having tests will be almost useless unless it is part of a logical and comprehensive strategy, with which everyone complies perfectly.
      At this point, millions of people have it, and the vast majority have not yet been infected.
      Considering it took a few months for a few infected people in one city to spread the virus worldwide, and considering a large number of people will not even admit there is a problem, and another large number refuse to agree with common sense measures that are available TODAY, what chance is there that testing alone will do much?

      If and when we have an effective vaccine, anyone with the good sense to get it as soon as possible will be protected.
      Until then, it will be a crap shoot, and people using best practices will be able to lower their risk, but not eliminate it entirely.
      We have people who would rather kill someone than put a piece of cloth over their mouth and nose for the two minutes it takes to buy something from a store.
      And other people who use that unfortunate insanity to argue against anyone wearing a mask.
      Tests will protect us from those people how?

      • We still don’t have a vaccine for any coronavirus as far as I’m aware…. or a pneumonia cure/vaccine. Did Nicholas intend to kill grandma back in february2020 when he wasn’t wearing a mask? Did he hate people the way he says I hate people now? Were masks produced prior to march2020 ineffective so that’s why Nick wasn’t wearing one back in february2020? Has the politization of Covid rendered much science done post march2020 regarding masks scewed (at least the science to controversial for youtube videos and on the famous science blog Twitter)?

        • I do not know you, but I think there may be something wrong with you.
          You seem fixated on things never said.
          I am almost curious enough to ask when exactly it was you hallucinated that I said you hated people.
          But not quite curious enough to really care.
          Is that you, Mario?

  26. It pains me to see the professional medical people trying to protect themselves with PPE; whilst not having a clue how to don and doff the kit. As a former NBC training officer, it was my job to ensure my squadron pilots new how to use the PPE properly. We even volunteered our services to the HK authorities during SARS1 but they new best – many doctors/nurses contracted the disease. Today’s medical staff are shockingly inept at using this sort of kit, exhibiting all the mistakes that joe public does. Maybe something will come out of this – educate hospital staff on the correct way to wear the PPE.

  27. The Virus/Lockdown Scam

    If masks work, then why are we anti-social distancing?
    If anti-social distancing works, then why are we wearing masks?
    If masks and anti-social distancing work, then why are our businesses closed?
    If we can stand in line in a grocery store, then why can’t we stand in line to vote?

    Because it’s not about the virus. It never was.

    For those who always point at the medical profession who “mask up”…
    Surgeons and nurses wear masks to protect against bacterial infections. The evidence for that protection is minimal. Viruses are so small that 100,000,000 (100 Million) of them will fit (if only one layer thick) on the period at the end of this sentence. If you’re donning a medical mask or worse yet: a diaper mask, do you think 4 periods might get in, out, around or through the mask?

    The British Government has confirmed that Covid- 19 is harmless to the vast majority of people:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adj8MCsZKlg

    In this clip from the Downing Street Corona Briefing on May 11th, Chris Whitty – Britain’s Chief Medical Officer – says that, to most people, the coronavirus is entirely harmless:
    Most people will never get it;
    Most of the people who get it won’t ever experience symptoms;
    Most of the people who experience symptoms won’t need medical care;
    Most of the people who need medical care won’t be need emergency or critical care. And even the tiny percentage of people who need who DO need critical care will survive, regardless of risk factors or medical history.

    To those constantly bleating about how surgeons and nurses wear masks during surgery read this:
    https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD002929.pub3/full

    Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery
    Surgical face masks were originally developed to contain and filter droplets containing microorganisms expelled from the mouth and nasopharynx of healthcare workers during surgery, thereby providing protection for the patient. However, there are several ways in which surgical face masks could potentially contribute to contamination of the surgical wound, e.g. by incorrect wear or by leaking air from the side of the mask due to poor string tension.

    Objectives
    To determine whether the wearing of disposable surgical face masks by the surgical team during clean surgery reduces postoperative surgical wound infection.

    Key results
    Overall, we found very few studies and identified no new trials for this latest update. We analyzed a total of 2106 participants from the three studies we found. All three studies showed that wearing a face mask during surgery neither increases nor decreases the number of wound infections occurring after surgery. We conclude that there is no clear evidence that wearing disposable face masks affects the likelihood of wound infections developing after surgery. (and they certainly won’t stop viruses.)

    In May 2020, The CDC said the exact same thing:
    “In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25) (Figure 2). One study evaluated the use of masks among pilgrims from Australia during the Hajj pilgrimage and reported no major difference in the risk for laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection in the control or mask group (33). Two studies in university settings assessed the effectiveness of face masks for primary protection by monitoring the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza among student hall residents for 5 months (9,10). The overall reduction in ILI or laboratory-confirmed influenza cases in the face mask group was not significant in either studies (9,10). Study designs in the 7 household studies were slightly different: 1 study provided face masks and P2 respirators for household contacts only (34), another study evaluated face mask use as a source control for infected persons only (35), and the remaining studies provided masks for the infected persons as well as their close contacts (11–13,15,17). None of the household studies reported a significant reduction in secondary laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the face mask group (11–13,15,17,34,35…”

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article?fbclid=IwAR30tcZl3JaBoojadvOvpfbxKZwyUs8dT6l4go-k_4vEwaOAmSq7HfCaJOU#tnF2

    As a last thought, consider this:
    Sweden never had a lockdown and never forced people to wear masks or anything else, they never forced anti-social distancing on the entire population (other than moving restaurant tables a bit further apart) and they never gave up the idea that sane adults can work out their own level of risk and behave appropriately. Consequently, the Swedes have maintained all the measures of civilized life and have not wrecked their economy in the name of “keeping you safe.” For the record, a tiny minority of Swedes wear masks but they are mainly foreigners or tourists and most Swedes think wearing masks in public outside of medical necessity is idiotic. Sweden now has one of the lowest rates of deaths for the virus which is now in single figures. In the last 24 hours, Sweden recorded just 9 deaths from the virus out of a population of well over 10 million.

    Don’t take my word for any of this…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92R0bnW0S_4

    What’s REALLY Going On in Sweden (No Lockdown)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI7nrqH_YnE

    SWEDEN DURING CORONAVIRUS – REAL FOOTAGE

    • Sasha, the first video is 3 months old, the second two months old.

      On 24 July, Sweden recorded 10 deaths, out of a population of just over 10,100,000. Italy recorded 5 deaths out of a population of just over 60,460,000. That’s a death rate of 1 in a million for Sweden, and 0.08 per million for Sweden. So who’s doing better?

      Of the other top 5 countries, Belgium is down to 5 deaths a day, Spain to 3, and the UK 14 on the 26 July but 123 on 24 July. Belgium is the only one of those countries similar in size to Sweden: 11,600,000. In spite of its early high death rate, even it is now down to half that of Sweden.

      As for Sweden not wrecking its economy, well that’s a matter for debate. You’ll find plenty of articles on-line that are more recent than the videos. The consensus seems to be that Sweden is doing no better than its neighbours, at a higher cost in lives lost. This is not really surprising since the economies of countries in Europe, indeed the world, are so inter-dependent that it was never going to be likely that any individual country would do well while all others had economic declines.

      • You can, with a little effort, find a more recent video which will say pretty much the same thing as those from Sweden recorded 3 or 4 or 5 months ago because nothing has changed.

        Here is one that was uploaded today:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWGSDWr_R2M

        It took me less than a minute to find, and it shows normal civilized life as illustrated by the other two videos.

        There are also hundreds of street-cams all over Sweden that will show you in real time exactly what is happening and what the Swedes are doing now.

        https://www.gekas.se/shoppa/gekas-webbkamera/

        https://www.hallandsposten.se/webbkamera-laholm-1.18811114

        https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/sweden/halland/varberg-square.html

        http://www.webbkameror.se/webbkameror/stureplan/index.php

        Sweden’s economy expanded 0.1% in the first quarter of 2020 in seasonally-adjusted terms, according to revised estimates, up from both the preliminary reading of a 0.3% contraction and the flat reading for the fourth quarter of 2019. In calendar-adjusted year-on-year terms, the economy expanded 0.4% in Q1 2020 (previously reported: +0.5% year-on-year; Q4 2019: +0.5% yoy.

