To Mask or Not To Mask… By I.M. Doctoo

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To Mask or Not To Mask…

By I.M. Doctoo

 

I recently read a self-professed rant from a person identifying themselves as a surgeon, berating people who object to wearing masks.  It’s a classic “appeal to authority” argument with the ranter holding up their own experience as a surgeon as authority regarding masks.  There are, however, many shades of accuracy in the argument, and the “surgeon” really shows some gaps in their medical knowledge… not to mention their compassion. 

In the hopes of leavening the panic with a bit of counterargument and facts from ANOTHER medical professional viewpoint – here’s MY rant in response to:

 

“… here’s my rant about masks…”

 

 As is customary in such things, the original article is in italics, my response is in bold.  I’m withholding the name of the OP doc for obvious reasons.

 

 I have spent the past 39 years working in the field of surgery.

 

 Good for you.  That makes you an expert in surgery.  Not physiology, not immunology, not virology, microbiology, or epidemiology.  Also, given the name provided in the original article, plus additional information such as “39 years” and retired, we can paint a fairly good picture of this person:  Male, age 65+, very likely a 10-15% body fat, tall, lean and fairly fit Caucasian (based on demographics of medical students pre-1980).  Their most likely vices were nicotine and caffeine – and to have lasted 39 years as a surgeon, they likely gave up smoking in the 90’s when it became prohibitive for docs to smoke – and likely only recreational alcohol use except for college and the occasional vacation.

So, we have a mental image of our “ranter.” This is important for some later comments.

 For a significant part of that time, I have worn a mask. I have worked with hundreds (probably thousands) of colleagues during those years, who have also worn masks. Not a single one us of became ill, passed out or died from lack of oxygen. Not a single one of us became ill, passed out or died from breathing too much carbon dioxide. Not a single one us of became ill, passed out or died from rebreathing a little of our own exhaled air. Let’s begin here by putting those scare tactics to rest! 

 

This is anecdote, not science.  But aside from that, let’s start with what masks this surgeon was wearing:  A standard surgical mask is a thin paper (or synthetic fiber) weave designed with a pore size of about .1-.3 microns to stop the medical professional from sneezing or coughing on the surgical field. It’s lightweight and did I say thin?  About the same weight and thickness as a single layer of lightweight fabric.

Now let’s talk about what the CDC and NIH guidelines say about effective cloth masks:  “Multilayer fabric consisting of a high thread count cotton outer layer, two layers of batting, and an inner ‘comfort’ layer of flannel.”  By the way, that’s not a bad composition for filtering.  It has small pores, a “tortuous” pathway for the air to flow and the flannel (or silk if you prefer) provides an electrostatic effect that can help filter more particulates.  Except for one small thing – the pathway is designed to filter INCOMING particles.  To perform the task of filtering sneezes and coughs, you only need the simplest of barriers.  But more on that later.

Now let’s talk about what our surgeon was doing during those hours in surgery:

He was standing still.  In one place, while the nurse handed him all of his instruments. 

They were not walking, climbing steps, hurrying into the store, carrying a child, hauling groceries, etc.  No, in fact, moving around the surgical theater is contraindicated and increases the chances of contamination.  So, he stood still performing surgery.  For hours at end, with little to no change in rate of breathing or airflow the whole time.  Most likely the moment he could escape the OR – that mask was OFF!  In fact, hospital and OSHA regulations said that the mask MUST come off the moment one leaves the contaminated field.  Because that’s what a patient area is… a contaminated space.

So, our surgeon actually has NO idea how if feels to wear a mask in any situation other than standing still for hours at a time.  Again, this is important to his rant.

  1. JUST. DOESN’T. KNOW.

He doesn’t have the experience, and some statements further down suggest that he doesn’t retain the medical knowledge either. 

 

(It is true that some people, with advanced lung diseases, may be so fragile that a mask could make their already-tenuous breathing more difficult. If your lungs are that bad, you probably shouldn’t be going out in public at the present time anyway; the consequences if you are exposed to Covid-19 would likely be devastating.) 

 

So this statement shows a profound insensitivity and arrogance. “Already tenuous breathing?”  How would he know?  Again, his personal experience is negligible, and he proves himself to be ignorant of basic physiology with this comment.  A “normal” person can have breathing difficulty without their lungs being “that bad.”  I personally have an airway issue from a double-fractured septum.  It reduces the airway diameter and increases the speed air flows through my nostrils.  It is differentially affected by various mask materials – It’s fairly simple to test O2 saturation during recovery from exertion.  If you have a sportswatch, it likely has an O2 test (look for “stress”) some of them use a relative scale, but again, a reasonable test is to go up and down the same flight of stairs three times, quickly.  Do this test without a mask.  Before the first trip, check your blood O2 saturation (or stress level – it uses heart rate and O2) – then make the three trips and then check O2 every minute until it returns to normal/pre-test level.  Now do it again with a mask.  For me, it takes about twice as long to come back to normal with a thin surgical mask – even longer with a cloth mask.

So yeah, O2 recovery from exertion is a thing, and it’s affected by masks. You need higher airflow with more physical movement.  THIS IS WHY PEOPLE ARE ADVISED TO NOT EXERCISE WHILE WEARING MASKS!  Duh. It’s different than simply standing still in one place for hours.

Surgeon 0, Science (common sense and compassion) 1.

The reason this comes up is because filtering virus particles and other microorganisms requires one of two things – either (1) pore sizes smaller than what is being filtered – or (2) a tortuous path that performs the same function by causing airflow to change directions.  With the latter, small particles don’t change directions as easily as gases, so they run into the fibers of the mask and get trapped. [By the way, this is why used masks need to be disposed or sanitized.]  Surgical masks use technique 1, and air flows fairly easily.  EFFECTIVE cloth masks use technique 2, and they definitely alter airflow.

My favorite source for data on mask composition (and it’s a good one – these are real benefits of proper mask wear and construction) is: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252.  They report both filtration efficiency based on particle size, as well as the differential pressure drop.  The pressure drop through the various mask materials doesn’t seem significant – 3.0 Pascals (Pa) for multilayer/hybrid cloth masks vs. 2.2 Pas for an N95 or 2.5 Pa for a surgical mask… until one realizes that (1) it represents 15-25% increase in resistance, and (2) the flow rate they tested – 1.2 cubic feet per minute (CFM) is around half of the normal RESTING breathing rate of a human (60 liters/min which equals roughly 2 cfm) whereas just WALKING typically results in flow rates up to 5x higher (300 liters/min).  Now – there’s something important here – and that is that pressure drop increases with the square of flow rate (It’s called Bernoulli’s Principle).  Fast walking, going up stairs, carrying a load (like an infant) means a 10x increase in airflow from what was tested.  10x airflow means 100x the pressure drop.  So now the 3 Pa pressure drop for a cloth mask becomes 300 Pa drop.  That may still seem insignificant compared to atmospheric pressure (100,000 Pa), but consider this – a standard CPAP setting of 10 = 1000 Pa – so the amount of pressure drop from a mask under these conditions is about one-third the pressure of a CPAP!

So – yes, masks DO cause a drop in pressure. 

Surgeon 0, Science 2.  The only reason our surgeon ranter never experienced a pressure drop is because he was STANDING STILL!   

 

~ “But”, you ask, “can’t viruses go right through the mask, because they are so small?” (“Masks keep viruses out just as well as a chain link fence keeps mosquitoes out,” some tell us.) It is true that individual virus particles can pass through the pores of a mask; however, viruses don’t move on their own. They do not fly across the room like a mosquito, wiggle through your mask like a worm, or fly up your nose like a gnat. The virus is essentially nothing more than a tiny blob of genetic material. Covid-19 travels in a CARRIER – the carrier is a fluid droplet- fluid droplets that you expel when you cough, sneeze, sing, laugh, talk or simply exhale. Most of your fluid droplets will be stopped from entering the air in the room if you are wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is a very efficient way to protect others if you are carrying the virus (even if you don’t know that you are infected). In addition, if someone else’s fluid droplets happen to land on your mask, many of them will not pass through. This gives the wearer some additional protection, too. But, the main reason to wear a mask is to PROTECT OTHERS. Even if you don’t care about yourself, wear your mask to protect your neighbors, co-workers and friends! 

 

OKAY, this is Point Of Failure Number Two.  Sorry, Doc, but you just FAILED virology 101.

Because what you’re talking about is AEROSOL – that’s viruses trapped in droplets of snots and spit.  However, COVID19 is also AIRBORNE!  So yeah, they DO “fly across the room” – well, they actually float.  Like dust motes.  Dust particles as large as 2-5 microns float in air – in fact, you can see them indoors in still air illuminated in a beam of sunlight through a window.  Two-to-five microns is pretty big compared to a virus.  The coronavirus particle is around one-tenth of a micron.  [Hint: watch how long cigarette smoke hangs in the air – it’s a similar size.]

So yeah, individual virus particles can float, and guess what?  They can get through that mask… any mask. 

Surgeon 0, Science 4

The good news is that the virus doesn’t last long in air.  Yes, it survives more in aerosol droplets – but to understand why airborne virus is an issue – think about where the virus lives.  Docs test you for COVID19 by taking a swab from the back of the nose.  They’ve found that even in some people not showing symptoms (and especially people showing the first symptoms – the amount of virus in that area is significant.  That means that you don’t have to sneeze of cough to release coronavirus.  You just have to breathe out.  That puts airborne virus in the air.

Floating.

Especially floating past the fibers of that surgical mask or a single layer cotton mask (or worse, macramé or sock material!).  Have you ever walked past a smoker while wearing your mask and smelled the smoke?  Then your mask is not filtering.  Cigarette smoke particulates run from .1 to 1 micron, typically.  If they can get through your mask, then so can an airborne virus!

Now aerosol droplets are pretty large typically more than 1 micron – and in cases of coughs and sneezes – MUCH more than 1 micron.  The CDC itself (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aerosols/pdfs/Aerosol_101.pdf) says that the time required for a particle to settle out of air depends on its size – a 100-micron droplet (spittle) settles out in about 6 seconds.  10 microns (sneeze) in 8 minutes.  Half a micron (virus and some bacteria) or smaller? More than 2 days.

The large size also means they are more easily filtered.  Cheap, low thread count cotton or polyester will filter most particles above a micron in size – so in reality, a mask made of the thinnest material is sufficient for preventing your own aerosol droplets from getting out. 

The problem is that if the goal is stopping the virus, it’s not enough.  If you are infected, you’re emitting both aerosol and airborne virus. 

Now, if I were inclined to be charitable, I’d say that our surgeon just suffered from oversimplification.  *IF* – we’ll see, though.

