Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Masks? Because Powerless Citizens Rarely Emerge.

 

Why masks? I think the answer to that is fairly simple, and fairly obvious as well.

I have just finished — much to my dismay — reading the 20th and final (not including the unfinished 21st) book in Patrick O’Brian’s amazing Aubrey/Maturin “Master and Commander” series. In a recent book, Steven Maturin discusses an old sailor who he is treating. He knows exactly what the problem is, and he treats it as best he can. But he notes that the sailor is absolutely convinced that the problem stems from the consumption of meat and alcohol. Therefore, the sailor self-prescribes total abstinence from these two things. Maturin comments that sailors are stubborn, especially with respect to their own health, and that the abstinence does no great harm, so he goes on treating the sailor as he would, and he doesn’t argue with him about the diagnosis. Later in the book, the sailor dies, as Steven knew he would.

This is partly why everyone is wearing masks. People are stubborn when it comes to things that are unknown and over which we have no power. Irreligious people are especially stubborn in this respect, and we live in a particularly irreligious time and place.

At the beginning of this pandemic, our politicians acted. Of course, they acted. They couldn’t just stand there. They acted on the best information they had, which was terrible, and they acted in the only way they could, which was clumsy, overbroad, and devastating. The more we know, the more we are learning that it is quite possible that these actions, for all their costs, were certainly ill-advised (on balance), and even without their costs, may have been almost entirely ineffective for their stated purpose.

But a terrified public went along. They were told that death waits around every corner and that the only way to beat it is to hide in their homes. They hid in their homes, obsessively refreshing their Twitter and Facebook feeds, eyes glued to the television. And deaths piled up in spite of the fact that they were all obediently cowering in their homes.

There is no way out of that.

The truth would be to say that, well, we were wrong. That is a phrase that appears in no government handbook ever printed, and in no media guide ever consulted. We were wrong. As far as we can tell, the outcomes resulting from this virus were inevitable and unavoidable — we may have mitigated them somewhat (especially by keeping people out of hospitals), and, then again, we may also have simply traded one harm for another. We’ll never know the outcome of that impossible balance between “lives saved” as a result of our actions, and “lives lost” as a result of our actions.

But there is still no way out. My local hospital lied to the public when it said that we would be overrun with COVID-19 deaths by April 8, and would be turning people away to die in their homes or in the streets. This was a noble lie because a terrified citizenry is most likely to be complacent. It wasn’t just my hospital, it was nationwide. Instant death lurks around every corner. Anyone could have it and is likely contagious. Even you. You probably have it and you don’t even know that you have it. Not only is instant death lurking around every corner, but instant death emanates from your very being.

Turns out we were wrong. This is a virus, and it is worse than some other viruses that we are used to, and it is not as bad as some other pandemics that we have experienced. It is dangerous for some, and we really do now have a pretty decent grasp on who those people are. It is either widespread and not very deadly, or it is not very widespread and pretty deadly … or, it is becoming more and more widespread, and less and less deadly. But it cannot be all of these things. Death is not lurking around every corner, and it is extremely unlikely that you have it, and even less likely that you will give it to someone else. It is even less likely that you will get it when you pass by your neighbor on the street or in a store, or when you eat at a restaurant or play in a park or go to the beach or earn money at your job or barbeque with your friends or watch your kids play baseball. It is less dangerous for children than most dangers they face on a daily basis (even at home!) and there is virtually no evidence that it spreads from children to adults, or even from children to one another.

There is still much that we don’t know. But what we do know is that we were wrong. Our CDC guidelines were wrong and continue to be wrong. Our models were unbelievably wrong, and they are only getting worse. Our politicians were wrong. Our Twitter and Facebook feeds were wrong.

And that’s why we need masks. We are not willing to admit that we were wrong. We are not prepared to accept that we were powerless and that we continue to be powerless. We are not about to crawl out from under the house simply because somebody tells us that we were mistaken to crawl down there to begin with. We cannot just stand there, knowing how little we know – we must do something! We must exercise control, and if we don’t have control, we must exercise what little control we can muster, even if it is only control over our own behavior.

