Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Hamsters and Humanity

 

A recent study using hamsters to test the efficacy of wearing masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 appeared on various news sites.

Tests on hamsters showed wearing surgical masks can significantly reduce the non-contact transmission of the deadly Covid-19 virus, especially when masks were worn by infected individuals, according to a study led by HKU infectious disease expert Prof Yuen Kwok-yung.

The study, released on Sunday, shed light on an ongoing heated debate on whether wearing masks would help prevent the transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

In each set of the experiment, hamsters were separated in two groups and placed in two cages, with one of the groups infected with Covid-19.

In the first experiment, no surgical masks were placed between the two cages. In the second one, a surgical mask was placed closer to the healthy hamsters. In the third experiment, the mask was placed closer to the infected, as if the healthy ones or the infected were wearing masks.

To be clear, even without this experiment, it should have already been obvious that wearing a mask can help to prevent or minimize the spread or the contraction of COVID-laden droplets if one sneezes while wearing a decent mask or if anyone wearing a mask is close to someone who sneezes. Is it a foolproof way to protect against airborne COVID-laden droplets? Not really, because COVID-laden droplets can still land on one’s skin or penetrate one’s eye sockets if a heretofore uninfected person is close enough to an infected sneezer.

For more thorough protection, everyone should really wear full, hermetically-sealed hazmat suits and after taking them off at home each evening, conscientious citizens and their suits should be fully-scrubbed with long-handled brushes in steaming hot showers with soaps and industrial-grade sanitizers. If you walk your dog, then your dog should also have a hazmat suit. Some cats have tested positive for COVID-19, so they too should wear hazmat suits for everyone’s safety. Cats, unlike dogs, are not as obliging when it comes to wearing masks. So, full kitty cat-sized hazmat suits are recommended. In fitting your cat into a hazmat suit, it is recommended that you wear thick, padded gloves and other protective gear. But I digress. Back to hamsters. As yet, experiments testing the propagation of the COVID-19 virus with hamsters in full hazmat suits has not been conducted or, if conducted, the findings have, as yet, not been made available to media outlets.

Naturally, the Hong Kong researchers found that the spread of the virus was diminished when the hamsters just wore their scaled-down surgical masks. Not terribly earth-shattering. But to be serious for just a few seconds, I mean how useful is the study, really? Physiologically hamsters (like other small mammals) and humans have a lot of similarities in the way each species metabolizes various drugs or medicines or deals with viruses and bacteria…which is why hamsters or mice, or rats, or various species of primates are studied.

Extrapolating behavioral metrics to see what may be applicable to a population of humans also engaged in such activities can be a bit trickier and has at times been more controversial —like trying to gauge a group of hamsters’ interest in various cooking and gardening shows, or discerning their preferences for types of music, perfumes, colognes, dimly-lit bars, and esoteric tequila brands so as to enhance their probability of hooking up with hamsters of the opposite sex, or attempting to evaluate a male hamster’s willingness to do household chores after repeated nagging by female hamsters.

Thus in trying to extract or map out any more meaningful or more precise human metrics on the likely viral infection rates while wearing or not wearing masks from a study like this could be more challenging and might be met with a modicum of skepticism — because, despite any Kia Soul car commercials you may have seen (see photo above), and I’m going to spitball here, there are a few notable differences between hamsters and human beings (although some women reading this may beg to differ, having dated a hamster-like human or two in high school or college).

For example, it is my understanding for some time now, that humans tend to be taller than hamsters, even little humans, also referred to as children. For the most part, humans also tend to stand or walk erect on two feet (unless the human is driving a Kia Soul or other motorized vehicle or sitting at sidewalk café near the Seine sipping espresso with a Gauloise dangling from his or her lower lip, or sleeping or passed out drunk on an old beat-up sofa in a fraternity house. What I mean to say, is that for the most part, humans do not often crawl about on all fours like hamsters or crawl over one another as a matter of course in everyday life (unless, of course, the frat party has been raging for several hours).

