The first one is that I think those who actually question the effectiveness of masks actually use the “lack of a flu season” as evidence Covid deaths were inflated along with a lot of anecdotal evidence about hospitals initially pushing more things into the Covid category than they should have. You’ll have to explain this argument carefully to them meaning it might not bear the type of fruit you want it to.
Second, and more importantly, it doesn’t seem very scientificwere used in conjunction with social distancing guidelines including full blown lockdowns, along with lots of people working from home and remote education. Casinos were closed, many vacations cancelled, concerts, plays the movie theaters and sporting events all shut down. How do you propose to distinguish between how well masking worked at limiting the flu vs the lockdowns and all that social distancing? You may be able to look at some time periods and locations and isolate a few of these things but people in general have behaved differently overall since the pandemic started.
I tend to think social distancing can make you virtually bulletproof against Covid. I think masks helped some but I honestly don’t know how much. I’d guess significantly less helpful than the social distancing
I suspect it is some of each. The mask is a good marker and reminder to social distance, but no doubt in my mind that it stops the spewing of droplets the spray forth as we talk, sing, and sneeze, And those droplets are how most Covid is spread. Personally, I feel masks help far more than washing hands, although even that is interrelated, as if masked, you are less likely to pick your nose and transmit the virus from hand to nose…
That said, masks are used by only a small minority here in Texas, though it has increased in the last week or so as people alter their behavior in response to the rising numbers,
I touch my mask at least 100x a day at work without washing my hands. I’ve never been into sanitizer. I can’t stand the mask though and my glasses constantly fog up and the schools are hot (or cold!) so it’s me constantly messing with it. Most here in CT stopped wearing masks for a while but with Delta there seems to be a comeback.
I agree it’s some of each but social distancing can be bullet proof. If someone has Covid and they don’t leave the house and they never come into contact with anyone then they shouldn’t spread it. I have family members so scared they barely left the house or went anywhere for a year! Potential for 100% effectiveness. Masks do help reduce the spread of respiratory droplets so they should help reduce spread of Covid. This is of course a vague statement. 5, 10, 50 or 80%? That is of course the million dollar scientific question I don’t think anyone can actually answer. Too many unknowns and things changing at once. I teach my lowest students about keeping things constant and making sure you only manipulate one variable at a time. Credible research has to take this into co side ration as well.
Then there is also the specialized and highly quantitative knowledge of fluid dynamics necessary and assumptions going into those very fancy numerical simulations to consider. The simplest science based on fluid dynamics and how we breath in conjunction with knowledge of how Covid spreads says that the masks should help. I wouldn’t get too brazen with a cheap cloth mask, however that many people have a tendency to touch and those of us with glasses really struggle with.
I think it’s really hard to find a specific study showing masks directly help stop Covid. There was the CDC hairdresser one but that alone is not enough from a scientific perspective. Instead we have to rely on fluid dynamics models of our respiratory droplets. On that basis there isn’t a good reason to think masks don’t offer some protection as long as the “mesh” is fine enough.
I don’t really think they are necessary anymore for vaccinated people since breakthrough infections are rare. Look at the lollapalooza information Christy posted. Most were vaccinated and on top of one another mask less (hundreds of thousands of people). Very few infections and some may have been infected before even going! This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and we are already too plugged in and virtual. We need, especially kids, to see other people’s faces. I’m okay with consequences in life. If you have a drink and get behind the wheel and hit a tree it will be very sad and unfortunate. I will feel emotional pain for the person, their family and myself. But intellectually it’s “you lie in the bed you make.” Play stupid games win stupid prizes. I don’t feel an ounce of sympathy for the 1% of those 500 climbers each year who die on Mount Everest. You knew the risk and died doing something you wanted to. Everyone knows there is a risk to Covid, even if they think it’s small or overblown. I support freedom 100%! The blue face diaper is not something I will be living with permanently. If my school district requires masks the following year and another makes them optional, I will switch schools. The governor has schools wearing them this year.
Would it be noble to refuse to wear a seatbelt in the name of freedom, or put a child in a carseat, even if it were not the law? Seatbelts are so restrictive and uncomfortable, and a child’s carseat severely inhibits a developing toddler’s natural movement!
(If you question masks’ effectiveness, why do surgeons wear masks? How long to they wear them? Do no surgeons wear glasses?)
No. Social distancing is effective in outdoor or well-ventilated spaces. But consider this from a JAMA article summarizing the case for masks:
Larger droplets fall out of the air rapidly, but small droplets and the dried particles formed from them (ie, droplet nuclei) can remain suspended in the air. In circumstances with poor ventilation, typically indoor enclosed spaces where an infected person is present for an extended period, the concentrations of these small droplets and particles can build sufficiently to transmit infection.
Edit: And the above article doesn’t reflect the Delta variant, which is more contagious.