~ A mask is certainly not 100% protective. However, it appears that the severity of Covid-19 infection is at least partially “dose-dependent.” In other words, the more virus particles that enter your body, the sicker you are likely to become. Why not decrease that volume if you can? “What have you got to lose?!”

 

Masks are still effective, right?  Well, yes and no.  No comfortable mask is going to filter the airborne virus.  It WILL filter aerosol.  Yes, but the simplest/thinnest mask will do that – but not the airborne virus – because despite his protestations to the contrary, our surgeon ignored one of the infection routes for the virus… and that’s a serious failing.

By the way, the vaunted N95 masks do NOT filter exhalation.  They are strictly to protect the WEARER, and not the public, as is particularly discussed on social media.  N95’s have an exhalation valve that allows exhalation out, but closes when you inhale so that the air is filtered.  That’s not going to stop a sneeze.  So forget about your cloth mask being equivalent to a doctor’s N95 – it’s much more like the paper-thin surgical mask which we already show can’t filter all of the virus (especially not when it includes straw holes, breathing flaps, or is worn below the nostrils!).   

But here comes that kicker… “what have you got to lose?”  Well, even the thinnest of masks can be problematic for some people.  If you have reduced airway, you need higher airflow – masks by their very nature reduce airflow.  Our surgeon may not have noticed it, but it happened.  It’s just wasn’t critical for the activity he was engaged in.  There’s other biological imperatives – people with beards or facial deformities can’t get a good seal. Persons with a psychological issue (like a rape experience, claustrophobia, feeling of being trapped, etc.) can’t wear something over mouth and nose – it causes panic attacks, higher respiration rate, and problems with O2 saturation.  [By the way, if you have to sleep with a CPAP, your airway is prone to collapse when airflow is reduced – so you probably shouldn’t be wearing a mask that restricts airflow! See above that the effective pressure drop with high flow rates from mild exertion begin to approach the pressures of a CPAP machine!]

But he doesn’t address that, preferring instead to take the arrogant normative male position of “What have you got to lose?”

The answer – is that we have a hell of a lot to lose because it’s possible to be airway compromised and still need to go to the store for groceries (hint – not every place delivers or can pick exactly what you ask for from an online order)!

Surgeon 0, Science (and compassion) 5

 

~ “But doesn’t a requirement or a request to wear a mask violate my constitutional rights?” You’re also not allowed to go into the grocery store if you are not wearing pants. You can’t yell “fire” in the Produce Department. You’re not allowed to urinate on the floor in the Frozen Food Section. Do you object to those restrictions? Rules, established for the common good, are component of a civilized society.

 

TWEET!  Penalty on the play!  Red Herring and false analogy!  You’re really going to equate wearing a mask with pissing on the floor? 

That’s pretty damned arrogant; not to mention privileged.

Penalty assessed: Surgeon -1, Science 5.

He’s right in a way, though, but that’s why I didn’t take away two points for the blatant Red Herring Fallacy (https://thebestschools.org/magazine/15-logical-fallacies-know/).  We don’t have the right to impair the health of another.  Unfortunately applying that concept to masks misses two important points – the impact on the health of the wearer, which can be physical or psychological – and the blind assumption that anyone not wearing a mask is spreading COVID19. 

So – that’s Failure Three.  The evidence on this last assumption is still in debate.  The initial data that said COVID was spread by asymptomatic individuals was based on contact tracing and data from China. I’m not saying China was lying, but a lot of their data is incomplete and/or inconsistent.  Frankly, we should not be relying on it.  There’s other data, though – the Skagit Chorale case (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e6.htm) showed 53 of 61 members of a choral group were likely infected from one “superspreader” who was presumably asymptomatic at the time.  HOWEVER, there’s been no positive identification of the person who brought the infection to the group other than one person who had reported cold-like symptoms that started four days before the second of two rehearsal sessions the group had in common. 

This case *looks* like a classic case of asymptomatic spread… but it isn’t it’s undefined. 

Now let’s look at Hamburg Germany – a businessperson from China attended a meeting, and later 2/3 of the attendees tested positive with no other contact in common other than this “asymptomatic” person who subsequently tested positive after return to China.

Another asymptomatic spread, right? 

Nope.  The case study has been challenged in the scientific literature because it turns out that other evidence surfaced showing that the “asymptomatic” person was actually symptomatic and sought some “cold relief” prior to the meeting.

Then again, we DO have cases that can ONLY have been transmitted from people showing little to no symptoms.  The aforementioned high nasal virus tests have occurred in asymptomatic persons, and they are likely spreading virus.  On the other hand, data from northern Germany, Iceland, Sweden, S. Korea, the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, all point to a high percentage of positive tests resulting in little to no symptoms (as high as 90% asymptomatic) and low transmission FROM those presumed asymptomatic individuals (<40% of cases).

You’ll notice the caveat about “presumed asymptomatic cases” because this factors in one other of the scientific reports on asymptomatic transmission.  The prestigious Scripps Research Institute published a meta-analysis on asymptomatic spread (https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-3012) that again repeats the 40-45% value regarding spread of the disease from asymptomatic patients.  The problem with this paper is that it is a meta-analysis – it reads existing reports, puts it into a combined analysis, and generates conclusions.  The problems are (1) it is not a controlled clinical trial or study, (2) it relies on the accuracy of the reports used in the study, and (3) it is based on some studies with ridiculously low counts of asymptomatic subjects – in fact, two of the five “longitudinal” databases include 3 and 4 “positive but asymptomatic” subjects, respectively!  In addition, there are at least three databases that are homeless or inmate populations that ignore the very evidence of “superspreaders” such as shown by the Skaggit Chorale study

There is a saying in computer science that fits here: “Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

The only conclusion we can come to is that asymptomatic individuals MAY spread COVID19 – but if they do, it’s probably only accounting for around a third of the cases.

The one that CAN be gleaned from the Scripps meta-analysis is that each population that showed high likelihood of spread in the absence of symptoms – involved hours, if not DAYS of contact. You know – like in jails, nursing homes, cruise ships… etc.  Precisely the groups that social distancing – without masks – is supposed to address!  In fact, the authorities blame the 2.5-hour rehearsals and singing (with aerosol droplets, no less) for the Skaggit Chorale superspreaders.

~ “But aren’t masks uncomfortable?” Some would say that underwear or shoes can be uncomfortable, but we still wear them. (Actually, being on a ventilator is pretty darned uncomfortable, too!) Are masks really so bad that you can’t tolerate them, even if they will help keep others healthy?

 

TWEET!  “Think of the children ploy!”  Also known as “Appeal to Pity.”  Yes, you’re doing it for others… except there’s no solid evidence that you are “keeping others healthy,” and plenty of evidence that mask wearing can cause psychological harm to others.

But yes, the whole argument is that we need to wear masks FOR OTHERS while ignoring the fact that some people CANNOT and should not wear masks.

Surgeon -1, Science 6

I can just hear it now: “But how will we know the difference?” bleats the masked person in line behind you at the grocery store?  “How do we know if the person not wearing a mask is doing it for a valid medical reason?”

Sorry, but you don’t   It’s a matter of trust, which is sadly lacking in society these days. 

If you are an individual – you might ask “Psst, why are you wearing a mask?”  Well, you can ask, but you are not entitled to an answer.  It’s considered private – or in technical terms, PHI – Protected Health Information.  You, as an individual have no right to breach another person’s privacy.  You might think it your duty to “protect others” but you are violating the protections guaranteed to the person you are questioning.

Now, if you’re not an individual?  You represent a business from grocery store to professional office?  You can ask… and all you are entitled to know is “I have a medical reason.” 

That’s it.

No more.

Not only that, but your business is REQUIRED BY LAW (Americans with Disabilities Act) to make a reasonable accommodation for another person’s medical disability.  But you aren’t entitled to any more than a notification of that disability (and what accommodation is required – although I would think that not wearing a mask is its own explanation).

45 CFR 164 is the relevant section of the US Code of Federal Regulation and it covers the rights to privacy with respect to your personal health information and the penalties for disclosing PHI, or forcing a person to involuntarily reveal PHI.  It triggers a fine for companies, and it’s steep.  For the common citizen?  Basically, all you’re entitled to is silence, but if you push the issue, you may find yourself subject to other reactions.

 

~ “But won’t people think I’m a snowflake or a wimp if I wear a mask?” I hope you have enough self-confidence to overcome that.

 

TWEET! Ad-hominem attack! Y’know, Doc – if you’re resorting to this, then you probably already know how weak your argument is!

Surgeon -10 (this was a low blow), Science 6

 

~ “But won’t I look stupid if I wear a mask?” I’ve decided not to dignify that question with an answer!! 📷🙂

 

 

That’s probably wise.  Because again, it would be either an Ad Hominem or a Tu Cocque attack and has nothing to do with the science or medicine at stake.

Surgeon -100 (It should have been -1000 because at this point, the surgeon is stooping to every logical fallacy in the books! On the other hand, he didn’t say it, merely implied it), Science 6

 

~ “But I never get sick; I’m not worried.” Well, then, wear a mask for the sake of the rest of us who are not so perfect!

 

This is an extremely self-centered approach and a version of the “Sunk Costs” fallacy.  “Think of others, but YOUR problems aren’t important!”

 

There is good evidence that masks make a real difference in diminishing the transmission of Covid-19. Please, for the sake of others (and for the sake of yourself), wear your mask when in public. It won’t kill you!

 

TWEET!  Bandwagon Fallacy!

Well, maybe it won’t kill you – but are you REALLY endorsing causing emotional anguish to the young mother of two with a not-so-benign history with medical professionals?  Or the immigrant from behind the Iron Curtain with traumatic memories of the chloroform-laden cloth being held over her face? 

This is a case where the Doc’s own experience needs to be brought back up. 

There are around 150 medical schools in the US – there’s also about 40 osteopathic schools, and they graduate about 15,000 students each year.  Of those, less than 5% go into the surgical sciences (and the associated 6-7-year residencies) – so generously, about 750 new surgeons per year.  A 30-year-old surgeon is still an apprentice.  40 is average, 50 is old, and a 60-year old still doing surgery is very rare.  So there’s about a 30 year span of practice, so call it 22,500 surgeons in the U.S. at any given time (Physician’s Weekly says 18,000 – but they aren’t including specialties.  Statista says 50k surgeons, but again, that would include some who aren’t doing many procedures – they’re teaching and supervising.

But 50k is a good number.  Statista also says 500k physician specialists, and around 800-900k active doctors in patient care.  Those 50k surgeons thus account for 6-10% of total doctors – and the doctors all total account for 1 in 7000 of the population of the U.S.

So, this brings up an issue with our surgeons “appeal to authority.”  He claims to speak for doctors in general, but in reality, he’s just one in 50k of surgeons, and one in one million doctors (active and retired) in the U.S.  