        It is estimated that Sweden’s GDP will fall 5.2% in 2020, which is down 0.3% from last month’s forecast, and to increase 4.4% in 2021.

        Hardly economic ruin for Sweden, and a lot better than any of Sweden’s neighbors. Compare that to the looming economic disasters of the lockdown countries who are heading for massive falls this year and next.

  28. There are basic false questions in play with this current Covid 19 crisis.
    Who actually cares if face masks are better at stopping the spread or not? We have among us a virus, it is not so different to other virus, that have come and lodged with us in everyday life. The corona virus is called the common cold, the clue is in the name. We are well set up to fight off virus infections, we have T cells for that, they work very well, particularly if you are young healthy and fit.
    That brings us into the core of the face mask question.
    There is a false hope being progressed that wearing a face cover will in some way isolate the wearer from infection, clearly that is not possible. Consequently, the authorities have realised the only way to sell the idea a face cover is a good thing, is to make people who do not wear them feel guilty. The argument goes, if you wear a face mask you are protecting others and you are showing how considerate you are.
    How sweet is that? Be kind to others wear a mask, virtue signalling taken to a whole new level.
    We have survived and thrived without resorting to wearing face masks. I fail to see any reason to change the healthy lifestyles of humanity, simply to pacify the bizarre anxieties of the gullible.
    Yes face masks will reduce some transmission of exhaled contaminated breath. Unfortunately the unknown consequences of blocking natural development of immunity to a virus infection, could be far far worse. Real world experience tells us, when the European trailblazers ventured into New World lands, they “met” the natives infecting them with everyday European infections, which the natives didn’t have any immunity to, sadly they largely passed away.
    We do not want to reinvent that scenario, in a generation or two’s time.
    Those who want to wear a face mask are free to do so, those who prefer not to wear one, should also be free not to.

  29. paranoid much?? As a teacher of young children I come into contact with any bug going around.. I take a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral one a day supplement.. rarely become so ill to need time off but often have a sniffle… I think my immune system is quite robust. If I were taking your kind of precautions I think I would be ill every other week..(hmm that logic doesn’t quite work)
    I think what I meant to say is should I become ill I would be VERY ill.. that’s better.

  30. Thought for the day – if you are wearing jeans and emit a bottom-burp, can you smell the result?

    I will kick off: ‘only if there is an intelligent being in the vicinity to smell it’. (Apologies to Buddhists everywhere)

    • Thanks for the link Ulric, the message coming back from that is the authorities are not doing much until things get out of control as well as face masks have limited benefit and only those designed for purpose are any use at all.

  31. To act as a barrier a quality mask has surfaces, importantly the inner and outer. The inside will soon have viral content if you already have an infection and a quantity of this will pass through to the outer surface the longer you wear the mask. Your body also has to work much harder to breathe. When the surfaces are saturated (within minutes of wear) the outer surface will add its gained viral load to your already viral loaded breath. The barrier is broken.

    The mask will not stop you being infected from germs from the outside air for the same reasons and the breath you take in is unnaturally loaded by foul moisture content not all of which is yours. The mask is a short term barrier that becomes largely ineffective within minutes of use but are a professional necessity and requirement for certain people working in very close proximity to others.

    A dentist friend of mine explained these things about masks to me yonks ago during a previous ‘flu season scare when I was stupid enough to consider wearing one. Her views were echoed by medical professionals in my family. As anecdotal as that maybe it is enough for me that no one said ‘They really work!’

    Insistence of effectiveness of masks as anything other than a sensible precaution in certain situations is poor advice when all studies suggest other than unique efficiency. People commonly get colds after dental surgery because human beings have always been highly effective in transmitting germs naturally designed to specifically take advantage of our tendencies towards socialising, proximity and touch. That’s why we have immune systems which need daily exercise in keeping bugs at bay and under control. Yes, the system fails to stop illness or worse some of the time, but that isn’t the point.

    I have resisted mask wearing up till now but I put up with using one in to enter shops because otherwise I’d starve or waste £100 on a petty fine, options which amount to the same end. I see it as an intrusion upon my freedom of healthy choice – i.e. you will be and remain healthier without one. Masks may do a great short term psychological job on some people or when used appropriately, effectively and efficiently, but that is all.

  32. In a perfect world where people are leaving their saturated and disease filled masks over their noses and not constantly touching them to pull them down to expose the actual source of disease vector I would say the masks were reducing it.

    But people are constantly pulling them down, touching them, adjusting them, pulling them on and off AND TOUCHING EVERY GODDAMNED THING ON EARTH… including my food cans, boxes…

    The masks are an abject failure without the proper training and discipline on their use. The current mask scheme helps no more than holding a thin hankerchief to your face when you cough then putting it away in your jacket pocket till you need it again.

    • So, if you do a cool video with a narrator who has a sarcastic English accent, who never specifies precisely what he is talking about, as he rants on about how somebody else doesn’t know what THEY are talking about, then you are supposed to accept the tone of the sarcastic English accent as truth, rather than the content.

      This video is the personification of every pro-mas-masking study that I have read.

      A journal article will typically start with a review of the lack of evidence, and then argue that this ultimately is not important, then throw in some statistically-modeled numbers that have dishonest margins of certainty based on overly-presumptive inputs from idealized situations, then use a lot of “may”, “might”, “could”, “further research needed” qualifiers to verbally gymnastically rescue their ultimately faith-based belief that mass masking will have a significant effect, … all published in a high-profile professional journal, and so THIS form of faith MUST be the faith to follow. Never mind that pesky evidence. Remember, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Righhhhht.

  33. Reading these comments is hilarious. The science indicates there is no reduction in transmission, yet everyone comments that it’s just commons sense that they work. This is how climate alarmists think. Absolutely hilarioius.

  34. Our noses are oriented to discharge our exhalation in a broadly downward direction. Wearing a mask tends to ensure that exhalation goes to the side of the face at the same level, and not downwards. That is beneficial if you are a surgeon bending over an incision to ensure you are cutting the right bits, but detrimental if you are simply a shopper.

  35. “Preface. The use and requirements of masks have become incredibly political and partisan. Unfortunately, far too much of science, knowledge, journalism, and even epistemology are becoming political.

    The following is presented as is, for information only. — charles rotter”

    At this point, reading the 100 + comments, it is clear that ctm has nailed this.

    While WUWT has a higher proportion of posters/commentators that can adhere to logical, rational, introspective analysis of any given subject, I have found that the subject of Covid-19 has pretty much trashed that observation.

    Based on my own analysis, and years of wearing various masks/respirators for various reasons (dust, radiologically contaminated areas, solvent fumes, biological, etc), it is pretty clear to me that many (perhaps most) folks grossly over simplify the efficacy of “masks” in different situations.

    Masks (when intended to reduce either inflow or outflow of various undesirable material) are best analyzed as part of an overall protective strategy:

    I characterize this strategy thus:
    1) Wearing a mask (or any type for any reason) is an unequivocal and hard to ignore reminder that there is something potentially in the “air” that I either want to reduce intake, or reduce spreading. This reminds both me (the wearer), and you (either the target or source of the “bad stuff”). Over 45 years or so of wearing various masks (including respirators) for various reasons has not diminished this. Any kind of mask is unpleasant, uncomfortable and is hard to ignore why I am wearing it…

    2) It should be clear to anyone with a modicum of rational technical reasoning that various masks have huge variability in their ability to physically filter (in or out) whatever the “bad” stuff is. Except for custom fit, very expensive, rarely worn full face respirators, no mask is going to be 100% effective (or even remotely close to 100%).