When not under house arrest, humans also tend to inhabit or roam over more expansive spaces when out in public or even at home and are not typically confined to small cages unless they are tiny home fanatics…in that case, any study with hamsters in cages with humans will have more relevancy. I think one can argue that hamster cages typically used for laboratory research which are not as lavishly appointed as hamster cages in American suburban households with rock climbing walls, Jacuzzis®, tanning booths, and little Pelatons® and are for the most much more confining and overcrowded spaces that they must share with other furry inhabitants of said cage that often crawl over one another and vastly different than say the inside of a Costco or Walmart store or any given supermarket. This argument, of course, completely falls apart when dealing with Black Friday sales in Best Buy. Black Friday sales aside, humans for the most part – even before social distancing – still tend to at least maintain respective “personal spacing” and don’t typically climb over and on top of one another like hamsters in a cage…unless it’s a really wild frat party…in that case, the hamster ergonomic model would be virtually identical.

Humans also tend to wear clothing. Hamsters do not…unless lab assistants, like many Shih Tzu owners, who have fitted these little rodents with their surgical masks get a bit silly and start clothing the hamsters in other apparel to look like police officers or bandits or damsels in distress to study various law enforcement scenarios or clothe hamsters in sombreros, ponchos, and various ethnic costumes to understand the dangers of cultural appropriation.

In summation, in order to better measure the efficacy of virus mitigation by the wearing of masks, rather than using hamsters, researchers really should incentivize human subjects to strip naked, allow themselves to be confined to small cages, and crawl over one another on their hands and knees while wearing and not wearing masks. Many college students and even some adults in certain social circles may already be engaged in such hamster-like activity where the transmission of various pathogens and other communicable diseases is quite prevalent. I suppose arguments can be made whether these groups should be more isolated from mainstream society and studied in more controlled settings…for general health reasons.

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  1. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WARNING! Do not read while eating or drinking unless you’re trying to convince a household member that you need a new computer.

    • #1
    • May 22, 2020, at 10:40 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Brian Watt: For more thorough protection, everyone should really wear full, hermetically-sealed hazmat suits and after taking them off at home each evening, conscientious citizens and their suits should be fully-scrubbed with long-handled brushes in steaming hot showers with soaps and industrial-grade sanitizers.

    Bah. Dump the duds in a barrel partially full of sand and oil and have the pages push it around the courtyard a few hundred times.

    • #2
    • May 22, 2020, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Hammer, The Member

    In other high-school science project news, young researchers at St. Joe’s over on 3rd have discovered, in a controlled experiment, that eggs dropped directly on porcelain were more likely to break than eggs dropped on carpet. Public health authorities have now recommended that all household showers be carpeted, and governor Newsom is holding a press release this afternoon, where he is expected to issue an executive order requiring all household showers to be carpeted in order to cut down on slip-and-fall shower deaths. Newsom was also made aware of another project in Mrs. Hanson’s class, where it was shown that soap-on-a-rope is less likely to be dropped, and is expected to incorporate these results into his order as well.

    • #3
    • May 22, 2020, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. Lockdowns Are Precious Coolidge
    Lockdowns Are Precious Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #4
    • May 22, 2020, at 1:52 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    This, of course, calls to mind the commercial:

    • #5
    • May 22, 2020, at 5:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Suggestion: Add a tag to this article: “That’s not funny.”

    • #6
    • May 22, 2020, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Full Size Tabby Member

    As I understand the process of the study, air was steadily blown across the cages for a week, after which the infection rate was measured. So while the experiment may show that mask material can reduce the transmission of the virus in general, the experiment does not necessarily support the idea that the reduction in transmission is of any practical consequence in transient encounters (such as people passing one another in stores) and when the virus is more dispersed (lower density) in general air circulation. Further experiments may end up supporting that idea. But this study does not by itself justify the categorical conclusion I have seen reported that everyone must wear masks everywhere. 

    • #7
    • May 23, 2020, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #8
    • May 23, 2020, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Front Seat Cat Member

    Leave the cute hamsters alone and the horseshoe bat in the cave!

    • #9
    • May 23, 2020, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Front Seat Cat Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    He has a better quality mask than me!