Unless he has conducted a controlled clinical trial, with appropriate experimental design and statistical analysis… his position is just anecdote.  It’s his experience.  He might be able to muster the agreement of a majority of his fellow surgeons or even a large number of doctors, but even perfect agreement would yield only one-third of one percent of the persons in this country. 

Worse than that, is that he represents a small demographic.  Again, this is a person who completed their medical education pre-1980.  The percentage of non-male, fit, 20-something students in med school in the 70’s was very low.  My class in 1982 was <20% female.  One of the chief complaints with “normal” physiologic measures (body temp of 98.6 F, blood pressure 120/80, heart rate 68, respirations 16, ideal build 5’8″ 168 pounds…) is that it’s an average derived from medical student volunteers in the 50s through 70s.   

No matter how he couches it, his experience is no more than anecdote – particularly since his grasp of the fundamental science, compassion and empathy of the practice of medicine is lacking.

 

P.S. – And, by the way, please be sure that BOTH your nose and mouth are covered!

 

WOW!  Something we actually agree on!  And don’t forget to sanitize it!

 

Recommendations around mask usage are confusing. The science isn’t. Evidence shows that masks are extremely effective to slow the coronavirus and may be the best tool available right now to fight it.”

 

Yes, they are, but they don’t need to be.  Wear a mask if you are sick and can’t simply stay home.  Wear a mask if you are at risk.  Wear a mask if it makes YOU feel better.  But the whole concept of FORCING mask wearing on everybody is as ridiculous as forcing everyone above the age of 2 to wear a bra – for more than half of the population it is totally unnecessary, and for a significant percentage more, it is a matter of choice.  Then there’s the ones for whom it is damaging to their own health.

Above all, let it be a personal choice and RESPECT that choice without recriminations.  If you are so worried about your own health regarding being exposed to those who aren’t wearing masks… there are things you can do for yourself that don’t involve being a control freak who condones BULLYING other people with fallacious arguments.

215 thoughts on “To Mask or Not To Mask… By I.M. Doctoo

  1. I’m still amazed at how little attention has been paid to the psychological effects of all the anti-COVID measures.

    I’d love to see some serious numbers on the suicide rate since the lockdowns started. (And by “love to see” I really mean kinda scared to see.)

    1. Thing is, we’ve yet to see all of the results from people who were stable enough before, but due to the rigors of this stuff, wound up on a trajectory that may kill them sooner or later.

      I’m having challenges, but am personally probably okay. Don’t ask me about others.

    2. This is deliberate. If people are aware of how much damage the government mandated lockdown and restrictions on liberty are doing, they are more likely to fight them not only now, but when the Democrats impose similar mandates by decree by declaring “climate ” and “gun violence” emergencies, something that all of their presidential candidates declared they would do and something which will almost certainly be a part of their official party platform.

      People like to joke about “how do you like your free 30 day trial of socialism” but sadly it is no joke. This really is a trial run for the Democrats and is just a taste of what they seek to impose.

    3. Not only suicides. Drug overdoses, alcohol poisoning, delayed medical procedures, delayed cancer treatment, domestic violence, homelessness due to loss of income, crime due to loss of income, decrease in life expectancy from stress, decrease in life expectancy from poverty, decrease in public health access due to loss of tax revenue, and probably several other factors I can’t recall off the top of my head.

      1. I’m wondering at the mental health of the kids we are telling that they will DIE if they go outside. We will raise a generation of neurotics. Or think of how hard we (pediatricians) worked to limit screen time in children, under the idea that it is bad for developing brains. Now we have essentially jacked the kids into the screens and left them there. (Thinking wireheads…)

      2. homelessness due to loss of income


        Homelessness because evicted out of rental for not paying rent, because the landlord lost the rental property because non-payment of mortgage, because wasn’t being paid the rent.

        Don’t think it won’t happen? How many home rentals are the only rental owned? Might be managed by a managed by a management company, but all likely hood your rent is paying the management fee, mortgage, house insurance, and monthly property taxes, if the homeowner is in the right market. (Been there done that. Made out like bandits on taxes. Extra cash out of it? Not so much. Not even when house sold, but that is a different story … stupid owl.) A landlord with multiple properties, isn’t getting anymore on each individual property owned. I expect the renter expects maintenance to be kept too? With what?

        Oh, you mean the mortgage companies are suppose to take the hit short term? Really? Has everyone forgot the cause of the last housing crash already?

        Does everyone expect forever forgiveness for lack of rent or mortgage payments? No? If don’t have it now, how to expect to have later?

        That doesn’t count evictions to occupying homeowners who can’t pay mortgage.

        1. D, no occupied property evictions should be happening right now. All the investors froze foreclosure proceedings back in March. Latest update shows the Hold until 08/31.

          If property owners are evicting that is on them, not the banks or the law firms the represent the banks. His house is not in immediate danger, his rental property is not in immediate danger. At least not from the bank.

          1. Just read your email on that. Which is good. Talked to someone who does property management. They were just told that people have a year (from the end of the crisis) to make up payments not paid during the crisis. Went from two weeks to a year. Plus, now it is 90 days before eviction can even start, made worse if the evicted fight it. She didn’t say what the mortgage holder timing is to catch up or if they have to, even (sure has to be paid eventually, but why wouldn’t the bank work to just extend the loan?)

            Sure evictions aren’t happening now. Any bets on whether some/most can make up the rent not paid? Ever?

            Book the person above is writing when she retires “1001 Reasons on Why I can’t pay my rent …”

            1. I suspect many of those single-rental owners will not be doing any “less than essential” repairs for a while.

              In fact, a lot of property service will likely be deferred until prepping for a new tenant or putting the house up for sale.

      3. “homelessness due to loss of income”

        I work for a law firm that specializes in foreclosure (at least I did until we were furloughed due to lack of work) and I just want to note one thing. All of the major investors (FNMA, FHLMC, FHA, & VA) have a moratorium on Foreclosure and Eviction proceedings until at least 08/31/20. The only exceptions are if the property is vacant. That doesn’t stop a landlord from evicting, but not being able to pay his mortgage because his renters can’t pay won’t put his property in immediate danger.

    4. Already lost one member of our social circle to a particularly violent suicide in the last month. I also lost a patient that I am not entirely convinced did not commit suicide by car (single vehicle accident on empty Interstate without seatbelt, can’t prove it, but it was …odd).

      My colleague also works in elder care. He stated today that he is seeing folks in tears because they haven’t been allowed to see family for months. That is pure, unadulterated, elder abuse, denying legally competent adults agency in the name of ‘compassion’.

      I have words but most of them have 4 letters.

      1. And don’t get me started on my patients who have had cancer treatments delayed. One of whom is my own father whose oncology center shut down, leaving him without chemo for weeks. And there are diagnoses that we are missing right this very second that are going to kill far more people than a virus roughly on par with Hong Kong flu.

          1. We weren’t allowed to see in-person visits for over a month, and even now we are (supposed to be, in practice? Feh!) minimizing physical exams that involve removing the mask.

            Lots of things are being missed. And exams deferred are rarely rescheduled. How many of us would love an excuse to never go back for a Pap smear again, after one gets cancelled. (Men, feel free to insert your own least-favorite invasive exam here).

            Us humans don’t really like this stuff and are happy to just ‘forget’ to catch up once things open again.

            1. I was having trouble even finding a doctor for some exams and now a lot of them are booked 6 months out for things I should have dealt with a year ago at this point. I try not to worry but….

          2. And within the last year or so I read some book where the author, a doctor, was all but screaming at some modern practitioners for not REALLY using the stethoscope and listening through shirts, etc. rather than direct-contact.

            1. Traditional methods of diagnosis involved a lot of sensory training of doctors. NHS does some of it, because they are cheap; but the doctors do learn it. The better trained of the various Greek/Islamic, Chinese, Indian, and Korean traditional practitioners also learn a lot of that stuff, and the diagnosis tricks are actually pretty shrewd. (And “feeling the pulse” is unreliable compared to modern instruments, but some people do seem to use it pretty effectively.)

              Of course, the main problem with modern US doctors is that most of them are contractually obligated to let the nurses and assistants do all the measuring and reporting, and then just sign off on paperwork and do the diagnosis by the numbers. Some of them barely glance at your actual physical form, much less touch you or smell your breath diagnosticallly (yes, that’s a thing for certain conditions, not that they’ve ever been a thing for me).

              And of course, a doctor who doesn’t really pay attention is not a good placebo, either.

              (Btw, it finally occurred to me that all the “contractually obligated” stuff is why almost all the religious orders of doctors and nurses have gone away, around the world, and almost all the religious charity hospitals have been sold to corporations or nationalized by various national health systems. And since the Little Sisters of Charity run nursing homes, that’s probably the real reason why they keep getting targeted — they are pretty much the only religious order in the US doing any kind of medical-related work, except the Sisters of Life who barely own facilities).

      2. Starting around 2005, single car accidents started getting looked at as potential suicides. Far too often the root cause of the accident can’t be found. Maybe it was a bird or an animal and the driver was swerving (but where’s the skid marks?) Why did it happen on this lone road where the person involved has only been down once or twice before? Why were the airbags disabled (you can pull the fuses in most cars) and the person involved not wearing a seatbelt, when they were known to wear seatbelts?

        Too many times the lack of evidence to support a suicide results in the potential suicide being listed as ‘single car accident resulting in death.’

        Insurance companies have been looking at single car accidents for a while. But, again, it’s very hard, even with circumstantial evidence showing suicide, to prove suicide.

        I know, not really relating to the Mask question, but there have been a spat of single car accidents in my are.
        Does make you wonder.

        And makes you wonder how many times more than reported cars are used for suicides.

        1. I had a good friend from High School (with long standing and sever BH problems) that committed very deliberate, incontrovertible suicide by car as well, but that was several months before COVID. It is going to get worse before it gets better.

        2. “Car accidents” and “drug overdoses” are both known murder methods for organized crime. Unless you catch someone DOING it, it’s really hard to prove anything.

          Just to mess things up more.

          1. When NYC announced that all home deaths would be counted as “Covid” with no portmortem testing or autopsies, I wondered how many murders would pass by under that cover.

          1. Theoretically true, but I can tell that my Jeep has ABS, due to the way the brakes feel when I have had to stomp on them, but I can also overcome that and cause the wheels to lock up.

            1. One of the first “reading the marks on the road” lesson I remember was telling the difference between antilock brakes and normal brake skids.

              Antilock skids look like someone did a copy of normal brake skids while they were running out of ink. Kind of pulsing lighter before going dark again.

              They also tend to be shorter, though that isn’t something you get much apples to apples for!

        1. I know that feeling. Just learned this morning that another recall effort is being waged against Despicable Kate Brown, Misgovernor of Oregon and Portlandia. Got my signature on the petition today, too.