The rationale for that behavior is itself filled with contradictions. If the virus is so contagious that masks will help prevent its spread, then we are too late to start wearing masks, and if it truly is that contagious, then “running its course” is the best and only thing we should be doing. If it is not so contagious that masks will help prevent its spread, then we are wearing the masks just for fun. Same thing is true if asymptomatic aerosolized spread is not a meaningfully important mode of transmission, even if such a thing is scientifically possible in some circumstances.

Even the best case for masks seems to be a pretty silly one. There is a small percentage of people infected; there is a smaller percentage asymptomatic; there is a smaller percentage asymptomatic and contagious; and there is a possibility that the subgroup within that subgroup may possibly sneeze, which is about the only thing cloth masks are designed to mitigate, and even then, they mitigate only slightly, so that at the end of the day, what masks accomplish is the slight reduction of contagion that could possibly come from the small percentage of asymptomatic contagious within the small percentage of asymptomatic within the small percentage of infected. But to be absolutely safe, we need to make laws that cover everyone. No, it’s not just like using a chain-link fence to catch mosquitoes, it’s like using TNT to catch a minnow when the minnow really wasn’t your problem to begin with. But, we’re not really concerned with the minnow. We are concerned with human nature.

Masks are the placebo that allows us to feel like we are still in control of a situation where all of the evidence tells us that we have never been in control. If you are the CDC or a politician and saying “sorry, I was wrong” is simply out of the question, it is essential that you have a plan (for, as we know, all smart people have plans, so if you want to be smart, you must first have a plan). If there is one thing a patient most dreads — and which most patients simply will not accept — it is to walk away from the doctor empty-handed, without a plan. Virtually all doctors know and understand this. Doctors in the 18th century understood this very well, especially where sailors were concerned.

I have heard and read interviews with doctors … fear is debilitating. It is not all of these doctors who have stoked and built and endlessly perpetuated that fear. But they do understand that fear is debilitating, and they have not lost the wisdom of Steven Maturin.

Should I wear a mask?

Sure, why not. If it will make you feel better.

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  1. Hoyacon Member

    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    • #1
    • May 27, 2020, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    Could be. I don’t know. I was speaking primarily of the fact that the CDC and others now “recommend” masks.

    Whether masks work at all is certainly open for debate (though I’d point to a lot of healthy grocery store workers as evidence that they may not be quite as necessary as advertised), and I don’t mind people having that debate. Ridiculous studies with hamster cages and fans, however, bring to light a glaring omission in this debate. The question is not whether masks “work” or “don’t work,” and the burden is not simply to show that they are not 100% ineffective. I can point to a lot of things that “work.”

    For a ski mountain wanting to end injuries due to falls from lifts, it would certainly “work” to belt everyone onto their seats and then stop the lift for each skier to be unbuckled and taken off the lift… and if I protested “seat belts don’t work,” I could very easily be proven wrong. But that’s not really the issue, is it?

    If wearing a mask in the grocery store lowers your chances of catching covid from passers by from 0.000001% to 0.0000005%, it can be said that masks work. That is the benefit side of the analysis…

    • #2
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I am old and I refuse to wear a mask unless it is mandatory. My little bit of rebellion. When I visit my rheumatologist next week I will be required to wear one and I will do so, but not for one minute more than necessary. 

    • #3
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  4. Barfly Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I am old and I refuse to wear a mask unless it is mandatory. My little bit of rebellion. When I visit my rheumatologist next week I will be required to wear one and I will do so, but not for one minute more than necessary.

    That’ll show ’em.

    • #4
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Hoyacon Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    Could be. I don’t know. I was speaking primarily of the fact that the CDC and others now “recommend” masks.

    Whether masks work at all is certainly open for debate (though I’d point to a lot of healthy grocery store workers as evidence that they may not be quite as necessary as advertised), and I don’t mind people having that debate. Ridiculous studies with hamster cages and fans, however, bring to light a glaring omission in this debate. The question is not whether masks “work” or “don’t work,” and the burden is not simply to show that they are not 100% ineffective. I can point to a lot of things that “work.”