    3) Based on 1) and 2), the use of a mask (when there is in fact some sort of “bad” stuff potentially in the air) is probably better than not wearing a mask due to a (likely chaotic) combination of actual filtering and behavior modification.

    Bottom line:

    If I wear a mask of some sort while using a solvent (for example), regardless of whether the mask has any physical ability to reduce my intake of, say acetone, I will most likely be: 1) More careful, 2) shorten my time at task and 3) be ever mindful that acetone is probably not good to breathe. The end result is that I am likely to have breathed in less acetone while wearing a mask than not.

    The vast majority of mask analysis is grossly over simplified, which unfortunately leads to grossly over simplified comments.

    I, like most folks, hate wearing a mask for any reason at any time. I realize, however, that that distaste is exactly why I should sometimes wear one.

    Ethan Brand

    • E than
      You are hereby banned from making comments here, Mr Smarty Pants, and making the rest of us look bad .

      Another unusual effect of masks
      My wife is a smiler who often gets into conversations with total strangers in stores. But with a mask on almost no one will get close and talk with her even when she initiates a conversation.

    • EB, I hate to say that I got no sense of your stance about masks in regard to COVID-19. I don’t disagree with anything you said, in fact.

      That being said, however, I am convinced that mass masking up for COVID-19 is a crock.

      • Robert Kernodle:
        “EB, I hate to say that I got no sense of your stance about masks in regard to COVID-19. I don’t disagree with anything you said, in fact.”

        Exactly. When using a solvent, I will do just about anything to avoid wearing a respirator (don’t use, open the door, turn on the fan, etc). As far as masks and Covid-19, I try to avoid any situation where I either should or must wear a mask. Which is, of course, the core of my above points.

        Regards,
        Ethan Brand

  36. It is unfortunate that Dr. Fauci, who I do respect (usually), supposedly a “man of science”, has climbed onboard the “masks for all” bandwagon. I suppose he saw the masks freight train coming, especially after the CDC got onboard, and decided it would be better for him to get onboard rather than get run over by it. Tsk tsk, Mr. Fauci. You of all people should know better. There is zero evidence that they actually help, and a distinct possibility that they do more harm than any possible, slight good.
    Mask-wearing for the general public has become a quasi-religion, in much the same way that the Belief in the “Carbon” monster has. It is driven by pseudoscience, herd behavior, poor logic, and by fear. Sad. Humans appear to be getting dumber.

  37. Interesting discussion on this topic. Keep it up!

    Here in Canada’s Capital city, masks are mandatory in “Enclosed Public Spaces” (stores, public transit, etc.). While I have issues with mask requirements this late in the downward slope of the pandemic, I will comply to avoid the fines and harassment. I will, of course, remove the mask as soon as I can. While I’ve never suffered from any breathing issues (no asthma, non-smoker, not stuck inside a sealed high-rise), I find I become somewhat short of breath when wearing a mask for longer than about 5-10 minutes. No matter, as shopping is a miserable chore these days, so I get in and out as fast as I can. No browsing while masked for me!

    On the mask efficacy question, I point to the Ontario Ministry of Health statement on face coverings and masks:

    “Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19.”
    https://www.ontario.ca/page/face-coverings-and-face-masks

    I’ve been criticized for posting this, as I think that statement is open to interpretation, i.e. who is “you”? The mask wearer or the people around her? To me, it’s a reminder that the virus is a slippery character and not so easy to block with cloth/paper/good intentions.

  38. Unfortunately, “may help” is widely used as an affirmative recommendation for universal mask wearing.

    Locking your door may help to prevent burglary. Or may not. A circuit breaker may prevent electric fire. Though often they don’t. Seat belt… etc.

    Are trained and used to wearing masks.
    […]
    Members of the public, however, are likely not trained in proper mask wearing and handling—despite good intentions.

    Seriously? I mean, there are people who have problems with using shoestrings, but that’s an uncommon condition.

    Handle masks properly (including masks’ replacement, disposal, and disinfection).

    Now here’s a good point. Disinfection (even brief soaking in diluted peroxide, since reports so far said the silly thing is quite vulnerable to oxidants) could be very useful. And if this practice was advised back when mask-wearing started, most likely it would both help in itself and encourage more careful handling in general.

    said it’s possible

    And that’s not «a non-statement alongside» etc?

    The researches attempted to collect some, but not all, sideways flow. This semi-realistic testing demonstrated a lower effectiveness for even surgical masks. Detection of the virus was:
    In droplets, masks versus no masks: 11% versus 21%.
    In aerosols, masks versus no masks: 26% versus 46%.

    Not a silver bullet, but much better than nothing.
    Any reduction in concentration and range is better than nothing.

    • TBeholder,

      Have you even gone outside to watch how many people are using their masks incorrectly? Masks are NOT shoestrings, and that’s the point — people cannot do the simplest requirements consistently with these things for them to be effective, even if they were effective, functionally speaking.

      Many of the people that I see wearing masks do not know how to tie their shoelaces — to use your comparison. It’s a seemingly simple task, but the requirements for making this simplicity work are not so simple.

      Now go climb Mount Everest. That’s just five words you have to obey. What’s the problem? — it’s so simple.

  39. Are masks and mask wearing causing a false safety effect? Or are they a panacea? (Rhetorical questions).

    Until we have a valid anti-body test and widespread anti-body testing or until the numbers of negatives are accurately reported and utilized to discover the actual spread % (you can’t just use positive results), the argument remains undecided IMO.

    Believing in the humanity of lessening suffering–now 5 months (and it has really only been 5 months since the big start in March), that ain’t happening. Instead it has been reduced to squabbling over masks, mask wearing, and public shaming and flexing over what bits of cloth and how to properly wear them over our mouths and noses…..two of the most expressive areas of our faces that we utilize to signify the intentions of another person.

    For me and mine protection, I wear a mask. Not because I believe it will stop the virus (I’ve had too much biology education to believe in such a panacea), but so that I don’t stand out in the crowd to get hammered down by it. That’s the reason I wear one. It has nothing to do with an actual threat from a tiny virus, it has to do with the very real threat of the fellow predator en mass who I can’t read to see if I am in danger or not.

    I have no co-morbidities and I am not old enough to be considered high risk. I would like to know if I am immune but that alas will not be the case as there are no antibody tests being conducted–as I suspect I had this virus in late Jan/early Feb. I am however, acutely aware(to the point of blue car syndrome) of the predators among us and that is by virtue of experience more than anything else. That experience tells me to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass–because it will eventually and also eventually we will have an antibody test (because we must to see if the vaccine worked)–and I’ll go get one. But until then, I’m staying out of the damn way.

  40. Leo Goldstein, did you teach your children (if you have any) to cover their faces when they cough or sneeze?

      • Face-mask Belivers — reminds me of a Monkey’s song:

        https://youtu.be/9_SMJ-Uwmkg

        Except my version would start something like this:

        Oh, I could hide ‘neath the strings
        Of the cloth that’s filtering
        The virus doom alarm will always ring
        But two layers suffice
        Keeping germs locked on my side
        My thinking mind is scared and it screams

        Cheer up, sneezing Jean
        Oh, what can it mean to a
        Face-mask believer and a
        Home-prisoned queen?

  41. The N95 Mask Folly

    N95 masks were sold decades ago and could be found in the woodworking aisle at Home Depot. They are good for curtailing inhalation of dust in the shop or allergens when mowing the lawn. But do N95 masks work against viruses? Wearing an N95 mask to protect yourself from Covid-19 is as effective as a screen door holding back water in a submarine.

    In 2003, during the Code Orange emergency involving potential anthrax attacks, N95 Masks were flying off the shelves. Back then, N95 masks met CDC Guidelines for use in protection from Anthrax, a rod-shaped bacterium quite similar in size and shape to TB. Its typical size range is 1 to 1.5 microns in diameter by 4 to 10 microns in length. A micron is one millionth of a meter, or 0.00003937 inches. The average hair is about 75 microns in diameter. Today, N95 masks are flying off the shelves again, this time to combat the Covid-19 virus. Viruses are particles ranging in size from 0.06 to 0.14 microns. The Coronavirus has a range of 0.07 to 0.09 microns, or about 1/937-th of a hair diameter.