          Not sure when the recall effort was bought off (recently; I was on the first page of signers at the county GOP office), but I hadn’t heard there was going to be another try. (Not like the MSM is going to talk about it.)

          FWIW, print, sign and mail forms are available. [pause for search-engine-fu] http://stoptheabuse-recallkatebrown.org/

          FYI, there are a couple of efforts that got approved in April, but with the lockdown, they either timed out or will do so.

          1. There was a prayer moot in front of the Capital Building a few weeks ago. Went with a family from our church, ended up being encouraged spiritually by the prayers of the Family of God and physically by five signatures on the Recall KB Petition.

    5. Two articles showed up yesterday in our local news about that. A family struggling to maintain bonds with father stuck in assisted care facility and alcohol abuse spikes during shutdown.

  2. Bravo.

    Thanks Sarah. So very much.

    I’ll be providing a link to this post in several forums. And going forward.

  3. Aren’t surgeons thought to be stereotypically arrogant, too?
    As an aside, I’m now in the People’s Republic of Michigan, but in the portion the Governor has generously allowed to re-open. (The fact she and her husband have a summer cottage in northwestern MI has nothing to do with it. Uh huh). Have had one encounter with an angry, thoroughly negative business owner who said her restroom was closed due to “orders,” but other RV park restrooms appear to be open and gas station restrooms were open. So far I’d guess less than 50% of the people we have seen are in masks. And people are supposed to be flocking into the area for the weekend.

    1. The colon surgeon who did my ‘scopy was quite decent. He drew the short straw when I had to get a flu test in March, and he was quite human–frustrated as hell, because you had to be damn-near dead to get a Chinese coronavirus test at the time (they had two admitted patients who couldn’t get tested…)

      Somewhat rude statement of high confidence in Doctor [redacted] deleted. The jokes, they burn!

  4. It’s not my lungs, it’s my heart. I have a severely diminished cardiac capacity, and almost any exertion at all makes me short of breath. I don’t need extra oxygen, but I don’t need obstructions to my breathing, either.
    For some reason, there is has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Arizona, which had been fairly liberal in releasing restrictions, and so the state, county, and city are all in a panic and are requiring masks in all public places as of last Friday and Saturday. I’m spitting mad.

    1. A number of problems in my case; I’ll stick to the quickest-hitting one, which is panic attacks. Seriously not fun, and I suspect if my airflow was also restricted at the time, things would go sideways very, very quickly.

      I’ve been fortunate; I’ve been able to avoid going anywhere I have to have a mask. But I am also Grumpy, because f’goodness sake I apparently had it back through March. Anyone who’s recovered for over a month ought to be the safest people to be unmasked!

      1. If you correctly assess the whole mask thing as theater, then apply theatrical masking – bandanas or the stretchy fishing neck thingee I use meet the letter of the Glorious Bear Flag Peoples Republic diktat imposed upon places like grocery stores while minimally impeding actual breathing.

        And the face shields that all of the grocery staff were wearing don’t impede breathing at all.

        1. I have contemplated getting a stocking and setting it up over my head – not exactly willing to get shot quite yet tho’.

        2. At grocery yesterday the face shields were all gone – apparently somekaren turned them in, and now they all have to wear actual masks.

    2. This current round of panic in the Tucson metro area has pretty much put a stake in the heart of Old Tucson.

      We’ve just had a second round of layoffs, almost all those affected were management level employees; and we’ve been informed that we won’t be holding Nightfall this year.

      1. Plus there is this:

        https://www.foxnews.com/health/for-every-coronavirus-case-reported-10-went-unannounced-cdc-estimates

        If true, it means the death rate is likely lower than the seasonal flu: They pushed indefinite lockdowns that destroyed and continue to destroy the economy and consequently the lives of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions around the world based on a disease that apparently is at worst a moderately bad flu season.

        Again, I think it far more likely that this was simply intended as a trial run all along.

            1. Oh, damn it. Like I remember. But it was linked at Ace a while back and I THINK American Thinker.
              Apparently the chick who came up with this as a science project was a family friend of the Bushes, and so….

          1. Hey! Don’t snark about HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE PROJECTs. Representative Ocasio~Cortez won a medal in a high school science fair and is now developing environmental policy for president in waiting Biden.

            BTW – I heard on today’s news that Sen. Warren will likely be the Biden Administration’s point person on the economy.

            We are so effed …

        1. That estimate is way, way low.

          They have only tested 15 million people so far, and found 1.6 million confirmed cases. Up until mid-April they were only testing the sickest 2% to 3%.

          That means 1.6 million people had coronavirus on the day they were tested. How many got it after they were tested? How many had it already and got over it?

          How many of the 312 million people they STILL haven’t tested have, or had, the virus? It’s been spreading across the country since the Chinese sent it here last October.

          Slow Joe Biden just announced that 120 million people have died of coronavirus in the U.S. Somebody immediately stopped him and told him the official number was 120,000. Maybe he’ll remember that for a few hours. Maybe not.

          Is that official number accurate? We don’t know. We do know that a number of jurisdictions have been caught inflating their statistics, some as blatant as Washington state’s ‘Ignore the stabs and bullet holes, they died of COVID19!’

          My unofficial, unsupported, but at least semi-rational estimate is about 80 million total cases over the last eight months. IF the 120,000 number is close to accurate, that makes the fatality rate 0.15% — pretty typical for a run-of-the-mill cold or flu virus. IF about 1.5 million people have died of all causes so far this year, that would mean 8% died of the ‘pandemic’.

          Have 1.5 million people died so far this year? We need to compare the TOTAL number of deaths in the first six months of this year to the average number over the last few years, but that data is very hard to find. Why? Who’s got it?
          ———————————
          There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

          1. Current CDC death rate is 0.26%

            Colorado’s death count was abruptly dropped by some 25% after a funeral director publicly announced that a man had died of alcohol poisoning, not the “Covid” that was entered on the death certificate.

          2. The current excess mortality number from the CDC is between 112,000 and 150,000. So the official estimate is probably close. Unless the CDC is lying or someone’s making up dead people, and I wouldn’t rule either of those out.

            The good news is that the excess mortality number should drop to zero in the next week or so. Then we’ll see what happens this fall with the new flu season.

      2. Public Health authorities in Arizona claim to have accounted for that. I won’t say they’re wrong. I won’t say theyre right, either. I dunno.

      3. EXACTLY!!! We are just getting to the point where we are allowed to test. So now, more people with no symptoms are getting tested. So we now see that it is more prevalent and less dangerous. Some how that isn’t getting reported.

    3. Similar – congenital heart defects. Thankfully mostly fixed surgically when I was 6, but I am 80% of normal (rough remembrance of what a cardiologist told me years ago). Also, an ornery young cuss.

  5. I just conducted a quick poll of a small sample who together represent well over 150 years of experience in and around hospitals in various management roles, and they universally agreed the last person they would ask for general medical advice would be a surgeon.

    Surgeons are technician experts, with extreme top level skills in cutting and sewing on living people, such cutting and sewing all completed while said people remain alive, mostly.

    While they have gone through the same baseline medical school edumacation as virologists and infectious disease experts, and for that matter GPs and Family Practice docs, they have pursued an extremely select specialty which does not include answering very many non-cutting-and-sewing medical questions – in fact, it is likely this surgeon last answered a virology or communicable disease question at other than a cocktail party back when they were in medical school.

    If you are going to run an appeal-to-authority scam, it’s best to appeal to a reasonable authority.

    1. ay back in college, when I was taking symbolic logic (hey, it was given by the philosophy department which made it a “humanity”) they covered the various non-logical proofs and fallacies as part of the introduction to the course. As I recall, “appeal to authority” was the weakest form of proof, and was only considered valid only under certain circumstances. As I recall, those circumstances included when the authority was an expert in the subject matter at hand and when there was consensus among the majority of such experts.

      I don’t know. As I’ve said before, the story that is being sold to us is that unless we take extraordinary measures, every one of us will get it, and that it is a death sentence for every single person that gets it. Except, it’s not. Every single person that I know who has definitely contracted Covid-19 (three so far) has recovered from it. Every single person that I know who has presumably had it (using the same rules as the “presumptive diagnosis” from earlier in the year) has recovered from it. With tens of thousands dead from it, it is certain that other people have had a different experience, but I don’t know how common that is.

      1. Current CDC estimated death rate: ~0.26% (Based on counts we know are inflated by several factors — higher federal payments for “COVID death”; SWAG after refusing to do postmortem tests or autopsies; SWAG without testing a patient; arbitrarily counting all home deaths as COVID; putting COVID on death certificate when a terminal hospice patient tested or SWAGged positive before death; putting COVID on death certificate when a recovered patient died of something else, etc.) Current world infected serious or critical: 1%. When the cases are in the millions, even small percentages become large numbers.

      2. Appeal to Authority is always a fallacy because authorities are human and therefore fallible. Sometimes they’re wrong because they have no way to know otherwise, like all the authorities who said that Columbus couldn’t survive long enough to sail west to China, there’s no way they could know about the giant landmass in the way. Sometimes they’re wrong because of their human failings, like Einstein setting the cosmological constant in his General Relativity equations to make the universe static because he couldn’t accept a dynamic universe. And sometimes they’re wrong because they’re just plain dumb, like Paul Krugman.

    2. I am reminded of when $WeBuildScales decided it was a Great Idea to buy $EvenBiggerCompany (AFTER the dot-bomb bust! When ‘That’s a Bad Idea’ was OBVIOUS even to ox.) and pretty much everyone in Engineering predicted the blatantly obvious problems that the Big Finance Guys denied. The Engineers, while NOT experts in finance, could still see the Obvious Problem. They were right. $WeBuildScales ran into trouble, went bank-shopping multiple times, and were eventually bought by someone else, ending what autonomy they might have had.

      One of their former employees became a developer at a nearby place that used scales a LOT. And decided the locally built $WeBuildScales decks (the part the truck parks on, etc.) were great, the new Made In China indicator boxes… were too cheesy to take seriously for real work.

  6. Thank you so much for this post and for your blog, Hoyt! To be honest, not very many bloggers are brave enough to address things such as these. Although I’m an anti-bullying advocate, which by it name, can label me a Liberal, I agree with everything you said here! As an independent voter and free thinker who sees through the scare tactics, the cancel culture, the shaming, the bullying by the left and media to get us to conform, and the nefarious intent behind this nonsense, I applaud you for speaking out!

    I was in nursing school seven years ago and we were taught about herd immunity and it’s benefits. And I’ve made it a point NOT to wear a mask because I was taught in nursing school that masks weren’t very effective at keeping germs away as they can fit through the very threads of the mask, and that we can inhale the very CO2 we’re exhaling that can cause damage in the long run!

