Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Question Authority, Especially on Face Masks

 

I own two face masks; my fetching spouse of 36 years, at least two or three. Our Governor here in Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, long commanded us under his virtually unlimited emergency powers to wear “face diapers” in public places, indoors. Outdoors is “optional,” but “recommended.” Virginia’s Governor, quite belatedly, has just followed suit.

I see no need to wear a mask on my outdoor runs and bike rides. After all, science shows that the risk of contracting the coronavirus outdoors is about zero. 

If it makes you feel better that you’re protected from my possibly tainted droplets and spittle, great. I am especially sensitive to our grocery story workers and my local pizza maker. I want everyone to “feel” safe, and I’m mindful that many people, including friends, have underlying chronic conditions that make them especially vulnerable to this novel virus. After all, I’m 63, so I’m sort of on the cusp.

But former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson (also the author of a great book, Tell Your Children, about the effects of marijuana consumption) has it right.

Our governor, his team, and many others elsewhere claim to “follow the science” and “the data.” Well, so do I, but unlike him, I follow it all, not just that which fits into my worldview or political agenda. And it says something very different.

There are recent studies suggesting that wearing face masks outside of surgical and related medical settings is not very effective, including one as recent as April.

The same government experts who tell us to wear masks today were the same ones, in March, extolling us not to wear masks. Something changed. Sadly, they’re the same people who totally ignored the science from a team of epidemiologists in 2006, led by the doctor credited for eradicating Smallpox (D.A. Henderson), which asserted that quarantines were ineffective.

One of my favorite bumper stickers from the 1980s was “Question Authority.” There is no better time to do that than now.

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  1. Mark Camp Member

    Bucknelldad:

    Our governor, his team and many others elsewhere claim to “follow the science” and “the data.” Well, so do I, but unlike him, I follow it all, not just that which fits into my worldview or political agenda. And it says something very different.

     

    Bucknelldad,

    With respect, I think that your thinking is wrong in this case. 

    You make the implicit assumption that science can tell us what government actions against human freedom are morally and constitutionally justified by the current flu season, but this question is in fact entirely outside of the realm of science. The Constitution has no clauses that mention any human right that is dependent on scientific estimates of changes in annual death rates from various natural causes, let alone specifying the values that would justify mass house arrests. Locke, Madison, Jefferson, Paine, none of them ever wrote that human rights are conditional on the statistics about mortality rates of some infection.

    • #1
    • May 28, 2020, at 7:32 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. OldPhil Coolidge

    Goober Northam says facemask are required inside public places but added the requirement “is not a criminal matter and will not be enforced by law enforcement.”

    • #2
    • May 28, 2020, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    Early on, a clerk at Costco told me someone was literally wearing a diaper on their face. That’s got to be horrible to breath through.

    I do not view masks as a big deal. I wrote a post on wearing masks which already said what I wanted to say. You could always wear a Gadsen Flag mask, or a red MAGA mask if you want to have some fun and make liberal heads spin.

    • #3
    • May 28, 2020, at 8:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Hammer, The Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Goober Northam says facemask are required inside public places but added the requirement “is not a criminal matter and will not be enforced by law enforcement.”

    We just encourage citizens to attack one another and throw the heretics out of grocery stores. It’s easier that way.

    • #4
    • May 28, 2020, at 9:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    You could always wear a Gadsen Flag mask

    I ordered one of those, but it is literally on a slow boat from China. I suspect I won’t need it a few weeks from now. 

    • #5
    • May 28, 2020, at 9:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Nohaaj Coolidge

    https://www.foxnews.com/world/who-guidance-healthy-people-wear-masks-around-coronavirus-patients

    Take your face mask off, put your face mask on, take your face mask off and shake it all about… 

     

    • #6
    • May 28, 2020, at 10:08 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Rodin Member

    Face diapers, heh. Appropriate: contain large particulates but not viruses, need changing.

    • #7
    • May 29, 2020, at 12:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Goober Northam says facemask are required inside public places but added the requirement “is not a criminal matter and will not be enforced by law enforcement.”

    Does Northam himself wear a blackfacemask, or does his Klan hood do the job?

    • #8
    • May 29, 2020, at 4:40 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    I was in a grocery store in West Virginia a few weeks ago. The only employee not wearing a mask was the woman at the deli slicing and shaving meat and cheese. If anybody should have had a mask… But I have survived to tell the tale.

    • #9
    • May 29, 2020, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. OldPhil Coolidge

    CJ (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Goober Northam says facemask are required inside public places but added the requirement “is not a criminal matter and will not be enforced by law enforcement.”

    Does Northam himself wear a blackfacemask, or does his Klan hood do the job?

    He could wear a diaper, because the infant in his infamous scenario won’t need it.