That isn’t social distancing. That’s a description of lockdown/quarantine. If you think you or your kids can go into every grocery store, restaurant, church, and school where no one is wearing a mask and be bulletproof by staying 6 ft away, you are kidding yourself.
See the link above from the Journal of the American Medical Association. To quote:
First, masks prevent infected persons from exposing others to SARS-CoV-2 by blocking exhalation of virus-containing droplets into the air (termed source control ). This aspect of mask wearing is especially important because it is estimated that at least 50% or more of transmissions are from persons who never develop symptoms or those who are in the presymptomatic phase of COVID-19 illness.1 In recent laboratory experiments, multilayer cloth masks were more effective than single-layer masks, blocking as much as 50% to 70% of exhaled small droplets and particles.2,3
Edit: Blocking 50-70% of particles effectively means reducing transmission by 50-70%. Schools across the country are about to begin classes, if they haven’t already. Schools are petri dishes for flu transmission across the community. That didn’t happen last year. This year many schools in Red states, public and private, are coming back with no precautions. Very few schools have good ventilation. Spoken from personal experience.
Fair enough, I was conflating the two. But you can limit your outdoor activities and distancing in stories does help some even if not bulletproof. But curbside pickup should be close to 100%. I know people that severely limited their interactions and many avoided large gatherings throughout the pandemic. You can’t get sick if your friend has Covid and you don’t go hang out with them. That is the point. There was a lot less social interaction and a lot more people working from homes. That puts strong limits on most mask studies. Only a couple seem to get around this and are worth discussing. Though the science is pretty straightforward that masks offer some help in reducing the spread of Covid since they reduce the amount of respiratory droplets getting through.
I don’t think any of those studies are conclusive. Some are strong but many have difficulties built in and limitations each study will carefully mention and others that may be overlooked or not adequately accounted for. The last five have the difficulty of the mask mandates co-existing with social distancing measures. People began to distance and stay home more and more as the mask mandates rolled around and the CNN death counter kept trending upwards.
You also have the very simply fact that people who don’t wear masks are more likely to continue to go to bars, crowded places and not socially distance. The behaviors of the two groups will be very different as will their number of interactions and daily contacts. That renders some of these studies problematic. I’m a fan of pure science. If you can’t account for all the significant variablesI’m not calling it science. Many of these communal studies just don’t achieve it for me.
I have also heard all sorts of things about some people just not being as infectious as others, some being super spreaders, there being limited windows where the spreading Covid is more likely and many cases where people in the same homes don’t get covid together. No idea how much has changed in the last year on this front. The salon study I found to be strong and I mentioned it above. But even it has some holes and lists many caveats that limit how effective we can conclusively conclude the masks actually were here.
The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations. First, whereas the health department monitored all exposed clients for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and no clients developed symptoms, only a subset was tested; thus, asymptomatic clients could have been missed. Similarly, with a viral incubation period of 2–14 days, any COVID-19 PCR tests obtained from clients too early in their course of infection could return false-negative results. To help mitigate this possibility, all exposed clients were offered testing on day 5 and were contacted daily to monitor for symptoms until day 14. Second, although the health department obtained supplementary data, no information was collected regarding underlying medical conditions or use of other personal protective measures, such as gloves and hand hygiene, which could have influenced risk for infection. Third, viral shedding is at its highest during the 2 to 3 days before symptom onset; any clients who interacted with the stylists before they became symptomatic were not recruited for contact tracing. Finally, the mode of interaction between stylist and client might have limited the potential for exposure to the virus. Services at salon A were limited to haircuts, facial hair trimmings, and perms. Most stylists cut hair while clients are facing away from them, which might have also limited transmission.
So be it. I am not wearing a mask to protect the 15% of the population that sees the risk of COVID and chooses not to vaccinate. As the recent lollapalooza event shows, large maskless gatherings are extraordinarily safe for vaccinated people. The vaccines are very effective. Even with this dreaded Delta variant lurking out there. Also, letting people have freedom is the most unselfish and loving thing you could ever do, whether they use it for ill or good. It was God’s first and greatest gift to us. Our creation as free beings. Climb Everest if you want. Enjoy that face diaper forever if you want. Or don’t. Your choice. Not all choices are good or will be pleasing to God–but you are as free to eat McDonald’s every day as you are to climb Everest as you are to not vaccinate. Sadly not vaccinating may hurt others but the risk to the vaccinated is small enough for most of us to drop them. Unfortunately, those who want to but can’t vaccinate will always have to live extra-cautious lives.