    Filter ratings vary from a low of MERV1 up to a high of MERV20. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. N95 masks have a MERV16 and are 95% efficient, meaning they will filter out 95% of particles between 0.3 and 1.0 microns. The remaining 5% will pass thru, as well as a boatload everything else smaller than 0.3 microns including all viruses. MERV 20 is the most efficient filter available. These HEPA filters are capable of trapping 99.99997% of air particles 0.3 to 1.0 microns. The remaining 0.00003% of particles between 0.3 to 1.0 microns will pass thru, as well as a smaller boatload of particles less than 0.3 microns including all viruses.

    Ever notice in TV commercials for cleaners and disinfectants that nothing ever kills 100% of anything; it’s always 99.9-something percent. If even one virion enters the body, it is enough to infect you. If anything gets through (and it always does, irrespective of the mask), then you are going to be infected.

    If you want to read more on this subject, check out this June 2020 article appearing in River Cities Reader: Masks Don’t Work, A review of science relevant to COVID-19 social policy, Denis G. Rancourt PhD, Researcher, Ontario Civil Liberties Association (ocla.ca). Here is the link to the pdf:
    https://www.rcreader.com/sites/default/files/Denis%20G.%20Rancourt%20PhD%20April%202020%20%22Masks%20Don%27t%20Work%3A%20A%20review%20of%20science%20relevant%20to%20COVID-19%20social%20policy%22.pdf

    Finally, this thought. Masks address blocking the virus transmission pathway from air to the respiratory system via nose and mouth. However, the pathway from air to the body thru the eyes still remains unimpeded even using a face shield, which is as effective as an open double-hung window holding back water in a submarine.

    • If even one virion enters the body, it is enough to infect you.

      No, it’s not.

      The remaining 5% will pass thru, as well as a boatload everything else smaller than 0.3 microns including all viruses.

      Common misconception. Dry particles and wet particles behave differently. Pore size is not the only variable when dealing with a material and liquids. Hygroscopic/hydrophobic characteristics are important bc it’s also about absorption and not only about filtration.

      • There are different grades of masks and respirators.
        In 1995, a patent was awarded for the process of giving the N95 respirator an electrostatic charge.
        The efficacy is proven.
        Only a damn dummy would insist on an incorrect opinion instead of actually doing some minimal fact checking first.
        Or maybe a narcissistic anti-social blowhard who thinks posting his professional status with his name makes him more likely to know what he is talking about.
        Being educated and uninformed is no badge of honor.

  42. “Locking your door may help to prevent burglary. Or may not. A circuit breaker may prevent electric fire. Though often they don’t. Seat belt… etc.”
    Your “analogy” falls flat on its face, as does the entirety of your argument. Logic is not your strong point I guess.

  43. https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article244473917.html

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0868-6

    I will add this,

    there is now research that indicates the severity of the infection depends upon the innoculum.
    basically like a dose response. Less virus, less severe disease. with the crusie ship that went to the antarctic

    https://thorax.bmj.com/content/75/8/693

    masks were handed out to everyone…

    81% of those getting sick were asymptomatic.

    • there is now research that indicates the severity of the infection depends upon the innoculum.

      I’ve seen unpublished data that points in the opposite direction. No correlation of viral load to disease severity. Other intrinsic individual factors at play though. I guess the manuscript will be published soon.

      But there is another manuscript at medrxiv from Lausanne, Switzerland that also points out that there might be no correlation between inoculation and severity although they don’t describe an underlying mechanism.

    • mosher posted the link https://thorax.bmj.com/content/75/8/693

      Very interesting. Most were aymptomatic (81%) with19% presenting symptoms and 1 person died (.8%). I dont know the age of the individual who died or if he/she has other underlying issues. Also, I assume (because I didnt see it in the article) that they only gave surgical masks on day 3 to everyone onboard AFTER the first person presented symptoms. Maybe I missed something but from the story I can’t tell if masks were required from day 1 of the voyage (I assume they weren’t). if this is accurate, then many board had already been exposed by day 3 so masks would only work going forward from that point (59% in total were infected). If this is not accurate and masks were required from day 1, then the masks didn’t work or they had the worst luck with half of onboarding passegers coming aboard infected.

      the biggest takeaway I got was .8% death rate. my state has @6% death rate. maybe the ship sample is too small but my opinion is that many deaths categorized as covid deaths are actually deaths with covid (but not from covid) and deaths presenting covid-like symptoms (but no test to confirm covid was present). this is a big problem if we want to get an accurate picture of covid. the CDC did no favors for advancing science with the guidelines they published in med to late April.

      • At the moment it’s impossible to determine if intubated patients die from the virus or with the virus because invasive ventilation and the virus (supposedly) produce the exact same pathologies, i.e., out-of-control immune response, hyper-inflammation, microthrombosis and mutiple organ failure.

        • Wrong. Patients don’t get ventilation if they are not hypoxic. They will die w/o intervention. If they die they die not bc of ventilation. If they survive they survive bc of it. No intervention = death.

          You are also confusing cause and causation. Patients have already coagulation and hyper-inflammation before they get on the ventilator. There are papers that describe these markers as predictors for severe disease course later on.

          If there are better more efficient ways of saving the patients is another topic.

          • Patients are intubated as a matter of policy, not physiology. Hospitals are afraid of aerolsolized virus and consequently have adopted the policy of intubating patients early without regard to physiology. That is unethical and disastrous. Doctors who are not rushing to intubate patients are having good results (i.e., patients not dying and leaving hospital early) with high flow oxygen and proning, which disproves your claim that patients would die without intubation. For example:

            Please do not intubate too early! … I keep hearing that we are intubating for sat. in 80’s-70’s immediately, instead of a trial of none invasive like high flow oxygen for fear of patients crashing… in 4 months, i am yet to see that crash. … rush intubation is game over!!

            https://twitter.com/DFarcy/status/1282051526912024576

            Point me to a paper in which a patient had the markers of hyper-inflammation before being intubated. Lung x-rays and CTs don’t count. It only takes an hour or two after a patient is intubated for inflammatory markers to notably increase.

          • You understand that if something is supposed to have predictive value it has to be measured before the treatment, do you?

            I am not here to do a journal club for you. Look at the paper or not. Everyone who’s interested to know the science can check for himself.

            which disproves your claim that patients would die without intubation.

            That was not my claim. Try again.

          • Yeah it was your claim:

            They will die w/o intervention. If they die they die not bc of ventilation. If they survive they survive bc of it. No intervention = death.”

            If intervention above doesn’t mean ventilation then you are just a confusing communicator.

          • Intervention =/ ventilation. An intervention is anything you do to a patient by definition. No intervention = doing nothing.

            But that would explain why you have such difficulties understanding scientific literature cause precise reading and deciphering the jargon is key there.

          • You’re just a damn pompous idiot. You’re desperate to look like an authority while saying things that make you look like a fool. You’re not trying to have an intelligent discussion; you’re just throwing up flack to sow confusion and feed your own ego.

          • It is very hard to have an intelligent discussion if one part is defying conventions about what a word means in a specific context and just making things up.

            Definitions are crucial for science to be on the same page and avoid confusion.

        • I say supposedly because it’s been known for decades and is well documented that ventilators cause the pathologies I mentioned, but the virus is only presumed to do so. Until a deceased covid patient who was not intubated is autopsied, we will never know if the pathologies were caused from being ventilated or from the virus.

          • There have been autopsies w/o ventilation before. Here two patients died at home w/o ventilation, paper about microthrombrosis:

            https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(20)30178-4/fulltext

            Here three out of seven patients didn’t get ventilation:

            https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-2003#t1-M202003

            The Lancet paper cites six more references [6,7,10-11,22,25] about autopsies but it’s not my job to look for you there how many cases more didn’t receive ventilation.