    • #10
    • May 23, 2020, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. MiMac Thatcher

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater consideration. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

    https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1/download

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-wearing-a-mask-can-reduce-transmission-by-75percent-new-study-claims.html

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/4/03-0628_article

    https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/369/bmj.m1435.full.pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843945/

    https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507

    • #11
    • May 23, 2020, at 5:03 PM PDT
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    • This comment has been edited.
  12. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater considerate. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

    https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1/download

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-wearing-a-mask-can-reduce-transmission-by-75percent-new-study-claims.html

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/4/03-0628_article

    https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/369/bmj.m1435.full.pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843945/

    https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507

    Wearing masks all the time, everywhere is completely inadequate. All human beings, pets – dogs, cats, pythons, bunnies, cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals – should all be wearing full hazmat suits that completely protect skin and open orifices like the eye sockets and the ears. In addition birds of any variety should be shot out of the sky or poisoned because their flapping wings only create mini-gusts and contribute to the circulation of COVID-laden droplets and micro-droplets. Failure to adopt these measures will result in the death of billions.

    • #12
    • May 23, 2020, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. MiMac Thatcher

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater considerate. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

    https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1/download

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-wearing-a-mask-can-reduce-transmission-by-75percent-new-study-claims.html

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/4/03-0628_article

    https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/369/bmj.m1435.full.pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843945/

    https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507

    Wearing masks all the time, everywhere is completely inadequate. All human beings, pets – dogs, cats, pythons, bunnies, cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals – should all be wearing full hazmat suits that completely protect skin and open orifices like the eye sockets and the ears. In addition birds of any variety should be shot out of the sky or poisoned because their flapping wings only create mini-gusts and contribute to the circulation of COVID-laden droplets and micro-droplets. Failure to adopt these measures will result in the death of billions.

    Or we can just remain ignorant and do what we feel like doing…….. 

    • #13
    • May 23, 2020, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. The Reticulator Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater consideration. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

    https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1/download

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-wearing-a-mask-can-reduce-transmission-by-75percent-new-study-claims.html

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/4/03-0628_article

    https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/369/bmj.m1435.full.pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843945/

    https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507

    Where did you get that list? I’ve done a quick scan of all the articles except one, sometimes just reading the subheadings, and it seems they constitute a pretty thin gruel. If this list is the best that can be used, I’d say the basis for wearing masks is hardly any stronger than the basis for using HCQ + Zinc as a prophylactic. We know mechanisms by which each could plausibly be expected to work, and both would seem to be low risk, low cost measures to take, so why not? But they’re certainly not up to FDA standards of evidence.

    I skipped the CNBC article, ‘cuz the news media are stupid.

    I didn’t skip the CDC article, even though Google/YouTube has been undermining its credibility by privileging it as a source. It was at least a research study, a retrospective study of the transmission of the SARS virus. There was a multivariate analysis in which one of the variables was, “did you wear a mask in public frequently.” That variable was statistically significant, but one doesn’t have to think too hard about the reliability of the answers and about the other behavioral variables that could be confounded with it, not all of which could possibly have been included in the variables studied. And it’s far from showing conclusively that wearing a mask made a difference.

    Some of the other articles are arguments rather than studies; others examine the mechanisms of operation.

    I’m not against wearing masks where it would seem they might do some good, but I’m not going to argue that there is good, solid evidence of the kind demanded by, say, the critics of HCQ + Zinc. I’m not sure it would even be ethical to do the kind of research needed to provide stronger evidence (a point mentioned in one of the articles).

     

    • #14
    • May 23, 2020, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. MiMac Thatcher

    The Reticulator-the evidence for masks is respectable enough (for respiratory viruses) to encourage their widespread use and the risk is low-you can’t say that for HCQ b/c there are studies showing increased mortality in COVID patients treated with it. Although those studies didn’t use zinc, zinc is generally theorized to help HCQ fight the virus-not to lessen its arrythmogenic side effects-which is believed to be the cause of the increased mortality with HCQ use. Because of the apparent increase in mortality you can’t responsibly urge the widespread use of HCQ with zinc until more studies are done. I expect such studies are already in progress so we should get an answer-finding an already in use medication to fight the virus would be a huge win.

    • #15
    • May 23, 2020, at 6:34 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater considerate. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

     

    Or we can just remain ignorant and do what we feel like doing……..

    This is from the WHO study cited in one of the links you posted (emphasis mine):

    The light-scattering experiment cannot see “micro-droplets” that are smaller than 5 microns and could contain some viral particles. But experts don’t think that these are responsible for much COVID-19 transmission.