    This is an awesome post!

    1. Anti-bullying advocates, real ones can’t BE “liberal” in the sense of leftist. They are by definition, I think, classical liberals, who respect individual liberties.
      Having had experience with the left in control my entire life, I KNOW they’re all about bullying. Just as what motivates them is greed for power by any means.

      1. You said it right there! I too was a democrat for a lot of years. Oh, yes. I was once young and idealistic. However, I began to see thing I didn’t like. Things that went against everything I’d been taught and that I stood for. That’s when I got out fast! And I’m glad I did!

        Now I’m mad as hell because the left is telling people that they have to kneel and apologize just for being the way God made them. And I kneel before no man but the one above.

        Also, I see things happining in this country that I never thought I’d ever see in my life. And I remember my history and reading about it when I was in school. And I know where it’s headed if we don’t spread the word! And I refused to be bullied into keeping my mouth shut!

        I have another blog on blogger that addresses this. Thank you so much!

        1. The Democrat Party is under new (mis)management. What was once Liberal is now Leftist. Liberal civil rights attorney Leo Terrell is in the vanguard of those seeing what is going on and walking away from the party.

          Remember: the label on the box does not always represent the ingredients in the package.

          1. There should be a ‘truth in advertising’ requirement for politics. Each lie costs the candidate 10,000 votes.

            Most elections would go to the candidate with the least negative vote total.
            ———————————
            I used to live on a farm. I know what bullshit smells like.

            1. First you show me the paragons who get to decide whether they lied. (And how to count lies — if Mr. Liar says, “I never spoke to Mr. Greene or Mr. Browne in my life,” is that one or two?)

              1. More problematically, lies technically require knowledge of and suppression of truth. Most politicians are indifferent to truth, defining it as “that version of events which most benefits me.”

                1. Eh, supine and affected ignorance do not affect guilt. You’re still lying if you made no effort to learn the truth, or willfully avoided it.

    2. Anti-bullying is sensible.
      As schools often practice it (“How DARE you TRIGGER the bully!”) is NOT.
      Slappy Squirrel’s methods, while frowned upon, are the EFFECTIVE ones.

      1. Oh, yeah, bullying…

        When I was in the fourth grade, there was a group — can’t really call it a gang — of sixth-graders that were the Lords Of The Elementary School and they made sure nobody ever forgot it. This was not about race. It was all-white school in a small Midwest town. Not because of segregation; there just weren’t any non-white families in that town.

        One day they decided it was my turn for another ‘lesson’. Now, I was a small kid. My whole family is kind of on the short side, plus my birthday is in late autumn. I started school before I was quite five years old. On that day three of the group caught me out on the playground, which was huge, filled with over a hundred kids, and watched over by one or two teachers. I tried to run, of course, but they were used to smaller kids running away and caught up with me in short order.

        Well, I remembered the other times, and how useless it was to report their attacks, and this time, it didn’t turn out the way they wanted. I managed to grab a busted piece of a baseball bat and conked two of them over the head with it, and they ran crying to the teacher.

        O the horror! I didn’t completely understand most of what happened after that, just that there were police, the principal, people in suits, Mom and Dad dragged in from home and work respectively, and a lot of Very Serious Talk going on for hours. I do remember mention of at least one concussion.

        Nobody wanted to listen when I told them what happened. That was the first time I remember hearing that asinine saying, ‘it takes two to make a fight’. I instantly knew it was bullshit, but at barely nine I was unable to effectively articulate my objections.

        In the end, I got expelled and sent to Special Education, and the bullies went right on beating up little kids. Yup, I rode the Short Bus for a year and a half because I used an equalizer to defend myself from three punks twice my size that sought me out for the sole purpose of beating me up. I hope they all wound up dying in prison.

        I learned a few things from that incident, but I don’t think any of them were what The Authorities wanted me to learn. I learned that 1 little kid + weapon + willingness to use it > 3 big bullies. I learned that most bullies run crying if you do unto them what they’re doing unto you. I learned that The Authorities are usually not there when you need them, nor were they much interested in truth or justice. They just didn’t want anybody making waves in their little pond, or forcing them to see things they didn’t want to see.

        I did meet some interesting people in Special Education. I could have done without meeting a few of them.
        ———————————
        It takes two to make peace. It only takes one to make war.

        1. At 8 I turned the tables on two wannabe bullies twice my age and size. I had attempted to flee to a hiding place, was cornered, and gave clear warning of what I would do next if attacked.

          (Cowardly bully) “He won’t stick you! “)

          (Stupid bully) ” OOWWWWWWWW!”

          It ended well. I was undamaged, and “Stupid” got by with a few stitches. Neither troubled me again.

          Life Lessons all around.

  7. This lab coat worship (or doctor’s smock worship, as the case may be) just kills me. People don’t become doctors because they want to be expert scientists – they become doctors (one hopes) to help people. Even less do they become mathematicians, experimental designers, model builders, or data analysts.

    This should be obvious. Slightly less obvious: most people who do have science degrees are technicians trained in some specialty or other. They can do their jobs very successfully without understanding basic scientific principles very well – their approach, techniques, and apparatuses are all already established. They practice, as Kuhn would have it, normal science – science according to norms.

    Therefore, when presented with the scientific equivalent of a word problem, where they have to come up with the method and not just solve a formula, your typical practicing scientist may not be much better at it than Joe Lunchpail.One would hope they could bring some philosophy of science or at least a little science history to bear on the problem, but there’s certainly no guarantee.

    It’s the scientifically literate people who can do a little math and are familiar with the sausage-making behind all models and, indeed behind basic data collection, who are needed in these situations – such as the author of this post. Such as, with due humility, me. Philosophy degree, scientifically literate, built and used models for a living for 25 years.

    From the very beginning, none of this ever passed the sniff test. Who is dying? Where? Under what conditions? Where’s the data coming from? How are the rems defined? Who is validating this stuff? The answers to all these and related question does not inspire confidence in our ‘leaders.’

    The profile of a typical victim looks like: somebody with a +/- 6 month life expectancy who has been abandoned to a nursing home, or is otherwise very ill. The number of people who were otherwise healthy who died is tiny, lower than the number of pedestrians killed by cars in an average year. Lockups? (I refuse to use ‘lockdown’, which is what you do to prisoners) ‘Social distancing’? Masks? WTF?

    We’ve been listening to the wrong ‘experts’ all along.

    1. yeah, I’m kinda tired of hearing how my governor knows what he’s talkign about with large-scale infectious disease modelling because ‘he’s a doctor’

      he was a pediatrician.

      the largest scale infectious disease model he’s ever dealt with was figuring out which kid in his waiting room gave the rest the flu… and his epidemiology class was likely 30 years ago.

      1. A family member pediatrician (now retired) keeps pointing to the 1960s swine flu debacle. (Short version: a vaccine was raced out that caused far worse problems than the flu strain did.) The benefit of institutional memory has been lost in the shiny lights of modeling and politics.

          1. Why do I have a feeling that this kind of thing happened more than once?

            My first flu shot was the last for a few decades. A reaction that entailed having to crawl to the bathroom in the middle of the night was not conducive to the desire for a repeat experience. Circa 1969.

            1. My reaction flu shots is usually “Hey what’s that… oh, right, flu shot this morning. Time for the bandage to be removed.”

              Now, the Shingrix shots, those hit me hard enough I noticed they hit me.

              1. I just had my second Shingrix shot so it’s fresh in my mind. After I got it, I was back in that pharmacy to pick up a few things and the pharmacist asked me if I had any side-effects from it. I said “I had ALL the side-effects. I was sick as a dog all day the day after.”

              2. A couple of years ago, I had the fancy pneumonia vaccine. Got it Tuesday, and Friday morning I was fairly sick. That evening I hit 102F and had to go to an urgent care center (I was over the Cascades for a preop for one of the retina procedures). The flu test came out negative, but a chest x-ray sure looked like pneumonia (I don’t think they did any other lab tests for such). 10 days of antibiotic to be sure, and I was good to go.

                I had the first (1st generation) shingles shot about 8 years ago, and it was OK. Got a prescription for Shingrix (I think), but asked the pharmacy what out of pocket would be. Expensive enough that I gave it a pass. Didn’t help that I’d needed several hundred dollars of eye medications just beforehand, and I didn’t want to spend a couple-three hundred on a vaccine. As it stands, this was while the pneumonia vaccine was getting ready to clobber me. Whee.

                1. I got the shingles shot. I was rather woozy the next day, but then my sister had just had shingles, and agony, for weeks. (Lucky her. She got it just when the big shortage hurts. Apparently it helps to get the shot after it starts but she couldn’t.)

      2. Hey, don’t bust on us pediatricians! We do more infectious disease than many of the adult docs. And we have more practical experience in limiting spread. I (affectionately) call my patients the little germ factories.

        1. Mom hacks cough, all the way down to toes, hurts to cough, gulps air, triggers another coughing jag, for two weeks. Eh, whatever, it is going around the office. Got to Doctor? Are you kidding me? For a cough?

          Kid gets whatever from mom. We take kid to pediatrician … Whooping Cough is what is going around the office. (Yes, we were immunized, theoretically. The booster shots weren’t due for a few years.) For a change we triggered an alarm at the school instead of the other way around.

      3. Youyr state’s medical “expert” is a pediatrician? Well, that’s one up on ours, who just happens to be a child psychologist. How does that work?

    2. It is part and parcel of the larger problem, which is using models as “proof” and using polling of “experts” as if whatever a majority says is actual fact. We have seen this for years when it comes to the climate alarmism, with so-called experts trotting out more and more dire claims of disaster when their prior claims don’t induce enough panic. The so-called “party of science” treats science like a religion, not a method, and its use of the term science is utterly Orwellian in its disconnect from what the real meaning of science is.

      Ultimately it comes down to “shut up they said” because their “science” is designed to support the party orthodoxy no less than Oceania’s pronouncements do and they issue these pronouncements with the goal of actually creating 1984’s Oceania, with themselves of course as the Inner Party.

    3. It was jarring to see Doctors go from “I’m telling this yutz what to do.” to “Holy shit, he speaks my language!” by asking some actually rather simple questions regarding diagnostics and treatment. Once that barrier is crossed, the level of USEFUL information skyrockets.

  8. As 30+ yrs experience in biomed sci has shown me surgeons are NEVER wrong. And that is a good thing for a surgeon –when performing surgery. Sadly they often exercise that trait outside of the operating theater as shown here. That is also why they are a risk in scientific studies because we scientists are often wrong and the faster we see that the less damage done

  9. Your post should be required reading for all Democrat would be tin pot dictator governors. as well as several weak in the knees Republicans who are crumbling before the Democrat Anarchist pressure to shutdown or restrict again.