          • Unless I missed it, the second paper says 2 patients died outside of hospitals, but not that they never were in a hospital. I read of several accounts of patients who after being released from hospitals died of thrombosis.

            In the second paper I count 5 that were ventilated and 2 that died at home. Also, microthrombosis is not specific to covid, e.g., sepsis.

            Not convincing enough evidence for me.

          • To be convincing, a study would have to autopsy deceased patients who had no co-morbidities and who had not been intubated. Then we could get a clear signal about covid’s real pathogenesis.

          • To be convincing, a study would have to autopsy deceased patients who had no co-morbidities

            Nonsense, there’ve been controls of other non-COVID-19 ARDS fatalities which just did not show the same kind of pathology.

            Stop putting up a straw man. Your initial claim was the pathology was coming from the treatment and not from the virus. I told you people are not put on ventilators when they are not hypoxic.

            Then you said you don’t believe people without ventilation would have clots and inflammation. Then I showed you that there are people like that.

            Now you claim you only believe it when people would have no co-morbidities. Completely ignoring the fact that obese people don’t die suddenly on random basis at large numbers by inflammation and thrombosis. They. Don’t. Do. That.

            What will be next?

          • You’re just trying to twist everything I say around without addressing the real issue which is: covid’s claimed pathologies are indistinguishable from those produced by ventilators. Why don’t you address that? The pathologies you keep referring to are not unique to covid. Some things may be more prevalent with covid, but so is intubation.

          • “…obese people don’t die suddenly on random basis at large numbers by inflammation and thrombosis. They. Don’t. Do. That.”

            They do when they’re on ventilators for weeks. Ventilators would, and do, ki!ll even healthy people.

          • covid’s claimed pathologies are indistinguishable from those produced by ventilators. Why don’t you address that?

            I did. You are just too dense to understand it.

            I showed you data about autopsied patients who have never been on a ventilator so how the f… could a ventilator responsible for the findings?!

          • The data you provided is inconclusive. The 2nd study was only an abstract that didn’t say if the patients were intubated. The out-patients could have been formerly intubated patients who were released from the hospital and later died at home. The first study mentions 2 patients who were not intubated who sound like they had pre-existing heart issues; so their inflammation and thromboses may have been due to that.

            Mr Smartypants thinks that’s conclusive data to make his point, but doesn’t want to acknowledge the well-documented research that shows mechanical ventilation causes the same pathologies attributed to covid. You can’t accurately measure a signal if you ignore the noise component, Mr, Smartypants.

          • And in case my last sentence was too hard for you to grasp, covid pathogenesis is the signal and mechanical ventilator pathogenesis is the noise. Characterize and filter the noise first, then measure the signal. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

          • You just can’t read and understand scientific papers. You are thinking you are critical but you are just ignorant and full of confirmation bias. That makes you look like a fool, do you know that?

            so their inflammation and thromboses may have been due to that.

            You don’t get inflammation and full of microthrombi in your lungs bc of a heart attack. You don’t. Stopp making up things in your mind that are not backed up by any medical evidence.

            The “noise” was taken care of by autopsies of ARDS patients w/o COVID-19 which didn’t have a similar pathology. In science we call that control.

    • Also, Steven M,

      Everybody does not shed viruses the same, and everybody is not infected by the same dose. Also, the chances of getting infected by just passing in close proximity to somebody appear to be quite small.

      Infection requires more prolonged contact than just passing by somebody or just being in the vicinity of infectious agents for a relatively brief time.

      Working a full shift in an ER is one thing. Shopping at Lowe’s for twenty minutes is another.

      Reducing all people to the same infectious status, and reducing all physical situations to the same infectious threat is childishly over simplistic thinking, where intimate human freedoms are concerned.

      • Infection requires more prolonged contact than just passing by somebody or just being in the vicinity of infectious agents for a relatively brief time.

        Having a brief lunch back to back in a company’s cafeteria was sufficient to transmit the disease as cluster analysis showed.

          • It’s not inconsistent, it’s all about chances.

            That something can be sufficient to transmit the virus doesn’t mean it happens in 100% of the cases.

            That’s the whole point of wearing masks: decreasing the risk not setting it to zero. Like seatbelts.

  44. Until the ‘Cancel Culture’ is dealt with debate and science dies.
    It seems to me that those that are involved in destroying someone’s life should be libel for the outcome. RICO was formed to deal with the mob, there is a new mob now, deal with it. If instead of jail time lawyers could go after n$-damages for being a conspirator involved in a group collusion to destroy a persons life because that person did not believe as the ‘group’ did.
    I thank CR for this post and the comments it has generated.

  45. I wear a mask to be polite. I doubt if it really makes anything safer, but it keeps other people from accusing me of irresponsibility.

    I thwart viral infection by wearing my lucky Hoyt Axton t-shirt. I have always worn that shirt in good health.

  46. We still don’t have a vaccine for any coronavirus as far as I’m aware…. or a pneumonia cure/vaccine. Did Nicholas intend to kill grandma back in february2020 when he wasn’t wearing a mask? Did he hate people the way he says I hate people now? Were masks produced prior to march2020 ineffective so that’s why Nick wasn’t wearing one back in february2020? Has the politization of Covid rendered much of the science done post march2020 regarding masks scewed (at least the science too controversial for youtube videos and on the reknowed and famous science blog Twitter)?

  47. Masks work. They don’t work 100% but that is not necessary to slow down the spread. Just stochastics.

    Even if they reduce the risk of a non-infected person to get the virus only by 10% and the chance of an infected person to spread the virus by 20% you get altready p = 0.9 x 0.8 = 0.72 if both wear a mask. Nearly 30% decrease. That’s already quite substantial. But probably highly underestimating the effect.

    • I agree that masks work.
      An understanding of the concept of Marginal cost – Marginal benefit

      A lot of time, money and costs are diverted to the enforcement of wearing masks where the risk of transmission is already zero or near zero. In those environments, the masks provide virtually zero additional / marginal benefit. On the other hand, where the risk of transmission is much higher, the mask is not required or the mask is insufficient to substantively reduce the risk of transmission.

      I am not objecting to wearing a mask where it does help reduce the spread. I do object to wearing the mask where the mask doesnt reduce the risk of transmission.

      • I do object to wearing the mask where the mask doesnt reduce the risk of transmission.

        That statement is somewhat nonsensical because there are only two scenarios where that would be the case:

        1) The risk is already 0% otherwise masks would still decrease the risk further even if from 0.1 to 0.099.

        2) The risk is not decreased by wearing a mask at all for what there would have to be a very high concentration of viral particles to be around.

        • I gotta work on proofreading my statements.
          should have stated that I object to wearing facemask where the reduction in the risk of transmission is trivial.

          the other point that seems to overlooked is the protocols are inadequate where the risk is high and far too strict where the risk of transmission is miniscule, yet the protocols are treating all areas as if the risk of transmission is the same

          • The uncertainties about different situation’s transmission risks are just too big to give well-suited advise at the moment so the only working option is to apply more precaution than is probably necessary.

            Which is definitively better than the other way around.

            In my opinion the fastest way to recover the economy is to push the prevalence down and get people used to wear masks in places of gatherings with unknown people that they can live their lives otherwise as much as before.

          • Ron’s statement – “In my opinion the fastest way to recover the economy is to push the prevalence down and get people used to wear masks in places of gatherings with unknown people that they can live their lives otherwise as much as before.”

            The current approach – ie trying to contain the virus is the better short term solution – but the far worse mid-term and long term solution.
            The fastest way to reach a solid long term solution is to let the virus spread so that there is sufficient immunity in the population.

            The current approach is to the long term detriment of the human immune system.

          • Ron’s statement – “In my opinion the fastest way to recover the economy is to push the prevalence down and get people used to wear masks in places of gatherings with unknown people that they can live their lives otherwise as much as before.”

