Contributor Post Created with Sketch. COVID Theatre Kills

 

Today the New York City Mayor’s Office announced that like it’s doing with restaurants, soon storefronts will be doing business outside. Just in time for the balmy months of winter, famously temperate and mild in the Northeast United States.

This is yet another anti-science response to COVID. Throughout contact tracing efforts, we’ve never seen grocery stores or other retail operations prove to be a hotspot for COVID, if they were, we’d all have had it in March and April.

I think to some extent, masks are another part of our COVID theatre. They have been billed as a magic bullet that will save us all, except, they aren’t.

It’s the same story in Europe. John McGuirk, an Irish writer and political commentator wonders:

We now have far more cases than we had in the spring, when the official consensus from Governments was that facemasks are bad.

How can this be so? Are there other explanations?

First, remember what the argument against masks was, back in the Spring:

Here in Ireland, HSE lead for infectious diseases Prof Martin Cormican recently reviewed guidelines on mask-wearing for hospital staff and came to the conclusion that there was no evidence to support the wearing of surgical masks by healthcare workers for close patient encounters and staff meetings.

Citing WHO advice, Prof Cormican suggested mask-wearing by people with no symptoms could create unnecessary cost and create “a false sense of security”.

That’s the HSE lead for infectious diseases, warning that masks might actually be counter-productive, saying that wearing them could lead to people dropping their guard.

Is that what’s happened? Is there a sense, perhaps, that wearing the mask is a good enough protection and that other attempts at self-preservation have fallen by the wayside? How many people, for example, still keep hand sanitiser in their cars, and use it immediately after getting in? How many people have stopped doing that, and now take their mask off using hands they’ve touched fourteen or fifteen surfaces with?

Repeatedly, in the spring, we were warned that facemasks would pose hygiene risks – that people would touch them, not clean them properly, and mis-use them in such a way as to actually heighten the risk of virus transmission. Do those warnings look more, or less, prescient, today?

Of course, there’s no going back. Because for most people, masks do provide a sense of security. But could it be that the sense of security is, in fact, what’s proving fatal?

This has been my thinking on masks over the last few weeks especially, as I’ve seen the social distancing we know slows the spread slowly fading, as folks around me relying on whatever protection they think they’re getting from their masks. This is an extension what I call COVID theatre, the games we play that make us think we’re safer, but really do little more than lower our guard.

Earlier in the pandemic, we saw another important part of COVID theatre taking center stage: temperature checks. At several local businesses, they were performed outside, and I always liked to sneak a peek at the number and laugh: usually our temperatures were in the 93-degree range; even in the heat of the summer. On one outing I noticed all of my kids’ readings were “too low” on the thermometer gun, which I saw as we were waved in for admission.

I recalled this today as I read a powerful profile of Herman Cain from BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray, and in her piece, she talked to Cain’s family about his decision to attend the President’s rally in Tulsa.

Melanie Cain Gallo believes he could have been more careful — after the Tulsa rally, she said, she questioned him herself about why he wasn’t wearing a mask in the photo he tweeted. He told his daughter that he felt comfortable enough to do so because of the event’s temperature checks, a measure that was popular early in the pandemic that scientists increasingly say offers little protection.

We know one effective preventative in the fight against COVID: physical distancing (which, frustratingly is more commonly known as social distancing). Regular hand washing and avoiding touching one’s face doesn’t hurt either. With all of the additional COVID theatre, I think at the tail end of this epidemic we’ll wonder how much it actually contributed to the death toll. At the best, we may learn it led to a feeling of complacency, and at the worst, we may discover it made viral transmission worse.

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  1. Henry Racette Contributor

    Regarding mask efficacy, John Hinderaker over at PowerlineBlog has an interesting post that takes a closer look at your graph — the one with the peculiar Y-axis label.

    At Powerline: Do Masks Work?

     

    • #1
    • October 28, 2020, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Old Bathos Moderator

    Health care workers who know how to use masks properly still get infected. Eyeballs? Surface contamination? The CDC is still revising its theory of transmission. Big fat wet droplets or small suspended aerosols? Through eye mucosa? How long do fomites last in the air (or on or in a mask?