    While just how much of a role these small particles play in transmission remains to be seen, recent research suggests that cloth masks are also effective at reducing the spread of these smaller particles.

    To date, some scientific publications provide initial evidence on whether the COVID-19 virus can be detected in the air and thus, some news outlets have suggested that there has been airborne transmission. These initial findings need to be interpreted carefully.

    A recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine has evaluated virus persistence of the COVID-19 virus.10 In this experimental study, aerosols were generated using a three-jet Collison nebulizer and fed into a Goldberg drum under controlled laboratory conditions. This is a high-powered machine that does not reflect normal human cough conditions. Further, the finding of COVID-19 virus in aerosol particles up to 3 hours does not reflect a clinical setting in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed—that is, this was an experimentally induced aerosol-generating procedure. 

    Look, it’s obvious that if an infected person sneezes or coughs on an uninfected person the odds of contracting any harmful virus is increased, if not likely. I believe I admitted as much early on in the OP.

    But there is a great deal that is still unknown and may not even be measurable – like the number of virus particles expelled/released during normal breathing. We also don’t have any way to know or to measure the number of COVID-laden droplets in open areas like parks, parking lots, beaches – anywhere outdoors where wind and sunshine may kill the virus.

    Typically, when people are sick they tend to stay home rather than infect others. If you are showing symptoms but still need to go out in public – by all means wear a mask.

    If you are healthy and asymptomatic, wearing a mask while walking or running or bicycling outside – especially in an open, uncrowded area – I would contend is not necessary – because the virus is not like nuclear fallout. But if you wish to wear a mask when doing these activities in these settings, no one is stopping you.

    Wearing masks everywhere does not make sense. But feel free do so.

    • #16
    • May 23, 2020, at 6:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. MiMac Thatcher

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Not hamsters- but read some data on masks. Humor is fun but saving our economy & our fellow citizens lives is worthy of greater considerate. There are many more bits of evidence supporting masks and they aren’t hard to find- just a few quick articles from a casual search:

     

    Or we can just remain ignorant and do what we feel like doing……..

    This is from the WHO study cited in one of the links you posted (emphasis mine):

    The light-scattering experiment cannot see “micro-droplets” that are smaller than 5 microns and could contain some viral particles. But experts don’t think that these are responsible for much COVID-19 transmission.

    While just how much of a role these small particles play in transmission remains to be seen, recent research suggests that cloth masks are also effective at reducing the spread of these smaller particles.

    To date, some scientific publications provide initial evidence on whether the COVID-19 virus can be detected in the air and thus, some news outlets have suggested that there has been airborne transmission. These initial findings need to be interpreted carefully.

    A recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine has evaluated virus persistence of the COVID-19 virus.10 In this experimental study, aerosols were generated using a three-jet Collison nebulizer and fed into a Goldberg drum under controlled laboratory conditions. This is a high-powered machine that does not reflect normal human cough conditions. Further, the finding of COVID-19 virus in aerosol particles up to 3 hours does not reflect a clinical setting in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed—that is, this was an experimentally induced aerosol-generating procedure.

    Look, it’s obvious that if an infected person sneezes or coughs on an uninfected person the odds of contracting any harmful virus is increased, if not likely. I believe I admitted as much early on in the OP.

    But there is a great deal that is still unknown and may not even be measurable – like the number of virus particles expelled/released during normal breathing. We also don’t have any way to know or to measure the number of COVID-laden droplets in open areas like parks, parking lots, beaches – anywhere outdoors where wind and sunshine may kill the virus.

    Typically, when people are sick they tend to stay home rather than infect others. If you are showing symptoms but still need to go out in public – by all means wear a mask.

    If you are healthy and asymptomatic, wearing a mask while walking or running or bicycling outside – especially in an open, uncrowded area – I would contend is not necessary – because the virus is not like nuclear fallout. But if you wish to wear a mask when doing these activities in these settings, no one is stopping you.

    Wearing masks everywhere does not make sense. But feel free do so.

    The problem is ASYMPTOMATIC spreaders- that is why mask wearing is advocated for the general population. Since a significant percent of infected patients show little or no symptoms yet can still spread the virus relying on symptoms won’t work. Obviously, wearing a mask during outdoor activity with significant distancing doesn’t make any sense either-this isn’t the measles. Studies in Asia have shown that people who wore masks during flu season there had a large reduction in catching the flu- (IIRC it was 50-60% reduction)- if we could get half that effectiveness we could reopen with much reduced chance of a spike in cases.