            The current approach – ie trying to contain the virus is the better short term solution – but the far worse mid-term and long term solution.
            The fastest way to reach a solid long term solution is to let the virus spread so that there is sufficient immunity in the population.

            The current approach is to the long term detriment of the human im

          • The fastest way to reach a solid long term solution is to let the virus spread so that there is sufficient immunity in the population.

            That statement has at least two assumptions:

            1) There is long lasting immunity.

            2) The infection fatality rate is low.

            A vaccine is not our only option. If treatments get established that lower the fatality rate to that of a flu season things might get back to normal.

    • What does “slow down the spread” mean?

      Does this mean that it will take longer for me to get it? If so, then I’d rather get it now, and get on with it. I don’t want to get it later, if I am going to get it anyway.

      Doesn’t “slowing the spread” also mean prolonging the duration? Who wants to see it drag on for months and months, when it could have been done with, if we had not slowed it down?

      Actually, the death spike is done, as I read the graphs. So what is it that we are now trying to “slow”? — cases?

      Cases are consequences of discovering something already there. Cases are events of detection, NOT events of infection. If we want to slow detection, then we should slow testing.

    • then why r we not wearing masks year round and everywhere? covid is not the only virus/bacteria that spreads via droplets/coughing/sneezing. dis u hate grandma too back in february2020 prior to covid?

  48. This site has always been the champion of common sense. Wearing masks is common sense. To state otherwise is twisting logic like a pretzel.

    • Wrong. Wearing masks is akin to a religion. It is the mask-Believers who twist logic to fit their mask ideology.

    • Have another pretzel, then, JV, because, as I see it, the pretzel makers are the mass maskers.

      It’s sickening to see the backtracking by those who formerly fully stated the inadequacy of evidence to support the level of mass control we now see.

      I positively have no objections whatsoever to your wearing your mask, but do not force it upon me. You might say that everybody has to wear one in order for them to work. I could say the same about smoking — unless everybody stops, then the contagious behavior still persists to infect the minds of young people with the idea that smoking is still an allowable option. [One BILLION people world wide smoke, and eight MILLION deaths PER YEAR are attributed to smoking].

      How about we require diners in restaurants to carry government-guided food-groups charts, and they are only allowed to order, if they present their official chart. They must also order a balance selection of foods. Or, let’s do weight checks and skin fold measures at the door to assess body mass index — if it’s above the recommendation, then you have to eat in a separate area, where food selections and eating practices are monitored for the good of others, since obesity is costing others dearly too.

  49. Has the effects of using masks buy an infected person been looked at in relation to that persons health in not being able shed the virus?

    • I was not going to add to the comment thread, as most of my argument has already been said. The O/P refers to the study by Leung et al, published in Nature May2020 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2). What he didn’t mention was that 29% (72 out of 246) were asymptomatic (didn’t cough at all during the 30 minute testing period) and the researchers were unable to detect any viral particles in the exhaled breath – with or without masks. (Note: the viri present were that season’s ‘flu, rhinovirus (head cold) and coronavirus (‘common’ cold), not the current SARS-2 coronavirus).

      I have no reason to doubt this result and the paper mentions the bafflement of the researchers as to why this should be. To me, the next logical conclusion to draw is that asymptomatic sufferers (those who do not cough) do not shed virus. However, several commenters above state that asymptomatic people ARE infectious. Presumably both statements cannot be true, so what recent testing has been done to shown that asymptomatic WuFlu patients ARE infectious?

  50. Sweden was told told to expect 124,000 deaths before the 1st of August.
    In Sweden 5697 people have died. That’s around 118,000 fewer than the doomsayers.
    Amazingly, thousands more deaths are still being predicted.
    Yesterday, 9 people died.
    What does this mean? It means a lot more people die of heart disease in Sweden, than by Covid.

    To see how utterly ludicrous the forecasts were for Sweden, check this out:
    https://sarahwestall.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/coronavirus-deaths-in-sweden-actual-deaths-vs-ferguson-projections-may-8-update-800×626.png

    I keep seeing garbage articles from the US and British media, but they never mention that the deaths in Sweden are trending towards zero – with the health care system not having been overwhelmed, and without having destroyed their economy. Sweden is not embarking on a dangerous, radical experiment. It’s the rest of the world that is.

    The rest of the world should butt out and take care of themselves. Unlike the British and the Americans, Swedes understand that you can’t hide from a virus,

  51. Forget masks ,we need prayer.
    For praying to the Proper Gods will protect you from this virus about as effectively as paper masks,poorly used.
    And the infighting over which Gods are the “proper Gods” in this case would be about as productive as arguing over the effectiveness of mask wearing.
    Especially since few bother to define the mask in question.
    Half respirators with appropriate filters might provide some protection,but a designer handkerchief pulled up over over the nose?
    Yet all are Masks and meet the directive.
    Most are useless,especially when hanging off of one ear.

  52. Public Official A advice on masks wrt Covid-19:

    “Wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces will help reduce virus transmission”

    Public Official B advice on masks wrt Covid-19:

    “Wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces will help reduce virus transmission due to making you and the people around you uncomfortable, less sociable, and might help contain a sneeze or cough, however, they must be worn correctly and be replaced or cleaned on a regular basis. In some situations they do nothing at all, and in some specific situations may actually increase the chances of you becoming infected.”

    Question: Which Public Official is more likely to be elected? (or reelected)

    🙂

    Ethan Brand

  53. I skimmed comments but did not see any mention of facial hair, beards, stubble, etc. Unless clean shaven, mask effectiness is near zero, because air takes route of least resistance. Ie unfiltered pathway.

    Anyone with a beard and a mask is either virtue signalling or compliant ( avoiding fines).

  54. I think I figured out what is driving the governors of the USA to manically mandate mass masking — MODEL projections of mandated universal face masks by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

    One MODEL !

    MODEL !

    NOT reality, NOT rationality, NOT level headed reasoning, but … a MODEL.

    Of friggin’ course, it’s all being driven by …. a … MODEL.

  55. I’ve found that Fenofibrate reduces the amount of material available for the virus to replicate with. My covid is nothing more than common cold at the moment

  56. Well, FWIW, Goldman Sachs thinks that universal mask wearing would reduce the damage to the economy by about a trillion (yes, that’s a T) dollars and reduce the hit to GDP by about 5%.

    https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/pages/face-masks-and-gdp.html

    Goldman is not political. Their only interest is in what makes money, and they stand to lose a lot if they’re wrong, so they put some serious effort into evaluating the available information.

    I’d be interested hear our resident statistician’s opinions on the data presented in the Goldman report.

  57. I would like to see anyone show data in the US where the infection rate (positive/tested) changed *as a result of a mask mandate*. In my review, I did not see any step changes or increases in the rate of infection reduction (steeper slope from high to low) from a trend before the mandate within three weeks of a mandate.

    • Yeah, it’s funny how the mask mandates in the states seem to come exactly at the points where case numbers show a steep rise, as if it is a universal knee-jerk panic reaction. Like, Oh hell, lockdowns didn’t work, let’s try this. … Oh hell, that didn’t work, let’s try this?

      Panic management, NOT sound management. I’ve seen it in business before — it’s just stupid. Sorry, but I’m loosing patience.

    • Shelli:

      I would like to see anyone show data in the US where the infection rate (positive/tested) changed *as a result of a mask mandate*.

      It seems to me that’s an unreasonable expectation outside of a strictly controlled environment.

      In my review, I did not see any step changes or increases in the rate of infection reduction (steeper slope from high to low) from a trend before the mandate within three weeks of a mandate.

      Doesn’t this presuppose that masks are the key to infection reduction, and not merely one piece of a larger puzzle?

      If so, is that presupposition reasonable?

      • I agree with what you said and that is exactly my point.

        Comparing one country to another with mask wearing ignores all factors including different strains (which may have slightly different infection modalities which I do not see a lot of people considering), societal difference, ability and desire to contact trace effectively, etc.- the only way to prove impact of a change is in the same population.