    We know with certainty that cheapo cloth masks accomplish nothing other than symbolic submission to the mandate.

    No jurisdiction that mandated masks can show an outcome different for other jurisdictions in the same outbreak latitude.Masks as policy do not work.

    The evil fact is that we will have continued lockdowns, massive damage to our wealth, health, well-being, and social fabric because Dr. Fauci, Andrew Cuomo and others whose ego and reputation are invested in a failed policy don’t have the character or integrity to admit they were wrong and instead will just keep us under thumb until the bug recedes on its own as it inevitably will and then they will demand we give them credit for this glorious outcome.

    • #2
    • October 28, 2020, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  3. Hammer, The Member

    @bethanymandel– read this!

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/10/do-masks-work.php

    Regarding the tweet you put in your post.

    • #3
    • October 28, 2020, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Manny Member

    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    • #4
    • October 28, 2020, at 6:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Old Bathos Moderator

    Manny (View Comment):

    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    Maybe worst ever out of 109 mayors of NYC. He’s making the Dinkins years look like a golden age.

    • #5
    • October 28, 2020, at 6:38 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Dutch study, which has been rejected by every medical journal because it is more politically incorrect than scientifically incorrect, says that masks do nothing. That is an unacceptable answer to politicians who are more afraid of the baying mobs than they are of the virus itself.

    They feel they must do something. Anything. 

    • #6
    • October 28, 2020, at 7:18 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. Old Bathos Moderator

    Manny (View Comment):
    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    Maybe worst ever out of 109 mayors of NYC. He’s making the Dinkins years look like a golden age.

    • #7
    • October 28, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Manny Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    Maybe worst ever out of 109 mayors of NYC. He’s making the Dinkins years look like a golden age.

    He’s worse than Dinkins. de Blasio is down-right arrogant on tip of his stupidity. Dinkins had a streak of humility.

    • #8
    • October 28, 2020, at 9:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The evil fact is that we will have continued lockdowns, massive damage to our wealth, health, well-being, and social fabric because Dr. Fauci, Andrew Cuomo and others whose ego and reputation are invested in a failed policy don’t have the character or integrity to admit they were wrong and instead will just keep us under thumb until the bug recedes on its own as it inevitably will and then they will demand we give them credit for this glorious outcome.

    OldB,

    That about sums it up. These creeps who “believe in science” don’t know any science. They are lefty totalitarian idiots. Whatever they do it is guaranteed to make things worse.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #9
    • October 28, 2020, at 10:34 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Manny (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    Maybe worst ever out of 109 mayors of NYC. He’s making the Dinkins years look like a golden age.

    He’s worse than Dinkins. de Blasio is down-right arrogant on tip of his stupidity. Dinkins had a streak of humility.

    It’s interesting to see that de Blasio’s action against the restaurants is in direct odds to the position taken by Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, who you’d assume is just as big a progressive as Mr. Wilhelm, but took a stand on Tuesday against Gov. Pritzker’s ban on indoor dining.

    “There’s a number of restrictions, and we’re very concerned about them. Our restaurant industry, our bars, our gyms, indoor spaces – if the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread,” Lightfoot told PBS News Hour host Judy Woodruff. “So we’re going to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it’s not looking good, and if we can’t convince them that some other metrics should apply, then the shutdown, unfortunately, is going to take effect starting on Friday by state order.”

    This could be nothing more than the difference between a progressive mayor who is not term-limited, and wants to win re-election in the future, and one who’s gone on 12/31/21 and is now basing his actions on becoming King of the Socialists after he leaves office. But it does show that even if it’s just for her own personal interest, Lightfoot gets that both restaurant owners and customers are going to be negatively impacted by ramping up the shutdowns.

    • #10
    • October 29, 2020, at 2:23 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. RufusRJones Member

    The Powerline article. The AIER article. Julie Kelly has a brutal article out just yesterday. They are obviously hiding the Danish mask study until after the election at least, because it’s bad for masks.