  10. General questions for a policy are how feasible, at what cost, for what benefit, and with what degree of compliance?

    If the only acts of sexual intercourse were between a man and a woman who are a married couple, and intending to reproduce, there would be very little spread of STDs. This is not a policy that we have significant amount of support for enforcing. This is not a policy that can be enforced. Libido is a very powerful drive, and some people have developed predatory preferences. Of those with predatory preferences, some put a great deal of effort into controlling their behavior to keep it from being predatory, and others cannot be persuaded to restrain themselves. Back to the more general population with libido, the subset which will not be persuaded to fully self restrain is probably too many to kill. Being able to identify and kill that subset is really the only practical method of 100% enforcement. (Killing everyone is even more outlandish and absurd as a way of preventing the spread of disease.)

    There is a psychological desire to breathe, and a more physiological instinct or reflex to breathe. The two are not the same; we can see this from water boarding. There is a psychological harm from interfering with the first that may be not reflected in physiological measures.

    There are behaviors with public health implications, where we can see that we are restricted in the degrees of psychological harm we can inflict in the process of addressing them.

    Substance abuse, for one. Lot of people in prison who are also drug offenders. Are we now allowed to water boarding the junkies as part of breaking their will to continue drug use? Are we allowed to put a hood over their heads, and carry out mock executions, mixed unpredictably with real executions of those who have been so sentenced? We can’t even implement something as pleasant as the Auburn system.

    If the public has no right to criminalize homosexual acts, if the public has no right to ‘reform’ substance abusers by torturing them, the public also lacks a right to enforce this current policy. Executing pedophiles is fine, we tolerate imprisoning junkies, so I will concede that the parallels do point to being able to exercise some level of power re: covid. But that is not a blank check, and it very much does not extend to stopping all activity to prevent last winter’s cold.

  11. Interesting data point: this morning, I was coming home from an errand and there were a number of cop cars around the neighbors’ house. The cops were all standing around — and not one of them was wearing any form of mask.

    If this disease is so dangerous, wouldn’t you think the police would want to protect themselves when preparing for an interaction with someone, especially someone they obviously viewed as a lawbreaker?

    Something’s seriously fishy here.

    1. I’ve said from the beginning, if this virus were the hyper-contagious, deadly, world-ending event they kept telling us it was, these spineless coward politicos would all have been lecturing us from airtight bunkers.

      It’s the same thing with the supposed climate emergency.

      When they start acting like it’s an emergency, I’ll believe them. Until then they can all happily f*** off.

  12. I’m not saying China was lying


    Why not? They lied about the very existence of this disease from last September until the cat was completely out of the bag in January, while deliberately shipping infected people all around the world. They threw doctors in jail for trying to tell the truth. If you assume every word coming out of China is a lie, you will be right at least 90% of the time.
    ———————————
    A lawyer? That’s for when you get so notorious that nobody will believe your lies anymore, so you have to hire a professional to lie for you.

    1. That was my thought. Note that the world totals of coronavirus cases don’t even bother to list China anymore, since they know those numbers are bunk.

  13. I would also ask that surgeon: “When was the last time one of YOUR patients was sick?”

    Most hospitals will not permit patients with colds, flu or pneumonia to have surgery, because they are much more likely to DIE. Stress of the flu added to stress from the surgery is not good for you.
    ———————————
    Pain is your body’s way of saying “Don’t DO that!”

    1. My parents had complete cardiac workups before a surgeon would even see them for a couple things. Which was good because they found a collapsed valve in my dad’s heart he’d had since he was 17 that no one had noticed and a hole in my mom’s heart that caused low blood pressure but was otherwise fine as is. They’re pretty sure my mom was born with the hole. But yeah, unless it’s an emergency, you don’t get to see a surgeon if you’re ill.

      1. My dad needed by passes & stents around his heart. Before that surgery could happen, he had to have his choroid artery scanned, which needed cleaning out, again. Before that happened, he had to have his PSA checked. PSA levels came back elevated. Was treated for the PSA levels, once his levels were down, had the choroid artery cleaned out, THEN finally was able to have the by pass surgery.

  14. The mask does come off as soon as they leave the OR. So does the hair cap, the gown, the pants, the footies, and the gloves. They ALL go into a biowaste container for high temperature destruction.

    Worked for a while at a plant in town that manufactured the “kits” – all of the disposable things (except gloves, they did not do latex there), conveniently packaged for each type of procedure. Even back then, when there was no “crisis” going on, they ran their lines 24/7.

    This is why they lied about masks being ineffective at first. The supply just barely met the demand for normal operations of our hospitals, much less increased demand for a situation where a fresh mask is needed for every patient encounter. Add in the hysteria, and I did not wonder at hospital staff screaming.

    Heavy exertion for any hospital worker, in a potentially contaminated environment, is not a usual thing. A short fast walk from the ambulance bay to the ER. An occasional rush with the crash cart. The heaviest work is usually rotating a large, physically incapable patient to prevent bedsores.

    (I’m not going to include those idiots out in their masks during the “protests.” Most of what I have seen among those, they were just standing around, not marching.)

  15. For me, what it comes down to is; Governments are good at brute force and bean counting, and have historically had some utility in assisting the construction of wealth-multiplying networks (though they tend to keep trying to shore them up long after the benefit has gone; see Amtrak). They are generally bad at anything involving subtlety, nuance, or taste. Almost all medical issues not solvable through sanitation works (see, ‘wealth-multiplying networks’ comment above) require subtle distinctions and nuanced solutions that are beyond the ability of government to implement or impose. In such cases the proponents of Big Government typically grab hold of a few reasonable sounding tools and from then on it’s a case of ‘give a small boy a hammer’. Thus, we have several State administrations that grabbed the ‘make sure there are enough hospital beds’ tool, and are therefore responsible for tens of thousands of probably preventable nursing home deaths.

    Big government proponents think of The Government as a vast toolbox full of tools for every occasion. But even when the Government has the right sort of tool, it is more like one more specialty blade on an already over-large Swiss Army knife; you might be able to use the tool in question, but it will be awkward at best, and a single use tool not attached to the rest would do better.

  16. Not a single one us of became ill, passed out or died from lack of oxygen.

    Gotta say, not impressed with his reasoning skills.

    I haven’t spent much time in surgery, and when I was there, I was the patient, and I’ve seen someone get woozy enough to step to the side and sit for a bit. It doesn’t matter why you’re feeling not-entirely-there, it matters that you get the heck out of the way before you cause a problem.

    If even *I* notice that, while being gutted for c-section, then either this guy is assuming none of the instances where it happened were related to the masks– or he’s so inobservant that his statement is useless anyways.

    1. To be fair, if someone has me opened up, I do want him to be paying attention to me and not to what the person standing behind and to the left is doing.

      Of course, having enough situational awareness to do both is best.

  17. I assume all medical expert “opinions” are just science free WAG’s until the virologists can come up with a unitfied theory of covid that explains what we actually know about it which includes:

    1) children are mostly asymptomatic
    2) children rarely infect adults or others
    3) a huge percentage of adults are asymptomatic
    4) huge percentages of people appear to have a natural immunity (cruise ships and prisons show this)

    until 1,2 and 3 are explained I assume asymptomatic adults are just like children and cannot infect at a high rate … which nullifies the need for masks for the healthy …

      1. From the Study:

        “The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine was introduced in 1971. It was most commonly given as a single vaccination from 1971-1978 then as a set of two vaccinations at least 28 days apart starting in 1979. Based upon its year of introduction, most people today aged 49 and under would likely have had at least one MMR vaccination, and those 41 and under would most likely have had two MMR vaccinations. This vaccine history may be a possible explanation for a COVID-19 death rate pivot point close to age 50. The fact that some aged 40-49 only received a single MRCV dose is a possible reason why this age range has a marginally higher death rate than those under 40.”

      2. Oh, here’s some shit. Article about the study authors from 1 May:
        https://www.onlineathens.com/news/20200501/oconee-man-nm-researcher-mmr-vaccine-may-help-against-coronavirus

        “Tilley and Gold have passed their findings on to Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease doctor who has come to national prominence for providing televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic alongside President Trump.

        So far, they have not received feedback on their discovery from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where Fauci is director.

        Tilley said he also contacted U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, whom he personally knows.”

        Yet no one has said a mumblin’ word about it. Wonder how much in campaign contributions Udall gets from Big Pharma. We know Faucci is fully in bed with them.

  18. There is good evidence that masks make a real difference in diminishing the transmission of Covid-19.

    This would be the point where I go “Ok…where is it?”

    And then he either points at stuff built on assumptions, which can be summed up as “may make some difference,” or he flips out.

    Given this is after he went full brow-beating bully, probably flips out.

    1. I suspect that comment didn’t know where it was supposed to go live. Anyway. Just figured there might only be one pediatrician governor being an ass right now, but there could be others.

      1. There certainly could be. In my experience MDs tend to have, not quite a Messiah complex, but certainly a High Priest attitude.

        I’ve been lucky where we are now; the local health network out of Doylestown PA apparently simply doesn’t hire many jerks. But we’ve run into it a LOT elsewhere.

        People who think of themselves as High Priests tend to want to tell other people what to do, hence Politics.

        *sigh*

      2. Hey, don’t bust on us pediatricians! We do more infectious disease than many of the adult docs. And we have more practical experience in limiting spread. I (affectionately) call my patients the little germ factories.

          1. Once long ago worked as a tech for a guy with kids in the Houston school district and he brought to the lab every bug making the rounds that year. We have laughed about that for years–not being blessed ourselves was no protection

        1. I agree 100%! You guys rock!

          Actually my Peds Rotation and my first year in Family Practice were the sickest I’ve ever been, although the flip side was that I eventually built up immunity to enough random stuff that I rarely catch anything anymore.

          What I was busting on a little was one particular pediatrician/governor who has been using his credentials as a stick with which to beat his constituents during the ‘crisis’.

          1. That’s why, if you want antibodies, go to the peds people! No one has an immune system as ramped up as us! And that doofus is a peds neurologist, so he’s not seeing little snotty fomites….

            1. When older son was living with us — and having dinner with us, because he had no time to cook — during his peds rotation, I caught things I didn’t know the names for. He didn’t. “Tired” being the most of it. But whatever failed to fell him made me MIGHTY ill.

            2. Or teach kids. The rule of thumb around here is that the first seven years in the classroom you catch everything (if you don’t already have kids in school). After that you’re pretty much set, and just get a little down, not “oh-shoot-me-now” sick.

        2. A good pediatrician is a priceless treasure.

          A bad pediatrician is a psychopath with no brain cycles not taken up by can’t-tell-if-it’s-stupidity-or-malice. (I probably shouldn’t be surprised that predators go into this field for access to children from a position of trust, too, although it’s usually less physical predation.)