        I do not think mask wearing makes a significant impact and even in the same population we do not realistically know much about mask usage before and after mandates, however, surely, somewhere there would be something, to indicate a change occurred if there is an actual benefit in the same population… or how can we justify a mandate?

        • surely, somewhere there would be something, to indicate a change occurred if there is an actual benefit in the same population… or how can we justify a mandate?

          As to the former, again, I don’t see how you’re going to see any indication of change scientifically provable without a strictly controlled environment. There’s just too much going on. It just might be that the rate of infection WAS reduced by some unknown degree, but that’s almost like trying to prove when you stopped beating your husband, if you know what I mean by that legal reference?

          You’re almost asking to prove a negative by proving what DIDN’T happen. Very difficult.

          As to the latter, do you focus on the “mandate” portion because it offends your sensibilities re: freedom? This isn’t a judgmental question on my part, i.e., I’m not judging you if the former is true, but rather more an invite to introspection. I like my freedom too.

          If you know for example that you could be asymptomatically infected (thus you don’t know it), therefore that viable virus particles exist and could be propagated to others via your breath, does your freedom NOT to wear a mask override the other guy’s freedom not to be infected by you?

          Again, I’m not making judgments, I’m just asking questions that interest me.

          See this study referenced by Steven Mosher below:

          https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.13.20041632v1.full.pdf

  58. A few thoughts…

    COVID 19 has infected just south of 4.2 million people in this country. That represents 1/3rd of 1%.
    Covid has killed 146,000 (which includes all those that died not only exclusively “from” COVID but those that died “with” COVID (like George Floyd) in this country. That represents 4/100ths of 1%. The recovery rate for COVID 19 is on average 95%. And we shut down the economy and forced people to shelter in place for 4 months and are forcing everyone to wear masks.

    My question is this. The H1N1 infected 60.8 million people in this country in 2009. That is nearly 14.5 times more that COVID 19. Why didn’t we shut down the economy and tell people to shelter in place and wear face masks then?

    • Why didn’t we shut down the economy and tell people to shelter in place and wear face masks then?

      One reason might be because the H1N1 virus is estimated to have killed 12,469 people during a one year period:

      “From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated that there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (8,868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.*”

      https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/burden-of-h1n1.html

      As of right now, death estimates for the U.S. in a mere 5 months are around 150,000, over 10 times that of H1N1:

      https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

      • Also, I do not know of anyone who did anything different back in 2009.
        I was barely aware that there was something bad going around.
        How would this virus have progressed if no one had done anything different?
        Even in the places with no lockdown, people did change behavior markedly.

        I also think that for several reasons, we do not know how many people have really died of or with the virus.
        There were undercounts and overcounts, and probably some shenanigan’s here and there.
        But also people who died at home who never went to a hospital and were not counted in the official tallies.
        I do not recall the exact numbers, but in NYC it was found that many people were known to have not been counted because they only counted people who had been diagnosed and died in a hospital or other facility. They did not count anyone who died at home.
        So it is unknowable.
        And the lockdowns make it difficult, probably impossible, to compare overall death rates with rates from previous years as a means of indirectly determining the likely range of numbers of deaths.

        Plus a lot of people got very sick and then lived. Many of them have severe lung damage and scarring. Other mild damage, but permanent. And other types of organ damage.
        No telling, but we know it is substantial.
        With flu, people real sick and then are fine ten days later.
        There are no massive numbers in the hospital with viral pneumonia.
        Maybe the CDC gets funding my going in front of congress and making up some crap about tens of millions of people with the flu every year.

        I can believe two things at once very easily: The whole thing is blown out of proportion, but it is still very bad as pandemics go.
        Someone could have played hopscotch in the middle of Times Square with headphones on for weeks straight without ever needing to look up to get out of the way of a car.
        So who really can say what would have happened if it was business as usual?
        I can believe it would have been a lot worse while also believing it would not have been Biblical.
        Maybe we will have some hurricanes, bad earthquakes, and a volcano or two over the next several months, to make up for all the people who cheated death?

        • “Plus a lot of people got very sick and then lived. Many of them have severe lung damage and scarring. Other mild damage, but permanent. And other types of organ damage.”

          This is not really meaningful until it is determined which of those patients were intubated. All of those things are side effects of mechanical ventilation so there’s no way to ascribe their cause to just covid with any certainty..

          • It is meaningful for the purpose of comparing it to the flu where more people got the virus but far fewer died and few wound up intubated by comparison.

        • Robert:

          Can we trust all those death attributions to COVID-19

          No, not all of them. But if you’re asking me to believe that +/- 138,000 deaths (and growing) currently attributed to C-19 (thus making a valid comparison to H1N1 at +/- 12,000) are ALL bogus, I think you’re being irrational.

          E.g., I think we pretty much know for certain that Dr. Death Senior Slayer Cuomo has almost 3x more deaths in his state ALONE attributed to C-19 than all that the CDC has attributed to H1N1. At some future point in time we’ll know more and hopefully, better. Do you really believe that number is going to be significantly reduced such that only 12,000 people will have died from COVID?

          There’s reasonable doubt, and then there’s unreasonable doubt. Don’t fall too far on the latter to justify your assumptions re: freedom.

    • of course anti markers will have doubts. no data, but doubts

      What’s an “anti marker”

      The Chinese did a similar study that included surfaces, but some were concerned that the PCR test used to identify the virus could detect both viable and non-viable instances:

      https://tinyurl.com/y4zdbux4

      Yours seems to confirm viability. But are you bothered by this at the top of page one (emphasis added)?

      “medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.13.20041632. this version posted July 20, 2020. The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not certified by peer review) is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.”

  59. ““medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.13.20041632. this version posted July 20, 2020. The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not certified by peer review) is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.”

    Bothered? No, The findings confirm other findings that I read daily in Korea. For example, there is a recent
    increase in imported cases on Russian ships. Swabbing of the ships is indicating virus found on surfaces.
    What is new here is the actual air capture of viable virus. Most people misunderstand what peer review
    is for:
    A) ensuring the relevant literature is cited
    B) ensuring that there are no obvious errors
    C) ensuring that the description of the method is sufficient for replication.
    NOT confirming that the study is correct in every detail.

    What I am more concerned about is that they share their results but not their data.

    But they seem to achieved a first in culturing live virus. One of the authors is a ex DARPA GUY
    and so top of the art when it comes to these things. A few other researchers are working on replicating


    so bothered? Nope, It also confirms what we see daily in Korea: when there is a cluster, it starts with
    someone somewhere not wearing a mask, for example in Pocheon, 21 soldiers people infected:
    singing and improper mask wearing . Songpa-gu church: singing, improper mask wearing.
    There is a safety reporting application so that if you see policy violations you can report them.
    so being able to assign causality may improve. today they have to interview people and look at
    CCTV film of the meetings and church activities, etc

    also For people who enter the national service ( around 45-50K) they are all instructed to wear masks
    and are tested when they report to boot camp. 1 out of 46,000 tested positive. Since national service
    is compulsory nobody wants to miss their boot camp call up, so they wear the masks so they can
    pass the test and do their service

    Data on around 5500 cases is being released if you would like to apply to get access. but my sense is that you
    dont like data, you like doubt

    • What I am more concerned about is that they share their results but not their data.

      I couldn’t find the tables referenced in the text. All I could find were “Fig.1,” “Fig. 2,” etc. Guess I don’t know yet how to read these kinds of docs.

      Data on around 5500 cases is being released if you would like to apply to get access. but my sense is that you dont like data, you like doubt

      Because that’s what I did when I checked your Independence Day massacre prediction the day after? I just doubted it instead of calling you out with the actual numbers? It IS true that lately I enjoy the heck out of doubting YOU when it comes to certain things though.

      Anyway, data on what, mask wearing? Meh. Mask wearing seems like just so much common sense to me.