    Masks aren’t worth the trouble or the money in almost any way. People should be putting on paper masks in obvious problematic situations and that’s it. Cloth masks probably make it worse. They think cloth masks actually aerosolized droplets. You can’t make it up. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #11
    • October 29, 2020, at 2:49 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Rodin Member

    If the media were not so invested in the political narrative the government could not control people to the extent they have thus far. Something has got to give. Currently progressives think they have control within the grasp. Many of us know that this is not true for a significant portion of the population who reject such control. But the question for which so many of us are watching the election, is how many of us are there? With the tech monopolies coordinating the messaging, and suppression of counter messaging, we are left uncertain as to whether standard republican processes are sufficient to assure freedom in the future. Pray that they are.

    • #12
    • October 29, 2020, at 3:01 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Regarding mask efficacy, John Hinderaker over at PowerlineBlog has an interesting post that takes a closer look at your graph — the one with the peculiar Y-axis label.

    At Powerline: Do Masks Work?

     

    That’s a great link. When I first looked at the original graph, I thought “Know someone with COVID”? How is that a knowable, valid thing, and why would you put it on the chart? It tells you literally nothing about mask efficacy.

     

    • #13
    • October 29, 2020, at 4:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    I’m hoping all this craziness goes away after the election. Probably won’t given what’s happening in Europe right now. All I know is we in NYC have the worst mayor of my lifetime.

    TWICE! 

    • #14
    • October 29, 2020, at 4:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Old Buckeye Member

    The government can’t control the virus, but they can control the people. Until they can’t. 

    • #15
    • October 29, 2020, at 4:47 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bethany Mandel: This is yet another anti-science response to COVID. Throughout contact tracing efforts, we’ve never seen grocery stores or other retail operations prove to be a hotspot for COVID, if they were, we’d all have had it in March and April.

    Supermarkets are super crowded and yet, there is no pile of dead cashiers outside the door. In fact, many of the same faces month after month so . . .

    As for NYC allowing outdoor shopping, we are coming into November and December which is not exactly prime sidewalk sale season. But thank you oh great and merciful mayor for allowing people to make a tiny fraction of their normal sales during their most important quarter of the year.

    • #16
    • October 29, 2020, at 5:26 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. RufusRJones Member

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    The government can’t control the virus, but they can control the people. Until they can’t.

    I finally figured out how to think about this. The only thing the government should be doing is controlling the rate at which medical resources get consumed over this thing. That, and protect the vulnerable. The only way to not create any net damage from policy is to fight it primarily with that in mind. You fight it with medical resources. Anything else has far too many side effects.

    • #17
    • October 29, 2020, at 5:35 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. OldPhil Coolidge

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The Powerline article. The AIER article. Julie Kelly has a brutal article out just yesterday.

    Here’s another one:

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/29/these-12-graphs-show-mask-mandates-do-nothing-to-stop-covid/

    • #18
    • October 29, 2020, at 5:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. MiMac Thatcher

    Come on man! DeBlazio (or Wilhem or whatever his name is..) is just doing small business a service- since he won’t allow the police to stop looting, by having goods located outside the store he allows looters to steal w/o damaging the building! It’s a win-win! We can redistribute wealth w/o creating fires (which generate greenhouse gases-worsening global warming- I mean climate change) and after the business close we can use the intact structures to provide shelter for the homeless….then since there is no private economic activity in the city-the city will have to step in & provide all services—so we create the socialist utopia!!!

    Of course soon thereafter we enter the second phase- aka Venezulastan-but not until the post election truth & reconciliation commission takes care of all those Kulaks (I mean republican voters/racists/homophobes etc). Comrade Reich is already preparing the particulars…

    addendum- pardon my use of man- I should have said human-or person with a penis identifying as a man &/or person w/o penis identifying as a man or…

    • #19
    • October 29, 2020, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. RufusRJones Member

    Dennis Prager had a brutal caller about how in Chicago they fine you for not cleaning up after a riot. It totally wipes out the businesses and then they still owe on the fines. That is extremely messed up.

    • #20
    • October 29, 2020, at 6:41 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. MiMac Thatcher

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Dennis Prager had a brutal caller about how in Chicago they fine you for not cleaning up after a riot. It totally wipes out the businesses and then they still owe on the fines. That is extremely messed up.

    AKA-exit taxes-coming soon to a blue state near you.