    For a ski mountain wanting to end injuries due to falls from lifts, it would certainly “work” to belt everyone onto their seats and then stop the lift for each skier to be unbuckled and taken off the lift… and if I protested “seat belts don’t work,” I could very easily be proven wrong. But that’s not really the issue, is it?

    If wearing a mask in the grocery store lowers your chances of catching covid from passers by from 0.000001% to 0.0000005%, it can be said that masks work. That is the benefit side of the analysis…

    I’m glad you took that mild critique in the hospitable manner in which it was intended. Believe it or not there is a logic to the decision some of us make about the need for mask-wearing in a given situation. And, contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere on the site, it isn’t deeply psychological and it isn’t cowardly.

    • #5
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Perhaps this article, which was brought to my attention by my stepdaughter, is somewhat germane here.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982218314209

    Meta cognition and extremism study where researchers looked at people’s ability/willingness to adjust their thinking when confronted with factual data in opposition to their bias.

    As she explains it (because I haven’t read the whole thing yet):

    “Participants underwent a challenge in which they had to estimate the number of dots on two images, and decide which one had more. This is important because it’s a simple task as opposed to a charged kind of question. 

    Participants also had to say how confident they were in their judgement. 

    If they got the answer wrong, they were given further information in the form of another image with dots which should have helped them improve their estimate. They were then asked to restate their confidence.

    (Metacognition is, briefly, one’s ability to consider one’s own thinking and to adjust ones thinking commensurate with information. In this study the researchers look at how participants would accept that they were wrong and change their answer to an actually correct one).

    The study found that those with more radical political views indicated higher confidence in their choices, EVEN when they were WRONG, and less of a tendency to update their confidence with new information.

    There are several researchers working on trying to learn whether extreme beliefs contribute to poorer meta cognition or whether poorer Metacognition is a pathway to extreme/unexamined thinking. 

    Note that the “extreme beliefs” work either way, leftwards or rightwards. It’s the extremity of the position that’s important, not the ideological bent of the subject.

    Also, I’m with @hoyacon, in that I don’t mind wearing a mask if it’s required or even suggested. It’s not that big of a deal to me, even, or perhaps because, folks in my region aren’t that wound up about it anyway. Not super-extremists, either way, I guess. Besides, I have pretty “quilter” masks, and I’m OK with that.

    As for the study, I don’t find it startling that those on the “edges” of any particular issue find it harder to re-state or revise their opinions when challenged.

     

    • #6
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Bob Thompson Member

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    • #7
    • May 27, 2020, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    Could be. I don’t know. I was speaking primarily of the fact that the CDC and others now “recommend” masks.

    Whether masks work at all is certainly open for debate (though I’d point to a lot of healthy grocery store workers as evidence that they may not be quite as necessary as advertised), and I don’t mind people having that debate. Ridiculous studies with hamster cages and fans, however, bring to light a glaring omission in this debate. The question is not whether masks “work” or “don’t work,” and the burden is not simply to show that they are not 100% ineffective. I can point to a lot of things that “work.”

    For a ski mountain wanting to end injuries due to falls from lifts, it would certainly “work” to belt everyone onto their seats and then stop the lift for each skier to be unbuckled and taken off the lift… and if I protested “seat belts don’t work,” I could very easily be proven wrong. But that’s not really the issue, is it?

    If wearing a mask in the grocery store lowers your chances of catching covid from passers by from 0.000001% to 0.0000005%, it can be said that masks work. That is the benefit side of the analysis…

    I’m glad you took that mild critique in the hospitable manner in which it was intended. Believe it or not there is a logic to the decision some of us make about the need for mask-wearing in a given situation. And, contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere on the site, it isn’t deeply psychological and it isn’t cowardly.

    I do not think it is cowardly to wear a mask, nor do I think it is unwise for individuals to engage in their own personal cost/benefit analysis. Those costs and benefits vary with each individual. My primary critique is of the suggestion that everyone needs to be wearing masks (as this is indeed the argument being made; it doesn’t work if it isn’t adopted universally), and my biggest concern is with the legal mandate that we do so. Howevermuch logic may go into a unique individual’s decision simply does not translate directly into corporate action. Also, as I said in my earlier comment – the CDC’s recommendations and governors’ orders are not based on individual assessments of cost vs. benefit.