          And a barely competent, can probably trust him to care for a stuffed animal pediatrician is all too common.

          Oh, and like many other doctors– some of them keep practicing on auto-pilot when they really should’ve retired. (Say, the guy who told me that the baby would get specific teeth before the ones that just BIT HIM. And he wasn’t joking.)

          We’ve had one good pediatrician, thankfully the first one. Confidence in him gave me enough assurance to dump two others that were doing stupid power games or were no longer all there, and ignore a third who wanted to be MY mother, as well as taking over motherly authority on my kids.

          1. Had an encounter with a really good doctor when my son was five. I had sprained my ankle (jumping rope under the full moon….no, I don’t know what got into me) and took him with me. My regular doctor was out and the woman who subbed for him gave me a prescription and said, “I’d take him to the pediatrician if I were you. He’s coming down with something, probably bacterial.” I did and the pediatrician blew it off as an ear infection and gave him amoxicillin. Three days later, he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

            I never saw that doctor again.

            1. Ran into something similar with son. He had an ear infection, another one, again. About his 4 session of ear infections. They’d started treating the ear infections with Penicillin, then moved to Amoxicillin/Augmentin, then to kick the infections to the curb Ceclor. Mom baby sat the next day, sick kid couldn’t go to daycare. I picked him up. He had raised blue/red/purple welts 1/2″ thick around where his thighs, eventually around all his joints, screaming his head off. This was Friday after 5 PM. Called after hours pediatrics, got the pediatrician on call. Looked at (now) exhausted kid. Said “might be a reaction to the Ceclor. Lets take him off it, put him on Augmentin again. If it is a reaction it’ll be better in a little over 24 hours. Call again Sunday AM if not better.” 24+ hours not only not better, but worse. Kid is screaming, exhausted, we’re exhausted, and “what the hell?” Call in again, take kid in. Get a different on-call pediatrician, not our primary, but one we know. The kid is only in diapers, because he can’t tolerate anything else touching his joints (not even us, but of coarse insists on being held). This pediatrician takes ONE look “Clasic Ceclor reaction. It will be WEEKS before it fades. He is crying because his joints hurt.” Gave kid a steroid shot for the inflammation, and some anti inflammation prescriptions. It was a what the Hell moment. The thing is, Augmintin is in the same class as Ceclor. Every single time he was prescribed Augmintin we were asked if we were sure because of the class and his records show him allergic to Ceclor. Never has had a problem with Augmintin.

          2. I am impressed by almost any real medico.
            I am quite impressed by pediatricians (they have it only slightly easier than veterinarians. Maybe).
            I am ASTONISHED by pediatric oncologists. Those poor bastards.

      1. No, I know you are in Colorado, it was supposed to be a reply to Draven’s comment about his governor being a pediatrician, but WordPress decided it knew where I wanted it better than I did.

  19. OK, two things.

    One, I am a medical practitioner of some sort in the worksite clinic of a heavy manufacturing facility. The decision was made to not require masking of employees for some very straightforward (and very real) reasons. They basically work in an un-air-conditioned foundry. Not only would masks, by their very nature, directly contribute to on the job heat injuries, they also would mean that workers had the choice of either contaminating their masks by taking them on and off all day, or of working 12 hour shifts without food or water, hence also *indirectly* contributing ht more heat injuries (which are a problem this time of year in my part of the world on the best day). So even for completely healthy folks, do not lecture me about how no-one has a legitimate reason to forgo a mask.

    Two, a number of my patients have COPD from years of smoking. This arrogant ass seems to think that they should just ‘not work’ because they are clearly too ill to be let out of the house unsupervised by their wisers and betters. The problem is, for some strange reason, they actually want to work for a full living (and shop and play) just like everyone else. And I sure as *more 4 letter words* do not have any right to deny them agency and tell them they can’t do that mask-free because I know their interests better than they do. Adults get to pick their own risks, it’s pretty (4LWs again) central to the concept of self-ownership, and he doesn’t get to decide for them which risks they are allowed to pic (between O2 deprivation or giving up their entire lives for the ‘duration of the emergency’.

    1. And I sure as *more 4 letter words* do not have any right to deny them agency and tell them they can’t do that mask-free because I know their interests better than they do

      That’s why they latched on to the idea of other folks’ masks protecting you.

      It gives a fig-leaf to demanding others do as you say.

    2. Adults get to pick their own risks, it’s pretty (4LWs again) central to the concept of self-ownership

      All very well except for the detail that these… people reject the concept of self-ownership. In their worldview, humans are not self-owned but instead are the property of Society – which in practice means that they’re government property.

      And as government property, you have a Duty to do whatever the wise and benevolent and oh-so-much-better-than-you government overseers tell you to do. Up to and including dying because the government says you must.

  20. That was very well done. I’ve just stopped wasting my time commenting on the BS that is out there. I do my own research and ignore the rest of the crap… I’ve got better things to do… sigh

  21. Because of the COVID-19 mess-

    1-I have been furloughed from work since March-ish. Starting in July, I’ll have run out of PTO at work and will have to pay for my health care. As long as the additional money for COVID keeps coming in, I’m good as well. If I have to go into straight unemployment, I can cover my storage unit, my health care, and a few other expenses.
    2-The office is open on a M/W/F-only schedule and the company only has the four or so salaried employees there. Opening back up for everyone else…not soon.
    3-If I want to go anywhere, I have to wear a mask. Wasn’t let into a store because I had forgotten my mask. And, most stores I want to go to are closed or requiring “social distancing.”
    4-I have missed several of the conventions that I enjoyed going to, which is also where I see a number of people that I like seeing.
    5-Looking for work right now kind of sucks. I’m just enough out of the easy-to-quantify categories that finding a job that doesn’t involve heavy lifting, using my own car, and/or lots of time outdoors is difficult if not impossible. Most of the jobs showing up that aren’t in those three tend to be minimum wage with poor medical plans, and a LOT of “front counter” or “senior living” jobs. Which I can’t take because Mom would catch anything I brought home.
    6-Well, at least I’m down to a 44 and coming up close on a 42 pant size.
    7-I’ve gotten every “honeydo” project that I can get done, done.
    8-Nobody seems to believe me when I tell them that however much they don’t like Trump, Biden will be worse. At minimum, he’s on the edge of full senility; at worse, he’s a willing co-conspirator with the E!Democrats that think that tearing everything down is a good idea.
    9-Did I mention that I’m having depression and “destruction of self” issues hitting me? ‘Cause I do. At least I’m not having insomnia this time around.
    10-I just want to go somewhere. But, until I know when I’m going to work or to a new job, I can’t justify spending the money for just a hotel room somewhere for a night. Yet. (And, I’m not going anywhere during the 4th of July weekend. I am getting this “going to cause trouble” feeling from people on that weekend.)

    But…if I can get back to work or a job that has about the same pay/benefits, or get the publishing money coming by November, I should be in decent shape. Hopefully. I think. If Half Price Books opens up, I can get rid of enough stuff from the storage unit to move into a smaller unit and save some money there.

    This is not the 2020 I wanted. Not in any way, shape, or form.

    1. I feel your pain on the job search. Pickings are slim atm.

      As to self-harming, please don’t. I won’t come out with any inane platitudes. Just please don’t. We’d miss you.

      Well, except for this one: Hang in there. As the doctor told me when I was suffering from a kidney stone, this too shall pass.

      1. I gave up the self-harm impulse (except for cookies) years ago. However much I don’t like myself, I do love myself, and there are enough people out there that would miss me if I was gone.

        We’re all hanging in there. I know my situation isn’t as bad as most people’s. I remind myself of the perspective and, well, keep calm and carry on.

  22. This is a great post. I just wrote one of my own on masks and fear that hit me when I read a comment on one of the posts in the Diner. Fear is driving the new reason for socially ostracizing somebody for not wearing a mask. Friend of mine calls all the news reports about increased cases, etc. panic porn.

  23. I wear one if I’m in an enclosed area with other people because I live with vulnerable people. I can’t afford to get it. It seems like if you wear one, you’re a stupid sheep but if you don’t wear one–because maybe you don’t need to or you have asthma or you’re allergic to the masks–you get branded as selfish, evil, and stupid. A heretic. (Unless of course you’re marching on the streets for 15 hours a day in a crowd.) It’s not particularly fair either way.

      1. Eh — if she’s living with people for whom it would be, it’s worth being more careful than Cuomo.

        On my side, we’re currently trying to make sure my mom doesn’t get anything, because of that thing about not operating on sick people if possible — if her joint repair gets delayed, who knows when they’ll get rescheduled!

        1. I’m precisely trying to avoid a Cuomo situation–elderly parents, one with underlying conditions.

    1. Fairness? You expect fairness from the Fascist Left when they are fighting for their (political) lives?

      They’ve NEVER been fair. They’ve ALWAYS been little Stalins. There have been times when they masked it better, but it has always been there if you looked for it.

    2. It seems like if you wear one, you’re a stupid sheep

      Only if you start going all nasty-aunt-at-the-family-reunion on me for not wearing one. ^.^ My morality demands are well covered by actual morality, I don’t need fads to add to it.

      One of our kids is a minor risk, so we’ve been doing all the non-mask safety stuff… since about Halloween. To the point of buying hand sanitizer for the local parish back about Thanksgiving time, based on rumors of a bad flu season.

      I’m still horrified how many folks want to force me to wear a mask, but “wash your hands” and “if one of the kids is sick, don’t take them to the library” is just too much.

      1. I reminded a classmate in sixth grade to wash her hands on the way out of the restroom. I honestly thought she’d just gotten distracted and forgot. She was offended. I am still disturbed.

        I think the next time our paths crossed in there, she asked if I had (somehow?) sprayed urine all over the inside of the stall door I’d just used. (Which was indeed spattered with droplets, and I don’t think she’d actually gone all the way in, so I’m not sure how she could have faked it. I’m still disturbed by that one too, honestly, if… largely out of sheer confusion.)

          1. I… have heard of that. I assume they have much greater thigh strength than I do. I’ve also heard the practice is prone to sprinkling the seat, but how one would reach the door still eludes me.

    3. If you read the article, even the surgeon is saying that the mask is to stop you spreading the virus if you happen to be an asymptomatic carrier. The masks most people are wearing will NOT stop you from getting the virus. By this logic, you should not wear a mask in public, and wear a mask when you are around the vulnerable people at home. At least that makes more sense.

      1. I know most of the fashion accessories people are using won’t stop anything. I call those the barely legal masks. I have masks–stocked up pre-COVID–that are anti-viral and those are the ones we use for grocery store runs and so forth. I don’t use a mask if I’m just out to get mail or if I’m driving in a car or if I’m out walking.