      I wouldn’t know what to do with a bunch of raw numbers anyway. Why don’t you hire and teach me how to do it?

  60. I wear a mask. The same one since day one. It is noticeably dirty. But it is COVID free because I limit the number of times I have to wear it – allowing at least 4 days in between.

    And it creeps people out. That’s a good thing. The goal is to get back to not wearing masks. So many people have forgotten that. If all the lockdown measures do is prolong – and the recent spikes seem to actually prove that – then let’s get on with it now that lethality is down for whatever the reason.

    • I suppose you could say the same thing about your underwear. Wearing a dirty mask is gross, not to mention what other pathogens you are spreading around.

    • Hopefully they’ll take their HCQ or nebulized budesonide and stay out of a hospital, or worse case find a competent hospital that is able to treat patients without intubating them. Don’t say it can’t be done because doctors around the world are proving that specious claim to be false.

  61. So, you think your simple, woven-cloth face mask is preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from yourself to your neighbors, right?

    Okay, let’s follow somebody who uses a mask. Let’s say that they have the virus, they don’t know that they have the virus, and they have no symptoms. They, thus, are probably breathing out the virus. But they are wearing a cloth face mask.

    With each breath they exhale, they breathe out some virus particles in tiny droplets and some virus particles in even tinier aerosols. The bigger droplets hit the spaces between the threads of the cloth, and probably hang there a bit, where viruses in that spit contained for the moment. Never mind what might happen to those pore-suspended droplets after the pressure of successive breaths impacts them – that’s another set of unknowns.

    Meanwhile, the aerosol particles containing the virus sometimes hit the threads and are held there for a moment, and sometimes the aerosols go through the spaces, because they are THAT small, and get out. Maybe some of the subsequent aerosols on subsequent exhales stick in the bigger droplets stuck in the pores of the cloth, adding to the concentration of viruses at that pore. Some of the aerosols blow out the edges of the mask, where there is no tight seal to retard the flow of air carrying them.

    So, some virus particles are getting held back, stuck to the mask, and some are getting out. The mask is building up a concentration of the virus particles. The mask is also reflecting back some of the virus particles, probably driving them up your nose in a greater concentration than if you were not wearing the mask. Also, more viruses are bouncing back to land on your facial skin underneath the mask, creating a greater concentration of viruses on your face than would be there, if you were not wearing the mask. You now have a virus trap on your face, and you have a face and nose more fully loaded with viruses than if you did not have a mask. Okay, small price to pay, you might say – you are protecting your neighbor.

    Are you? Eventually you touch your mask, right, and then you touch other things with hands that touched the mask. Where are you placing the mask, after you touch it to take it off? Did you wash your hands, after you took it off? Did you wash your face? Did you store the mask in a plastic bag, used only for that mask, or did you stuff it in your pocket, your purse, your glove compartment, pull it under your neck, hang it off an ear, … ? Did you wash the plastic bag that served to store and isolate your virus trap? Did you wash your mask? Did you do this every single time you put the mask on and took the mask off? Are you doing this every two hours, all day long, every day of the week? I don’t think so.

    This is what it would take to enable a mask to be even marginally effective, if it were effective at all. This, of course, is absurdly impractical and ridiculously impossible for most people to do. Most people do not understand chain of contamination. Most would not be even marginally willing to do what it takes to control the chain of contamination.

    I’m hearing stories of nurses working at retirement villages calling strict mask mandates bullshit, only going along in order to keep their jobs, because somebody higher up who can sit comfortably unmasked in a private office controls them in accordance with official policies that look good on paper to the people writing them.
    I continue to see restaurant employees doing all the wrong things with masks, because there is no practical, reasonable way to enforce strict chain-of-contamination protocols with people doing everyday jobs.

    Universal masking is a bad joke – a joke because what is actually happening with mask wearing is anything but effective, and bad because intelligent people know this and continue to support this in the name of good will towards one’s fellow human.

    • Bob:

      So, you think your simple, woven-cloth face mask is preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from yourself to your neighbors, right?

      Well . . . no.

      🙂

  62. Let’s not forget that N95 and P2 are designed for micron size of 0.35 or greater filtration and should be professionally fitted. The “covid-19” micron size is 0.125 . So, sorry, even these do not filter a virus which is airborne.

    One more fact: Vermonters now have to wear face masks outdoors in public if 6 foot distance cannot be maintained. Right. I guess the health officials forget that the 2016/17 flu season in Vermont led to 91 deaths of influenza-like-illness. Right now we have 56 deaths of “covid-19” like-illness. Does this mean we should wear masks every flu season? After all, the flu seems a bit more dangerous than “covid” in Vermont.

    Regards

    AK in VT

    p.s. Why is the president letting everyone run amuck and take control of the government he is supposed to be managing? Why is he not doing the job of stirring up and encouraging the people to better times?

    • Sorry, you do not know what you are talking about.

      The virus is not expelled as single virions by themselves.
      No one thinks that.
      They are in droplets and aerosols of liquids from the airways and mouth.
      So what you are saying about the size of the virus is irrelevant.
      That is a fact.
      And N95 respirators need not be professionally fitted.
      They come in various sizes, and they are flexible.
      Our skin is flexible.
      Two rubber straps hold them against the face with sufficient force to forma seal with the skin.
      There is a bar that has to be bent by hand pressure around the nose.
      It is not complicated.

      What is complicated in the details, which no one needs to know for them to be at work, is the way they are made and how they trap stuff in the air that is inhaled.
      They are electrostatically charged.
      They attract and hold even particles smaller than the spaces.
      So some percentage of even very small particles like a single virus can be adsorbed onto the fibers in the mask, or pulled onto them by static electricity.
      Coughing and sneezing and even talking or labored breathing expels large droplets called “droplets”
      Droplets and aerosols are made of mucus or saliva and are sticky, another way they can be stopped by the mask regardless of size.
      But the most important detail is that they need not intercept all particles to offer protection.
      They are not meant to be perfect.
      They do not have to be.
      If two people are in a room, and both have one on, and one person has the virus, very little of what is exhaled by the infected person will exit the respirator.
      Very little of what is in the air will be inhaled by the uninfected person.
      How many virus particles one inhales is a very important factor that can mean getting very sick, or not getting ill at all, but having an asymptomatic case.

      What does N95 mean?
      It means 95% of particles of size 0.3 microns will be filtered.
      Larger particles have almost no chance or passing through.
      Smaller particles have a lower chance of being stopped, but some will be.

      But the main point of masks is that no one can know if they might be infected and spreading, since many people do not have symptoms, and others have mild ones, and the virus can spread before symptoms are present in people who will at some later point in time become symptomatic.

      So it is to a large degree missing the point to think all you need to think about is breathing it from someone else.
      Anyone may have it and not know it, with the exception of the people who have gotten it and then recovered. A small percentage of the population.

      https://first10em.com/aerosols-droplets-and-airborne-spread/

      https://www.honeywell.com/en-us/newsroom/news/2020/03/n95-masks-explained

  63. On a topic unrelated to the above article, Clyde Spencer stated “As I have remarked before, the problem with self-educated people is that they don’t realize what they don’t know. To compensate for that, they often act as though they are experts in fields where there are no experts.”

    Clyde’s observation is very pertinent to many of the comments following the above article, wherein CTM clearly stated at the start “The following is presented as is, for information only.”

    The only thing I might add to Clyde’s spot-on observation is a relevant comment from Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    • HOSPITAL SETTING. Using professional masks. Not homemade guaze ones like worked so well in 1918 with the Spanish flu. (Yes, some homemade masks have 3 layers, etc, but they are far, far from the quality of an n95 mask. If you can breathe easily through the mask, it might as well be gauze.)

  64. An interesting observation….those of us that do not wish to wear masks are perfectly content with those who wish to wear them. The same cannot be said for those who wear masks. I guess the old adage is true…
    Misery loves company. In fact it demands it.

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