    • #21
    • October 29, 2020, at 6:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. RufusRJones Member

    MiMac (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Dennis Prager had a brutal caller about how in Chicago they fine you for not cleaning up after a riot. It totally wipes out the businesses and then they still owe on the fines. That is extremely messed up.

    AKA-exit taxes-coming soon to a blue state near you.

    Nothing pisses me off more than that. They have something like that with Chicago house sales. It’s ridiculous.

    If you have to resort to that, you did something wrong along time ago.

    • #22
    • October 29, 2020, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Buckpasser Member
    BuckpasserJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Since I only wear a kercheif and I have not washed it and constantly touch it if I am forced by a gun to wear it, I have died at least once a week for the past six months.

    • #23
    • October 29, 2020, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. MarciN Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    The government can’t control the virus, but they can control the people. Until they can’t.

    I finally figured out how to think about this. The only thing the government should be doing is controlling the rate at which medical resources get consumed over this thing. That, and protect the vulnerable. The only way to not create any net damage from policy is to fight it primarily with that in mind. You fight it with medical resources. Anything else has far too many side effects.

    I’m not sure they should even be doing that much. I now think they should retreat to the role the National Weather Service plays in our lives: “Hey, guys, the weather is conducive to the spread of colds, allergies, and viruses. Those with low immunity or hyperactive allergies should probably stay indoors. Good day for golf though, and a great one for camping because the mosquito count is low.” 

    That’s it. That’s all they need to do. 

    • #24
    • October 29, 2020, at 9:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. MarciN Member

    I have very mixed feelings about the probable efficacy of mask wearing in preventing the spread of this virus.

    I spent a good part of my life taking care of babies (I had three of them :-) ). For the first couple of years, I certainly avoided close contact with everyone, and people were very considerate if they had a cold and did not cough all over the babies.

    I can’t prove the masks work to prevent the spread of upper respiratory viruses and bacteria, but my maternal instincts are telling me they probably help a little bit. We have an innate aversion to people coughing on us. I think the mask wearing is simply an outward expression of that reflex.

    In areas where the virus is prevalent in the population, probably nothing works but dumb luck to prevent people from getting it. But in areas where it is not too bad, maybe the masks help keep it from getting worse. I can’t prove it, but I also can’t prove the efficacy of a lot of other things I do in the kitchen or bathroom or public settings. :-) I just do them and hope for the best.

    When our little family was beset with a cold of some sort, when the first person got sick, we all stepped up our prevention methods in hopes the rest of us would escape it. When the second person got it and we were already tired from the first round of prevention work, we kind of became resigned to the idea that it was inescapable. After it had worked its way through the whole household, we’d go into a massive cleaning, disinfecting, and airing out. That cleaning up was cathartic and helped us get past the bad week and move on. :-)

    I can see the objections to wearing them–if I had to wear one for more than twenty minutes at a time, I’d be hollering too. I’ve noticed in my local CVS that the clerks are not wearing them all the time, just the customers. That makes a lot of sense to me since I believe that wearing them all the time can cause sinus issues for people. The bacteria and viruses that our nose filters out are getting concentrated and breathed back in by people who have to wear them for long periods of time. I’m glad the CVS managers seem to be going with the social distance or mask wearing for the employees. That’s what my grandson’s (private) school is doing too. There’s no need to do both. That’s where I wish this would end. That makes the most sense to me. Their clerks can easily avoid coming within three or four feet of the customers.

    • #25
    • October 29, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. RufusRJones Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    The government can’t control the virus, but they can control the people. Until they can’t.

    I finally figured out how to think about this. The only thing the government should be doing is controlling the rate at which medical resources get consumed over this thing. That, and protect the vulnerable. The only way to not create any net damage from policy is to fight it primarily with that in mind. You fight it with medical resources. Anything else has far too many side effects.

    I’m not sure they should even be doing that much. I now think they should retreat to the role the National Weather Service plays in our lives: “Hey, guys, the weather is conducive to the spread of colds, allergies, and viruses. Those with low immunity or hyperactive allergies should probably stay indoors. Good day for golf though, and a great one for camping because the mosquito count is low.”

    That’s it. That’s all they need to do.

    The problem is, the public cannot engage in just any behavior and then still keep it under medical resources. I had a big right winger getting really angry at me that I didn’t know anything about Florida, but they were using the National Guard and making top down decisions. This idiot didn’t even think they should be gathering data.