    • #10
    • May 29, 2020, at 6:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    You could always wear a Gadsen Flag mask

    I ordered one of those, but it is literally on a slow boat from China. I suspect I won’t need it a few weeks from now.

    There’s an incredible irony in having to order a mask with an iconic American flag from China, to deal with a plague from China.

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    https://www.foxnews.com/world/who-guidance-healthy-people-wear-masks-around-coronavirus-patients

    Take your face mask off, put your face mask on, take your face mask off and shake it all about…

    You do the WHO-key pokey and you turn your life upside-down. That’s what it’s all about.

    I’m done with WHO in general.

    • #11
    • May 29, 2020, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. Hoyacon Member

    This battle is also being fought elsewhere on Ricochet, but there are some studies that suggest masks may be beneficial. I think that we’re all used to the “War of the Studies” by now.

    • #12
    • May 29, 2020, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    One objection among many that I have to the face-burqa is that I cannot foresee a day that we will ever get a definitive all clear, distancing and the like will just fade away people will just ignore it after a while but I’m afraid the signs in stores will just stay there forever, stores are one thing but what about movies, amusement parks, churches, beaches , that is simply intolerable. The gutless politicians will never make the call they’ll leave us hanging forever. Our only hope is that WHO or CDC will declare them actually dangerous. Will the Karen brigades then start haranguing people who continue to wear them ?

    • #13
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Weeping Member

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    One objection among many that I have to the face-burqa is that I cannot foresee a day that we will ever get a definitive all clear, distancing and the like will just fade away people will just ignore it after a while but I’m afraid the signs in stores will just stay there forever, stores are one thing but what about movies, amusement parks, churches, beaches , that is simply intolerable. The gutless politicians will never make the call they’ll leave us hanging forever. Our only hope is that WHO or CDC will declare them actually dangerous. Will the Karen brigades then start haranguing people who continue to wear them ?

    Well, WHO currently says: If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19. The CDC still recommends them.

     

    • #14
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Mark Camp Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I was in a grocery store in West Virginia a few weeks ago. The only employee not wearing a mask was the woman at the deli slicing and shaving meat and cheese. If anybody should have had a mask… But I have survived to tell the tale.

    According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the face mask provides three benefits, though it has no known health benefits relative to COVID-19:

    • it acts as a “talisman“: i.e., it cause the wearer to believe he or she is protected by the magic of the mask.
    • it makes health workers feel safer (and by extension, the general public, though they have much less reason to worry)
    • it is a visible symbol of solidarity with the cause of fighting the viral enemy.

    To give the employee the benefit of the doubt,

    • she may not believe in magic
    • she may not feel safer if there is no evidence that she is safer
    • she may not be an ally, but an enemy, of the proggies, in their metaphorical “war”
    • she
      • may be aware that, exposure to viruses and bacteria is necessary for a healthy immune system, and
      • may not want to have a less healthy immune system…she may prefer being healthy.
    • #15
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Early on, a clerk at Costco told me someone was literally wearing a diaper on their face. That’s got to be horrible to breath through.

    Oh man, was it used?

    • #16
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. cirby Member

    I ended up buying one mask off of Amazon. It’s simple, black, and I keep it in the car.

    If I’m going to a store that demands one, I’ll put it on just long enough to go in and get what I want, then it comes off the second I step outside.

    I also figure that, when (or if) I get back to work later this fall, some clients will demand one, so I’ll keep it in my work bag.

     

     

    • #17
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cirby (View Comment):

    I ended up buying one mask off of Amazon. It’s simple, black, and I keep it in the car.

    If I’m going to a store that demands one, I’ll put it on just long enough to go in and get what I want, then it comes off the second I step outside.

    I also figure that, when (or if) I get back to work later this fall, some clients will demand one, so I’ll keep it in my work bag.

    Pretty much the same for me. If I am inside a crowded venue, I wear a mask until I walk out the door.

     

     

    • #18
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Mark Camp Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    This battle is also being fought elsewhere on Ricochet, but there are some studies that suggest masks may be beneficial. I think that we’re all used to the “War of the Studies” by now.

    Hoyacon,

    If you can link to a study supporting the proposition that the current government orders requiring the wearing of masks by the general public is justified in America, please post it.

    Otherwise, please stop pretending that you have any scientific arguments supporting your position.

    Cheers,

    Mark

    • #19
    • May 30, 2020, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Bucknelldad: “face diapers”

    I like that euphemism. I also like “sneeze guard” and “muzzle”. 

    • #20
    • May 30, 2020, at 3:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Mark Camp Member

    Let’s stop burning our cities and start burning our face-diapers. We could have mass bonfires of the masks all over the country on the Fourth of July, 2020.

    • #21
    • May 30, 2020, at 3:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. Hoyacon Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    This battle is also being fought elsewhere on Ricochet, but there are some studies that suggest masks may be beneficial. I think that we’re all used to the “War of the Studies” by now.