    • #8
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Or maybe masks are in fact a cheap and effective way to drive down the spread of the disease? 

     

    • #9
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  10. Hoyacon Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

     

    • #10
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Barfly Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Or maybe masks are in fact a cheap and effective way to drive down the spread of the disease?

    Too simple. Doesn’t allow room for psychological displacement or projection.

    • #11
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Bob Thompson Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

     

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    • #12
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Hoyacon Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    • #13
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Or maybe masks are in fact a cheap and effective way to drive down the spread of the disease?

    That is the claim of many, yes. It is disputed, of course. The paper you cite acknowledges that the claim is disputed, and it actually goes into detail on many of the assumptions that are required for masking to be a viable recommendation:

    “The shift of paradigm from not recommending to promoting the use of face masks was based on the rationale of pre-symptomatic shedding of SARS-Cov-2 and presence of asymptomatic patients with high viral load in the community.”

    Which is, of course, a combination of two assumptions that have not actually been shown.

    The study also implies that mask wearing is effectively a long-term behavioral change:

    “Masking is a continuous form of protection to stop the spreading of saliva and respiratory droplets to others or from others, and to the environment or from the environment to the susceptible by hands through touching of nose, mouth and eye. Touching nose and mouth is a subconscious behavior.”

    Therefore, it must be used in conjunction with obsessive hand-washing.

    Also, it only works if everyone does it, and if everyone does it correctly:

    “…the type of mask used in the community cannot be controlled. The compliance of wearing face mask in terms of not touching the external surface of mask or face, and hand hygiene before or after touching the mask cannot be assessed. Third, we cannot count the mask compliance directly for every community settings.”

    Mask compliance?? Well, if we effectively control our population:

    “Singapore government has started to enforce a penalty of 300 Singapore dollar for anyone going out from home without a mask.”

    Ultimately, the study concludes that yes, just like the seat-belts on ski-lifts, universal mask wearing can be effective – and in the absence of “better options,” they recommend the following:

    In order to live with emerging infectious diseases and seasonal influenza epidemics, every individual should have personalized reusable mask, gown, and gloves made of self-disinfecting fabrics, and even reusable anti-fog face shield within their own set of Epidemic Combat Kit for their personal protection.

    So yes – these brilliant scientists have studied the matter and concluded that masks might work, under certain conditions. Essentially, if we can succeed in turning every US citizen into an OCD hypochondriac, being sure that the behavior is enforced by men with guns and the issuance of fines, then this may very well work.

    That’s a part of the cost. It is not just a temporary inconvenience, it is a fundamental shift in the way that we live our lives. Is it worth the slightly increased sense of security?

    • #14
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. aardo vozz Member

    Another interesting question: When(if ever) will it be ok to NOT where a mask if you have comorbidities that could put you at higher risk if you were infected with COVID?

    • #15
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    Tell me again how this is not an issue of tyranny vs. liberty?

    • #16
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    Another interesting question: When(if ever) will it be ok to NOT where a mask if you have comorbidities that could put you at higher risk if you were infected with COVID?

    Well, it is ok to not do any of this stuff with the ordinary flu or with the common cold, because even those diseases target the same basic demographic groups, it impacts fewer people. 60,000 deaths are totally fine; certainly not worth entirely changing the way that we leave. 100,000 deaths are totally unacceptable…

    Or – maybe not. Maybe people will realize that “even one life” applies to everything, not just covid.

    Wait until we start getting into all of the other causes of death in the United States. Since nothing is off the table, and since zero risk is the only acceptable risk, just think of all the ways we can save lives!

    I say we start with 5-point restraints in all vehicles, the banning of motorcycles, and the forced relinquishment of driver’s licenses for anyone over the age of 70.

    • #17
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Hoyacon Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    Tell me again how this is not an issue of tyranny vs. liberty?

    We’ll agree to disagree on what constitutes tyranny. I don’t agree with mandates–particularly as universally applied throughout a state. But this isn’t the British marching on Concord.

    • #18
    • May 27, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hammer, The (View Comment):
    That’s a part of the cost. It is not just a temporary inconvenience, it is a fundamental shift in the way that we live our lives. Is it worth the slightly increased sense of security?