        1. I don’t wear a mask unless I have to go into a place that requires masks. I do my best to avoid those places. If I can’t, I have a cheap mask printed: MASKS ARE AS USELESS AS GOV. NUISANCE

          It’s Plague Theatre, and the masks are stage props.

          1. I’m thinking of getting one with the MCU’s Hydra symbol on it. Compliance will be rewarded, after all…

  24. (Don McCollor)..[as not an expert] .face masks will not protect you (unless you wear them a long long time [[or until when and if f a vaccine is developed]).. Eventually, the virus will leak into your community, and sooner or later you will be exposed to it no matter what precautions you take. I am an older man, do not want to die, but if I do, rather get ‘er done rather than whimpering round in fear…

  25. I didn’t get a chance to read all the comments, so apologies if it was mentioned, but something that also gets overlooked in the mask “debate” is the fact that Cov-Sars-2 is a fast replicating virus.

    So if you’re an asymptomatic shedder, then expiring all those viral particles into a moist, relatively dark place for an extended period of time increases the risk of the wearer receiving a higher and higher challenge dose, thus increasing the chance of successful infection proportionate to the length of wearing the mask. And that, along with quarantining the non-infected or asymptomatic carriers is how you 1) completely screw with herd immunity, 2) get people sick who otherwise wouldn’t have been.

    I’ve seen relatively few people making this point, so it bears repeating.

    1. You’re right, after about half an hour those cloth masks make a perfect environment for germs to breed, and they do.

  26. So I have a couple questions for the medical folks out there (and compulsive researchers). And I pre-apologize for any lack of coherency or spelling/grammar – long ass day.

    1. Asymptomatic (AS) vs. pre-symptomatic (PS). AS means that a person is infected with a virus, but is not showing any symptoms from initial infection to immune system terminating the virus completely. PS is not showing symptoms but is about to show symptoms. Am I correct in my definitions?

    2. I recall reading somewhere on the internet in the last month (ish), that AS individuals were AS due to having much smaller loads of viral particles in their system. Whether that is a result of a better immune system and terminating the viral particles quickly, or just minor exposure and the virus not having a good foothold in the body’s systems, it followed (according to what I read) that the ability of AS individuals to promulgate the virus is minimal when it exists – and what I read came down heavily on the side of AS indivs not transmitting. A: is this a correct method of explaining AS? If yes, B: Would the vector for AS people be minimal due to this?

    3. Is there an initial method of differentiating between AS and PS, beyond waiting X period and seeing if they develop symptoms?

    4. What is the typical period for PS transmission? I have heard everything from 14 days to 5. I have heard that the regular flu(s) have a PS period of >5 days, and the issue is that Kung Flu part Deux has a much higher PS period. True? False? Does anyone actually know? Are there other diseases/virii/etc that have a long (~14 day) PS period?

    5. How does influenza(s) compare to the KungFlu in terms of data? What is the AS vs PS ratio for influenza? Has that ever been studied like COVID19? What about infections from AS indivs? I ask because I see a lot of stuff re: COVID, but nothing comparing it to the flu groups. Makes me wonder what sort of information has been collected about influenza.

    6. Heard that the COVID virus has not actually be isolated in a laboratory setting? True / False? If people have not been able to isolate it, what the devil are they testing for?

    Go raibh míle maith agaibh / Many thanks!

    1. 1) correct.

      2) Insufficient data. Is a theory, hard to test– it’s grade school science (ie, hugely simplified but basically ok) that you get sicker when there’s more of the germs in you, but that’s because the germs’ production is what makes you sick. (Or your body’s reaction/over-reaction, which seems to be what kills most folks for this.)

      3) Nope. For those wondering, a study on the cruise ship “we theorize a third of those with no symptoms will get it” came out. Something like six out of ninety eventually had symptoms, so waaaaaay high never had a symptom. The cabinmates who got sick were also asymptomatic or mild https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMc2013020

      4) Insufficient data. Original infection data assumed that it was actually new. So there’s stuff like rumors of 50 days before symptoms. Given the stories the group here can tell about “but that’s impossible– yet it happened”? I can’t even rule out THAT, science is just too messy.

      5) I don’t know, but I do know that even asking about the idea of asymptomatic flu is enough to make some folks utterly flip out, so I suspect it’s one of those “hard to study, results make doctors look bad, smother it now” fields. (Researchers will make doctors look bad in a heartbeat, but it has to be something highly defensible or at least COOL.)

      6) Looks like it might be really hard to culture in isolation; this is from a news story in March:
      Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus. A team of researchers from Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto has isolated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

  27. The CDC must be right about masks. Since they have had 5 different positions, at least one of them must have been right.
    In the last two weeks, before the lunatic governor’s mask mandate this week, I have been in what feels like every doctors office in a 50 mile radius. Infectious disease doc wanted masks which I can sort of understand. So did dentist,neurologist, and ophthalmologist. PCP, medical lab, dermatologist, orthopedic surgeon, and veterinarian didn’t care. Not even all the docs and staff were wearing them. So I would say, the medical profession is split down the middle. No consensus despite what the media would have you believe.

    1. My dentist sent a long series of texts explaining that I shouldn’t come in if I felt ill and moreover that due to the nature of the exam, it would be impossible to maintain distancing the whole time. Just in case, I suppose, I hoped they had acquired some sort of remote system since the last visit, to allow them to clean and inspect my teeth by directing a robot.

      (As I would not personally want a job that involved peering into random people’s mouths at any time, let alone during cold season and assuredly not when anybody coming down with even a mild case of something might lead to excessive excitement, and I was very pleased they were still in business and able to carry out my appointment at the expected time, I took it in the spirit presumably intended and did not actually tease anybody about hypothetical robots.)

      1. My dentist’s receptionist came out to the parking lot (where I was in the shade, perched on the tailgate, reading), took my temperature, asked some questions, and reminded me to let them know if I came down sick with the WuFlu within 14 days. I did point out that once it starts getting really hot, taking the temp of people who have been sitting in the parking lot might not be a good metric. The gal shrugged. I suspect it’s an anti-lawsuit policy as much as a public health policy.

  28. Interesting bit in the Wall Street Journal today about the “lack of ICU/surgery beds in Harris County” (Houston, greater Houston, and the Towns Houston Ate). One, most of the patients are not SARS2 but the usual ICU things. Two, a lot of “elective” surgeries are now near-emergencies because the conditions went untreated and got a lot worse. Since Harris County is also testing almost everyone that sniffs or sneezes, no surprise that the number of positive results has gone up. Seek and ye shall find . . .

    1. One of the many things I find frustrating – I keep hearing that the ICU bed usage is at 97%. What does it usually run at this time of year? I know the hospitals I have worked in usually have full ICUs, and it’s not unusual (especially in flu season) to negotiate with the ICU doc, who he can move out to move your patient in. It’s a scary number, but meaningless if you don’t know what the norm is.
      And all the people getting surgeries are being tested, so we are picking up more asymptomatic cases.

  29. There are still some scary cases showing up. One of my longtime blogfriends (Brickmuppet at brickmuppet.mee.nu) had a cousin-in-law wear an N-95 mask to visit her aged parents and cut their hair (about a month ago), and the dad, mom, and daughter all got sick. The dad eventually died (of complications, right after beating the ‘Rona), the daughter got better, and the mom was still in the hospital last I heard.

    Don’t know what state it was in, only that it was south of Virginia, where my blogfriend lives.

    (Related posts are May 25 and June 15.)

    Anyway, the related fact seems to be that the daughter wore exactly the wrong kind of mask, out of an abundance of filial devotion and caution toward her parents, and inadvertently blasted them with germs.

    1. Unfortunately, as the writer points out, N95 masks are NOT good for protecting others, only yourself, because they have exhaust ports, and I have it on excellent authority (from people who use them often, due to asthma and allergies) that the exhalation comes out as a jet, instead of being diffused.

  30. It’s just amazing that all these doctors, epidemiologist, virologists, politicians, academics want to pretend to be industrial hygienists, the professionals who’s job it is to control exposure to workers in real-life situations. The amount of myth and mistake rocketing around about respirators, respiratory protection, spit-shields (non-NIOSH approved dust masks) and the importance of fit testing and training is astounding. It’s what you get when you let the amateur hour run the show.

    1. It is a bit of an insult to industrial hygienists, isn’t it?

      Do industrial hygienists have certification exams? Perhaps a passing score ought be required before permitting anybody to go on TV and talk about the topic.

      And their score ought be in the Chyron alongside their name.

  31. a reasonable test is to go up and down the same flight of stairs three times, quickly.

    It may be a reasonable test for O2 saturation but I would certainly fail it because of my knees. As is I often barely manage a flight of about fourteen stairs before losing strength in the rebuilt leg (more precisely, knee.)

  32. preferring … to take the arrogant normative male position”

    That seems a touch sexist. I suspect this surgeon is arrogant because he is a surgeon, not because he is male. I’ve known many males to practice great humility (in its properly understood sense of neither amplifying not denying personal attributes.)

    Surgeons, on the other hand, like fighter pilots, tend to suffer arrogance as an occupational disease, bred by the need to make constant life/death decisions without undue hesitation.

    There is nothing gained by making pejorative categorical assertions.
    -.

  33. I’m not saying China was lying,

    The critical question is NOT whether China was lying, it is “Can we rely on China to be telling the truth (reporting accurately and completely)?

    The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

  34. [Masks] may be the best tool available right now to fight [the COVID virus].

    Being the best tool is not the same as being an effective tool. A tennis racket may be the best tool available for swatting a fly but that does not make it an effective fly swatter.

    In fact, as made clear in this essay, this surgeon’s expertise is not at all well-suited to questions of epidemiology and virology and, for all his failure to recognize his limitations, he might just as well be a proctologist.

    Standard rules of evidence insist that argument from authority entails very precise evaluations of authority; a surgeon owns more expertise on this than an average layman* but is still well down the ladder of authority.

    *to be honest, the average layman often lacks ability to distinguish between his (her) butt and a hole in the ground, so knowing more is a very low bar. And yet, as shown above, not all knowledge is pertinent and to the extent an “expert” fails to recognize this that expert may well have effectively less knowledge than our average layman who, whatever his limitations, has less “false” knowledge.

  35. Saw a post from another surgeon saying masks are okay. She is pictured sitting in the same chair with a pulse oximeter on her finger. She says she took her oxygen levels without a make and then with three different masks after warring the mask for five minutes. Look! No difference!. Five minutes for each medical grade mask while sitting in your comfy office chair? Of course there is no difference.

    1. I have one of those and know it beeps in complaint at under 90%.
      That is a beep that worries me.
      The beeping for under 60 bpm usually just means I am really relaxed.

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