    Hoyacon,

    If you can link to a study supporting the proposition that the current government orders requiring the wearing of masks by the general public is justified in America, please post it.

    Otherwise, please stop pretending that you have any scientific arguments supporting your position.

    Cheers,

    Mark

    Mark:

    May I suggest a career with the NFL (if it’s not too late). They pay well and it appears that you are highly skilled at moving goalposts.

    Somehow this

    some studies that suggest masks may be beneficial

    turned into this:

    a study supporting the proposition that the current government orders requiring the wearing of masks by the general public is justified in America

    HC

    • #22
    • May 30, 2020, at 3:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. MiMac Thatcher

    Baloney!!! The literature DOES NOT SUPPORT your position -read the references cited -they DO NOT SHOW MASKS DO NOT WORK. It is galling that people quote articles that do not back what they claim they say. There are 4 references in the FEE article-READ THEM.

    The 1st cited article-the “2009 study” (https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/114492-surgical-masks-not-effective-study-shows) lists 2 references-which DO NOT back up the claims the article makes. To be exact:

    1)Blachere- didn’t test masks just showed that virus RNA was detectable in an aerosolized fraction in an ER.

    2)Radonovich- study shows that N95 respirators are not MORE effective than surgical masks in protection. It did NOT study masks vs no masks. Actually, it implies that masks work b/c masks were the control group.

    The author alluded to as the “yet unpublished article” (C Raina MacIntyre) SUPPORTS the use of masks for SARS-Cov-2 in the COMMUNITY-here is her latest article’s conclusion:

    “In summary, there is a growing body of evidence supporting all three indications for respiratory protection – community, healthcare workers and sick patients (source control). The largest number of randomised controlled trials have been done for community use of masks by well people in high-transmission settings such as household or college settings. There is benefit in the community if used early, and if compliant. They also found no evidence of efficacy of hand hygiene or health education, suggesting mask use is more preventative than hand hygiene. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020748920301139).

    The 2nd studies cited (“2015 study”) on cloth masks are WORTHLESS b/c they are in acute care settings looking at wether healthcare providers get protection from cloth masks-the people with the virus DIDN’T wear them. The point of the community use of masks is to have the, asymptomatic, INFECTED wear them to reduce spread.

    The 3rd article cited (“2016 study”) was to compare N95s vs surgical masks-and found no difference- IT DID NOT STUDY NO MASKS.

    The last review cited (“April 7th”) conclusion ends with “Based on observational evidence from the previous SARS epidemic included in the previous version of our Cochrane review we recommend the use of masks combined with other measures.”(https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.30.20047217v2)

    • #23
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. Dotorimuk Coolidge

    Suddenly, after the peak of virus infections has passed, the government of South Korea decided to MANDATE the wearing of masks on all public transportation.

    Just like a bewildered character on “The Twilight Zone,” I want to scream to the sky, “Is this some kind of gag?”

    • #24
    • May 30, 2020, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Southern Pessimist Member

    My wife and I went to mass this evening for the first time since early March when things were shut down. The Bishop had sent out a letter saying that masks were recommended along with the usual directives about social distancing. There were signs entering the church saying that since we were are in this together, please wear a mask. I had asked our pastor the day before, if we were required to wear a mask, and he said no. Everyone was at least 10 feet away from everyone else in a spacious facility. He did not wear a mask, except for the few minutes he was distributing communion. Other than for him, I was the only other person in the church who did not wear a mask.

    I have no idea what the other parishioners thought but life is too short to fritter it away over politically correct BS.

    • #25
    • May 30, 2020, at 7:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. MiMac Thatcher

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I was in a grocery store in West Virginia a few weeks ago. The only employee not wearing a mask was the woman at the deli slicing and shaving meat and cheese. If anybody should have had a mask… But I have survived to tell the tale.

    According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the face mask provides three benefits, though it has no known health benefits relative to COVID-19:

    • it acts as a “talisman“: i.e., it cause the wearer to believe he or she is protected by the magic of the mask.
    • it makes health workers feel safer (and by extension, the general public, though they have much less reason to worry)
    • it is a visible symbol of solidarity with the cause of fighting the viral enemy.

    To give the employee the benefit of the doubt,

    • she may not believe in magic
    • she may not feel safer if there is no evidence that she is safer
    • she may not be an ally, but an enemy, of the proggies, in their metaphorical “war”
    • she
      • may be aware that, exposure to viruses and bacteria is necessary for a healthy immune system, and
      • may not want to have a less healthy immune system…she may prefer being healthy.