    And as for this: let’s put it in perspective.

    Let’s say we have 95,000 deaths due to covid. That’s a pretty high number. In my state, over 60% of those deaths occurred in nursing homes, among people with other life-threatening conditions. In my town, that percentage goes above 90%. As much as we love our grandparents, and as much as we ought to both respect and protect our elderly (which we already don’t, as evidenced by the sheer population in nursing homes), the fact remains that, if you live in a nursing home, death actually does lurk around every corner. The average stay in a nursing home is what? 5 months? Maybe 6 months? Life expectancy is not high.

    We don’t write off those deaths, nor do we write off the deaths of morbidly obese diabetics – nor should we. But it does change our analysis of risk, and of security.

    As I said in an earlier comment, masks may very well work! They may work in reducing your risk from X% to X minus .0001%

    And if you live in a nursing home or you have so many problems that you are in that 90th percentile – your list of “risks” is about a mile long, and dying from covid is one of the many, and likely nowhere near the top of the list.

    Again, the question is not “does this maybe work?” but “are the benefits worth the costs?” – and for the vast majority of us, the benefits are so negligible as to be virtually nonexistent, and the costs are extreme.

    • #19
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. A-Squared Inactive

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    The conventional wisdom is most masks, especially cloth masks, prevent you from spreading COVID but don’t do much to prevent you from catching COVID and if you touch your face to adjust your mask, they might actually increase your chance of contracting COVID.

    I’m not saying your cost/benefit is in error because it is obviously your cost/benefit analysis, but unless you are wearing N95 masks, you may not be getting the benefit you are hoping for.

    What masks really do is tell everyone else in the store that you are taking COVID seriously. In other words, whatever you think of the cost/benefit, it has a huge virtue signalling component.

    I wear masks as a courtesy. If I had a choice, I would accelerate contracting the disease, if I die I die, but I think almost all of are going to eventually contract COVID, so I would just as soon get it over with. Should that occur, upon recovery with antibodies, my philosophy on mask wearing would be exactly the same as it is now

    • #20
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Bob Thompson Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Well, it is ok to not do any of this stuff with the ordinary flu or with the common cold, because even those diseases target the same basic demographic groups, it impacts fewer people. 60,000 deaths are totally fine; certainly not worth entirely changing the way that we leave. 100,000 deaths are totally unacceptable…

     

    This is what really gets to me. We have a mere increment, a two-thirds increase, in fatalities, with most of that occurring in a few metropolitan areas aided by deadly admission requirements, by government mandate, for long-term care institutions and we shutdown our economy and public education system creating, by our questionable government actions, the worst experience of our lifetime for the nation as a whole.

    • #21
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    Tell me again how this is not an issue of tyranny vs. liberty?

    We’ll agree to disagree on what constitutes tyranny. I don’t agree with mandates–particularly as universally applied throughout a state. But this isn’t the British marching on Concord.

    I have just demonstrated that masks do not work absent mandates, and mandates don’t work absent enforcement. And in order for any of it to work, we need the adoption of major, permanent lifestyle changes.

    Why did we fight the British to begin with? It was because we didn’t like being taxed… It was because we didn’t like being told where and how to worship. It was because we didn’t like being governed by an all-powerful central authority that asserted the power to determine our values for us, to determine our risks and to divvy out our rewards. For that, we fought in more than a handful of wars. I’d say this is actually pretty damned similar to the British marching on Concord.

    • #22
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Hoyacon Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    The conventional wisdom is most masks, especially cloth masks, prevent you from spreading COVID but don’t do much to prevent you from catching COVID and if you touch your face to adjust your mask, they might actually increase your chance of contracting COVID.

    I’m not saying your cost/benefit is in error because it is obviously your cost/benefit analysis, but unless you are wearing N95 masks, you may not be getting the benefit you are hoping for.

    What masks really do is tell everyone else in the store that you are taking COVID seriously. In other words, whatever you think of the cost/benefit, it has a huge virtue signalling component.