    I’m not saying these people are well intended, competent, and non-politicized. Minnesota is a disaster in this sentence. 

    • #26
    • October 29, 2020, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Hammer, The Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The Powerline article. The AIER article. Julie Kelly has a brutal article out just yesterday.

    Here’s another one:

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/29/these-12-graphs-show-mask-mandates-do-nothing-to-stop-covid/

    That’s a great article. Shared with a few friends. It would be nice if more people could get over their individualized (and self-interested, quite frankly) fear and start looking at the actual facts.

    It will be really interesting to see how people respond when they discover that masks have done more harm than good – far from protecting against covid, they make infection more likely and have prolonged a pandemic that should otherwise have been long gone (as in Sweden).

    • #27
    • October 29, 2020, at 10:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Hammer, The Member

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Since I only wear a kercheif and I have not washed it and constantly touch it if I am forced by a gun to wear it, I have died at least once a week for the past six months.

    I have a beautiful silk scarf of my wife’s, which I wear around my neck. I have never put masks on the kids at all.

    I considered buying this:

    https://www.aier.org/product/aier-scarf/

    But it really only makes a statement if people know enough to recognize Bastiat when they see him… Granted, I wear a Madison lapel pin to court every day, and some people have asked about it, which sparks conversation. So who knows?

    • #28
    • October 29, 2020, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Old Bathos Moderator

    This mask is probably at least as effective as the cloth cheapies and kinda restates our relationship with our rulers.

     

    • #29
    • October 29, 2020, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. MiMac Thatcher

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The Powerline article. The AIER article. Julie Kelly has a brutal article out just yesterday.

    Here’s another one:

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/29/these-12-graphs-show-mask-mandates-do-nothing-to-stop-covid/

    That’s a great article. Shared with a few friends. It would be nice if more people could get over their individualized (and self-interested, quite frankly) fear and start looking at the actual facts.

    It will be really interesting to see how people respond when they discover that masks have done more harm than good – far from protecting against covid, they make infection more likely and have prolonged a pandemic that should otherwise have been long gone (as in Sweden).

    I really like the Federalist-but in this case they did a REALLY bad job. Go ahead read the citations provided by the article- news flash: overall they support mask use. The CEBM article relies on a study of cloth mask wearing that showed an increased rate of influenza in hospital workers wearing cloth masks-that study had numerous problems (and to their credit the authors themselves have said so). 1st, it was a study of HEALTHCARE workers who where heavily exposed to influenza by definition (since they worked on “high-risk wards” with many such patients). It is unlikely such a exposure load would occur to anyone in the community. The authors seem to believe the masks became saturated with virus and thereby didn’t protect the worker. More importantly, many of the “control group” wore surgical masks ( https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577.responses#covid-19-shortages-of-masks-and-the-use-of-cloth-masks-as-a-last-resort) so they didn’t demonstrate masks did not work- only that surgical masks might be better. The Federalist author completely misinterprets the NEJM opinion piece of May 21, 2020- the authors have a subsequent article that completely refutes his understanding of the 1st article-written specifically to try to stop such use of their 1st article (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2020836?query=recirc_curatedRelated_article). The NCBI study cited had a total of 32 workers involved and had a TOTAL of two colds reported- one in each group (masks vs no mask)-a study of so little power it is practically useless. The Cambridge study cited states in the summary- “There is some evidence to support the wearing of masks or respirators during illness to protect others, and public health emphasis on mask wearing during illness may help to reduce influenza virus transmission. There are fewer data to support the use of masks or respirators to prevent becoming infected(emphasis mine)”. The Oxford study cited states in its abstract: “This systematic review and meta-analysis supports the use of respiratory protection.” The last study cited (Influenza Journal): states :“Eight of nine retrospective observational studies found that mask and ⁄ or respirator use was independently associated with a reduced risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome(SARS).” All these journals admit the data isn’t great but almost all believe masks work & misquoting such studies does no one any good. It is profoundly mistaken to state that these pieces show the lack of efficacy for masks as the Federalist author tries.

    • #30
    • October 29, 2020, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.