But I highly doubt that means 50-70% less covid cases. But anyways, masks or not in school, you can’t eat lunch with a mask. Crowded cafeterias. Kids eating and talking in close proximity to one another. How do you change that? But kids aren’t really at risk. At least that’s what the experts keep saying. That is why half of Europe is not vaccinating healthy kids at this time based on the advice of many medical experts. Things may change. When the 12 and under crowd is able to vaccinate it should be even safer for them (add a few decimals I guess) and others who choose not to vaccinate.
Protecting the patient from contamination by the surgeon is one reason. And many surgeons do point out the difficulties glasses can provide. They also protecting the surgeon against blood and fluid splatter. Well, these are the commonly claimed reasons. Whether they actually do either one of this to a significant degree is another question altogether. Some also just wear them out of respect for tradition. What does a surgeon have to do with this? Or are you only talking about outside the OR? I only asked about how much protection masks actually offer against Covid? A number that is impossible to determine.
Okay. I couldn’t let these falsehoods go. But after this, I really am done with this convo. It’s veered far away from its purpose.
Lunches, masking, and social distancing in antiquated buildings was sorted out last year. It’s not magic. You have a split day and no lunches (for students). Cut the student body in half. Teach the four core subjects in 45-min blocks in the morning, and those kids go home. 30-min lunch for staff, and the other half of the students take the four core subjects in the afternoon. Electives are online. It’s called a hybrid model.
“Kids aren’t at risk” is an outdated understanding. Flu kills kids and elderly. We were lucky that Alpha COVID mainly killed elderly and not children. We’re at Delta now. Check the number of pediatric beds presently filled in hotspots. Unchecked spread breeds variants. It’s evolution in action. Delta is hospitalizing and killing younger and younger people. We are potentially one or two more variants away from a version of COVID that kills in the same pattern as flu. When the virus is already as contagious as chickenpox and if it evolves to kill children at the same rate as the elderly, what excuse for present negligence will sway a holy God’s judgment? Mah freedumb?
Where is this happening? Certainly not with the 18,000 students in my school district or anywhere else I am aware of. School is back in session. But it’s not as bad as 18,000 because K-5 is a cohort. It’s not magic. It’s just your fairy tale that no one seems to be doing in this area at least. It is factual that kids are not significantly at risk from Covid and medical experts around the world all agree. Half of Europe isn’t vaccinating their children right nowD You consider it outdated but many infectious disease and medical experts don’t. Can delta, which is not nearly as contagious as the chicken pox, change this? Possibly. Jury is still out as data comes in and many are reasonably worried about it. Don’t confuse alarmism with science.
Many European countries have much higher vaccination rates in the adult population than in the US, with many nearing or exceeding 70% of the population vaccinated. Vaccinated adults protect unvaccinated children. There are still states in the US that are well under 50% vaccinated. I would imagine this factors into recommendations about whether or not kids “need” vaccinations.
So is it all the European nations with high vaccination rates electing not to vaccinate the children?
And my state is on par with those higher numbers in Europe. 65% fully vaccinated and that means 20% haven’t been since the other 15% are kids under 12. About 73% have at least one dose. If I were in a red zone I might be more inclined to vaccinating kids. Covid has largely been handled over here though the city I teach in has lagged behind other parts of CT in vaccinations. If their numbers are right, which I dispute a bit, 1 out of every 256 people died of Covid in my town. We had one 18 year old when it first started in one of the school schools die who had underlying conditions. It was tragic and very early in the pandemic.
I can’t control the actions of the child’s parents. Many children are dirt poor in my district and have rough home lives. That’s worth 100x the spotlight Covid is getting in regards to children in this area. We all feel for sick children and babies. No one will choose to not vaccinate their children because they think doing so makes them less safe. The question deals with whether the risks and potential side effects of the vaccines for children outweigh their risk without getting them. Since many medical experts completely disagree with you the need arises for your appeal to emotion. I understand the facts actually hurt the narrative some people want to push on Covid because like the anti-vaxxers they can’t see that they have been pushed to the opposite side of the political spectrum. I’m sure that stance makes it easy to vilify those they intellectually disagree with. Easy to push blame on parents who won’t vaccinate their kids when the medical experts have pushed the narrative from the start that Covid doesn’t really affect kids and there are potential side effects and a lot of misinformation floating about that the majority of the population lacks the ability to properly vet. If only they could all be as loving and as smart as is! But there is little point to psychoanalyzing this behavior. Sick and suffering babies is heartbreaking but you should save your emotional blackmail for someone who will actually fall for it.
Vinnie you’ve stated your opinions and reasons. We want to limit the number of posts that are lukewarm about vaccines or could be construed as discouraging masks and child vaccinations. You don’t really have questions, you are trying to convince people of something counter to what we want to promote. So, we don’t need to hear any more from you on this topic. Thanks for understanding.
You and everyone else, since they haven’t even been approved for emergency use. But masks for school kids under 12? Like seatbelts and carseats, the science is in. You might change your tune if you lived in a low vaccine area.