    I wear masks as a courtesy. If I had a choice, I would accelerate contracting the disease, if I die I die, but I think almost all of are going to eventually contract COVID, so I would just as soon get it over with. Should that occur, upon recovery with antibodies, my philosophy on mask wearing would be exactly the same as it is now.

    Points taken. Allow me to clarify (if necessary). To the degree I wear a mask, it’s a matter of encouraging others to wear one in certain environs. I understand they don’t work for self-protection. My reason may be fruitless as well, but, well, cost-benefit.

     

    • #23
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. A-Squared Inactive

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Well, it is ok to not do any of this stuff with the ordinary flu or with the common cold, because even those diseases target the same basic demographic groups, it impacts fewer people. 60,000 deaths are totally fine; certainly not worth entirely changing the way that we leave. 100,000 deaths are totally unacceptable…

     

    This is what really gets to me. We have a mere increment, a two-thirds increase, in fatalities, with most of that occurring in a few metropolitan areas aided by deadly admission requirements, by government mandate, for long-term care institutions and we shutdown our economy and public education system creating, by our questionable government actions, the worst experience of our lifetime for the nation as a whole.

    One thing I’ve said since the beginning, if we can shut down our entire economy for COVID because it saves lives, then we can certainly shut down the economy every winter for flu season because that would clearly save lives.

    I sincerely don’t understand people that think we obviously need to shut down the economy for COVID but think it is ludicrous to argue that we should shut it down every winter, but I’ve run into a bunch of them, even among people I would otherwise respect. 

    • #24
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. A-Squared Inactive

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    What masks really do is tell everyone else in the store that you are taking COVID seriously. In other words, whatever you think of the cost/benefit, it has a huge virtue signalling component.

    Points taken. Allow me to clarify (if necessary). To the degree I wear a mask, it’s a matter of encouraging others to wear one in certain environs. I understand they don’t work for self-protection. My reason may be fruitless as well, but, well, cost-benefit.

    Well, it sounds like we agree on the virtue signalling element of masks.

     

    • #25
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Bob Wainwright Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    Tell me again how this is not an issue of tyranny vs. liberty?

    We’ll agree to disagree on what constitutes tyranny. I don’t agree with mandates–particularly as universally applied throughout a state. But this isn’t the British marching on Concord.

    I have just demonstrated that masks do not work absent mandates, and mandates don’t work absent enforcement. And in order for any of it to work, we need the adoption of major, permanent lifestyle changes.

    Why did we fight the British to begin with? It was because we didn’t like being taxed… It was because we didn’t like being told where and how to worship. It was because we didn’t like being governed by an all-powerful central authority that asserted the power to determine our values for us, to determine our risks and to divvy out our rewards. For that, we fought in more than a handful of wars. I’d say this is actually pretty damned similar to the British marching on Concord.

    The difference is that they were taxed without representation. If you’re represented, then taxation can’t be tyranny even if it’s confiscatory. The same with mask mandates etc. The people choose those who govern them, so it’s not tyranny even if the rules the government makes cramp our style. 

    • #26
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Hoyacon Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t wear a mask to the dentist. Am I a bad person?

    Maybe, but not because of that. :) I heard somewhere that it’s tough to clean someone’s teeth when they’re wearing a mask.

    Do you know if there is a mandate to wear masks in places of public accommodation in Virginia? I’m planning a trip but I won’t travel until this nonsense is over.

    As of this coming Friday, yes.

    Tell me again how this is not an issue of tyranny vs. liberty?

    We’ll agree to disagree on what constitutes tyranny. I don’t agree with mandates–particularly as universally applied throughout a state. But this isn’t the British marching on Concord.

    I have just demonstrated that masks do not work absent mandates, and mandates don’t work absent enforcement. And in order for any of it to work, we need the adoption of major, permanent lifestyle changes.

    Why did we fight the British to begin with? It was because we didn’t like being taxed… It was because we didn’t like being told where and how to worship. It was because we didn’t like being governed by an all-powerful central authority that asserted the power to determine our values for us, to determine our risks and to divvy out our rewards. For that, we fought in more than a handful of wars. I’d say this is actually pretty damned similar to the British marching on Concord.