    • #17
    • May 23, 2020, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. The Reticulator Member

    MiMac (View Comment):
    The Reticulator-the evidence for masks is respectable enough (for respiratory viruses) to encourage their widespread use and the risk is low-you can’t say that for HCQ b/c there are studies showing increased mortality in COVID patients treated with it.

    The reasons for masks are good enough for me. I have seen no basis in the links you gave for saying the evidence is good. But how could it be? It would require a weird study, possibly unethical, to come up with that evidence.

    I’m not sure what “respectable” means in this context. Maybe that the right sort of non-deplorable people go along with it? 

    I’m not sure why HCQ for Covid is any more dangerous than HCQ for any of its other uses. Maybe somebody has come up with an explanation for that, but I’m not aware of it. I would presume that those doctors prescribing it would take into account the factors that might make it risky for a patient.

    My point remains, though, that the evidence for using HCQ rests on the same sort of foundation as the evidence for masks. I.e. no evidence of the kind that would be good enough for the FDA. Not that it would be reasonable to require such evidence at this time. Yes, there is some mortality risk with HCQ, but if you go looking for it in the right way I expect you’ll find there is a mortality risk with masks, too.

    • #18
    • May 23, 2020, at 7:25 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    The problem is ASYMPTOMATIC spreaders- that is why mask wearing is advocated for the general population. Since a significant percent of infected patients show little or no symptoms yet can still spread the virus relying on symptoms won’t work. Obviously, wearing a mask during outdoor activity with significant distancing doesn’t make any sense either-this isn’t the measles. Studies in Asia have shown that people who wore masks during flu season there had a large reduction in catching the flu- (IIRC it was 50-60% reduction)- if we could get half that effectiveness we could reopen with much reduced chance of a spike in cases.

    The “problem” of asymptomatic spreaders is not that clear cut. If the virus has been spread in this country since January, the greater the number of infected, asymptomatic carriers would indicate that a very small number of severe and deadly cases is quite minimal with New York City being the notable exception – since COVID hospitalizations are flattening which suggests that a vast majority of individuals can effectively resist and overcome the infection with little or no symptoms.

    We already know that the most vulnerable populations or those who are very elderly and already have health comprising or comorbidity issues. Protecting that population has been haphazard and in some cases recklessly negligent. Quarantining the entire population inhibits healthier individuals from building resistance and immunity and eventual herd immunity – something that is much more difficult in elderly populations who have had severe health issues – cancer, emphysema, kidney failure – where there immune systems have taken a hit and are no longer robust. Constant hand sanitizing and the wearing of masks also inhibits the ability for the human immune system to build a resistance to the virus. We can all wear masks for many months to come but individuals may be less able to resist the virus when the masks are no longer required. So, what may seem as an initial necessary positive may turn out to be harmful.

    • #19
    • May 23, 2020, at 7:38 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    As I understand the process of the study, air was steadily blown across the cages for a week, after which the infection rate was measured. So while the experiment may show that mask material can reduce the transmission of the virus in general, the experiment does not necessarily support the idea that the reduction in transmission is of any practical consequence in transient encounters (such as people passing one another in stores) and when the virus is more dispersed (lower density) in general air circulation. Further experiments may end up supporting that idea. But this study does not by itself justify the categorical conclusion I have seen reported that everyone must wear masks everywhere.

    Also, it doesn’t address whether mask performance changes when it gets moist as it would when a human wearer breathes through it. This is basically hamster porn wearing a science costume.

    • #20
    • May 23, 2020, at 10:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. MiMac Thatcher

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View MiMac (View Comment

    The “problem” of asymptomatic spreaders is not that clear cut. If the virus has been spread in this country since January, the greater the number of infected, asymptomatic carriers would indicate that a very small number of severe and deadly cases is quite minimal with New York City being the notable exception – since COVID hospitalizations are flattening which suggests that a vast majority of individuals can effectively resist and overcome the infection with little or no symptoms.