    The article you quote is about universal masking of HEALTHCARE workers in acute care settings-ie to prevent the wearer from getting infected. The use of masks in the community is a completely different situation. Its purpose is to reduce the spread from the infected- the mask is not there to protect the wearer. The difference is crucial and there is data to support it. If you wish to claim masks do not work try to cite evidence that is germane to mask wearing in the community. Not data about mask use in acute care settings, not evidence that N95 respirators are better/no better than surgical masks, not that cloth masks don’t work to protect healthcare workers etc. ( all of which has been cited/ misrepresented on Ricochet postings claiming masks don’t work). You need to cite data that masks do not reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses in the community. At present the Infectious Disease Society supports mask use in the community, and they are a legitimate authority-https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765525

    • #26
    • May 30, 2020, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. OldPhil Coolidge

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I was in a grocery store in West Virginia a few weeks ago. The only employee not wearing a mask was the woman at the deli slicing and shaving meat and cheese. If anybody should have had a mask… But I have survived to tell the tale.

    According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the face mask provides three benefits, though it has no known health benefits relative to COVID-19:

    • it acts as a “talisman“: i.e., it cause the wearer to believe he or she is protected by the magic of the mask.
    • it makes health workers feel safer (and by extension, the general public, though they have much less reason to worry)
    • it is a visible symbol of solidarity with the cause of fighting the viral enemy.

    To give the employee the benefit of the doubt,

    • she may not believe in magic
    • she may not feel safer if there is no evidence that she is safer
    • she may not be an ally, but an enemy, of the proggies, in their metaphorical “war”
    • she
      • may be aware that, exposure to viruses and bacteria is necessary for a healthy immune system, and
      • may not want to have a less healthy immune system…she may prefer being healthy.

    The article you quote is about universal masking of HEALTHCARE workers in acute care settings-ie to prevent the wearer from getting infected. The use of masks in the community is a completely different situation. Its purpose is to reduce the spread from the infected- the mask is not there to protect the wearer. The difference is crucial and there is data to support it. If you wish to claim masks do not work try to cite evidence that is germane to mask wearing in the community. Not data about mask use in acute care settings, not evidence that N95 respirators are better/no better than surgical masks, not that cloth masks don’t work to protect healthcare workers etc. ( all of which has been cited/ misrepresented on Ricochet postings claiming masks don’t work). You need to cite data that masks do not reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses in the community. At present the Infectious Disease Society supports mask use in the community, and they are a legitimate authority-https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765525

    Because there are always viruses present and tens of thousands die every year from influenza, pneumonia, etc., we should all wear masks permanently, year in and out. Is that your point? 

    • #27
    • May 30, 2020, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. MiMac Thatcher

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Because there are always viruses present and tens of thousands die every year from influenza, pneumonia, etc., we should all wear masks permanently, year in and out. Is that your point?

    Mote & Bailey or straw man? I have trouble keeping them straight. You are going to die so why take any precautions. Do you look before you walk out into the road? Do you have health, car, homeowners insurance? Everything has risks and the best way to handle them is to FACTUALLY gauge the risk and the costs to mitigate them. More to your question- virtually everyone of the claims that masks don’t work made on Ricochet are based on misunderstanding (hopefully) or misrepresenting the studies cited. We can not possibly choose the best way to handle the pandemic if we refuse to properly consider the data we have. The weight of evidence is that masks decrease the transmission of the virus. That doesn’t mean we should or shouldn’t mandate them- it doesn’t mean Whitmer isn’t a micromanaging megalomaniac-it doesn’t mean we need a lockdown until the 1st Tuesday in November. But it does mean that they are the cheapest, safest, and least damaging to the economy measure we have to fight the virus that also has data supporting it.

    • #28
    • May 30, 2020, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    Tom Wolf is a murderer and any civilized state he would be tried for war crimes.

    War crimes are the only thing I have seen that equal his monstrous actions.

    • #29
    • May 30, 2020, at 9:51 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. OldPhil Coolidge

    MiMac (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Because there are always viruses present and tens of thousands die every year from influenza, pneumonia, etc., we should all wear masks permanently, year in and out. Is that your point?

    Mote & Bailey or straw man? I have trouble keeping them straight. You are going to die so why take any precautions. Do you look before you walk out into the road? Do you have health, car, homeowners insurance? Everything has risks and the best way to handle them is to FACTUALLY gauge the risk and the costs to mitigate them. More to your question- virtually everyone of the claims that masks don’t work made on Ricochet are based on misunderstanding (hopefully) or misrepresenting the studies cited. We can not possibly choose the best way to handle the pandemic if we refuse to properly consider the data we have. The weight of evidence is that masks decrease the transmission of the virus. That doesn’t mean we should or shouldn’t mandate them- it doesn’t mean Whitmer isn’t a micromanaging megalomaniac-it doesn’t mean we need a lockdown until the 1st Tuesday in November. But it does mean that they are the cheapest, safest, and least damaging to the economy measure we have to fight the virus that also has data supporting it.

    No answer, thanks.

    • #30
    • May 31, 2020, at 4:58 AM PDT
    • 1 like