    You’re taking a relatively small sample size of “tyranny” over a brief period of time, expanding on it, and projecting it’s effects into the future. I suppose time will tell if you are correct, but for now, it’s duration and effects are speculative.

    BTW, I went grocery shopping last week–before the mandatory mask in public places edict. Out of, perhaps, one hundred and fifty shoppers, I saw one person unmasked. There was, needless to say, no “enforcement,” but, in terms of respect for others, the masks “worked.”

    I really don’t know if the other guy’s mask protects me. I do know I’m a senior by any definition. I do know I’m in a major metropolitan area where the virus continues to grow. And I do know I’m 200 miles by interstate from the worst “hot spot” in the country. I’m not sure how many that criticize mask-wearing in public places can say that, but I can.

    • #27
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. A-Squared Inactive

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):
    If you’re represented, then taxation can’t be tyranny even if it’s confiscatory.

    Completely disagree

    • #28
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hey – let’s talk for a minute about relative reduction in risk. Because that’s what this is. Wearing a mask could possibly reduce our risk of dying from covid by some extremely small amount. That’s a maybe. But it isn’t protection. It is reduction of risk.

    Well – what about heart disease? Here are some interesting numbers:

    • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.1
    • One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.1
    • About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year

    Dang! That’s a pretty big number. But let’s roll with it. We’re willing to shut down the entire economy, cancel all group gatherings, close our schools (or impose prison-like conditions and psychological torture on our kids when they do open), and we’re also willing to cover our faces with masks … to allow the government to force everyone to cover their faces with masks. To fundamentally change what our society is, how it operates, and how we interact with one another (six feet apart). And we’re willing to do this for what? For a minuscule reduction of risk.

    We might top out at 150,000 deaths, and there is no way of knowing whether that number would have been any higher if this thing were allowed to burn out on its own. That is a fraction of the number of people we lose to heart disease.

    We can’t save those people – just like we can’t prevent all covid deaths – but we can surely reduce the risk, right?

    If everyone ate beets. If we limited the legal amount of salt intake, if we banned alcohol and smoking, if we required exercise. There are quite a lot of things we could do – no more of an imposition than wearing masks – that would reduce our risk of dying from heart disease by far more than masks reduce our risk of dying from covid.

    So why don’t we do these things? Is there more to the story than just reduction of risk? It sure doesn’t seem that there is.

    • #29
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  30. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    As I said in another post, at my age and in my geographical location, I have made a personal cost benefit analysis in favor of wearing a mask in interior locations open to the public (e.g., the grocery store). I wonder if that’s why I find this post condescending.

    The conventional wisdom is most masks, especially cloth masks, prevent you from spreading COVID but don’t do much to prevent you from catching COVID and if you touch your face to adjust your mask, they might actually increase your chance of contracting COVID.

    I’m not saying your cost/benefit is in error because it is obviously your cost/benefit analysis, but unless you are wearing N95 masks, you may not be getting the benefit you are hoping for.

    What masks really do is tell everyone else in the store that you are taking COVID seriously. In other words, whatever you think of the cost/benefit, it has a huge virtue signalling component.

    I wear masks as a courtesy. If I had a choice, I would accelerate contracting the disease, if I die I die, but I think almost all of are going to eventually contract COVID, so I would just as soon get it over with. Should that occur, upon recovery with antibodies, my philosophy on mask wearing would be exactly the same as it is now.

    Points taken. Allow me to clarify (if necessary). To the degree I wear a mask, it’s a matter of encouraging others to wear one in certain environs. I understand they don’t work for self-protection. My reason may be fruitless as well, but, well, cost-benefit.

     

    What exactly is the benefit to you in this scenario? I suppose you could argue that the cost is zero, maybe because you enjoy wearing a mask – so even if it’s only a psychological benefit, it is worth it. (And don’t discount the temptation of the psychological benefits that come from a sense of superiority; this accounts for a whole lot of masks being worn around the country right now). But really? That off-chance that the one person who happens to be a high-viral-shedding asymptomatic carrier might happen to be convinced by your wearing the mask? If that’s the degree of risk that you’re willing to change your behavior for, why would you ever leave the house?

    • #30
    • May 27, 2020, at 2:45 PM PDT
    • 2 likes