    We already know that the most vulnerable populations or those who are very elderly and already have health comprising or comorbidity issues. Protecting that population has been haphazard and in some cases recklessly negligent. Quarantining the entire population inhibits healthier individuals from building resistance and immunity and eventual herd immunity – something that is much more difficult in elderly populations who have had severe health issues – cancer, emphysema, kidney failure – where there immune systems have taken a hit and are no longer robust. Constant hand sanitizing and the wearing of masks also inhibits the ability for the human immune system to build a resistance to the virus. We can all wear masks for many months to come but individuals may be less able to resist the virus when the masks are no longer required. So, what may seem as an initial necessary positive may turn out to be harmful.

    Relying on our immune system to protect us means herd immunity. But opting for herd immunity is a last ditch option (other than prolonged lockdowns) b/c it implies accepting hundreds of thousands of deaths. We shouldn’t quarantine the non-infected-the lockdowns are clearly reaching a point of diminishing (or negative) returns. I believe the preferred option is reopen, protect the vulnerable, & use masks/social distancing where appropriate-this is to buy more time for drug& vaccine development. We are more likely to develop antivirals & vaccines than “anti-cytokine storm” therapy. We have not been able to create therapies to avoid ARDS (immune therapy) in other diseases despite efforts for decades so it think it isn’t likely we will now. If you object to masks and social distancing it is almost certain you won’t like trace & isolate regimes-they work in some Asian cultures but most Americans are much more averse to the intrusive surveillance that those countries used to be successful. Additionally, isolating the vulnerable is much harder than many think-many live with low risk people and to successfully protect them we need a massive testing system.

    • #21
    • May 24, 2020, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Relying on our immune system to protect us means herd immunity. But opting for herd immunity is a last ditch option (other than prolonged lockdowns) b/c it implies accepting hundreds of thousands of deaths. We shouldn’t quarantine the non-infected-the lockdowns are clearly reaching a point of diminishing (or negative) returns. I believe the preferred option is reopen, protect the vulnerable, & use masks/social distancing where appropriate-this is to buy more time for drug& vaccine development. We are more likely to develop antivirals & vaccines than “anti-cytokine storm” therapy. We have not been able to create therapies to avoid ARDS (immune therapy) in other diseases despite efforts for decades so it think it isn’t likely we will now. If you object to masks and social distancing it is almost certain you won’t like trace & isolate regimes-they work in some Asian cultures but most Americans are much more averse to the intrusive surveillance that those countries used to be successful. Additionally, isolating the vulnerable is much harder than many think-many live with low risk people and to successfully protect them we need a massive testing system.

    It’s not a question of relying on herd immunity to the exclusion of other treatments or possible remedies. Herd immunity is a natural process that happens when more individuals are exposed to the virus and their antibodies have an opportunity to fight and eradicate it. Preventing people from being out in public and forcing everyone to wear masks inhibits that process and actually has the potential of increasing hospitalizations. 

    Nowhere have I argued that vaccines and other drug therapies or interventions shouldn’t happen. But a safe and effective vaccine may not be widely available for another 12 months or more. And forcing everyone on the planet to take the vaccine just isn’t going to happen. Most people don’t take available flu vaccines now…and many of those vaccines are for flu strains that have come and gone and no longer pose a widespread threat. Are you going to be willing to stay in relative lockdown and be arrested or fined if you don’t wear a mask for the next 12 months? How about the next 24 months?

    Yes, you’re right, I do object vehemently to trace and isolate regimes because of the abuse and harm it will cause and the power it puts in the hands of politicians who have already shown themselves to act tyrannically. If you want to usher in a police state, then this policy is the quickest way to do it and brand innocent people enemies of the state even if they have been seen to be in relative proximity of someone who has shown symptoms or has merely been tested positive for the virus. It also has a nasty Stalinist-era and Nazi-era taint where neighbors turn in neighbors and children their parents. The next step is involuntary confinement or perhaps camps.

    • #22
    • May 24, 2020, at 5:52 AM PDT
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  23. Full Size Tabby Member

    Universal mask wearing would significantly alter American interpersonal communication and culture in fundamental ways. It is much more than just a mere inconvenience. There is more to human interaction than the spreading of viruses. Therefore, demanding universal mask wearing requires very strong evidence of a material benefit beyond just some theoretical hypotheticals.

    • #23
    • May 24, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
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