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COVID-19: Facial Covering (Mask) Policy: Will Public Officials Take Full Responsibility for Bad Advice? (if so-proven)

See also: WIRED: The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard

Please see my post from two days ago, COVID-19: Public Policy MUST be Changed: Facial Coverings should ALWAYS be Worn To Protect Others. I’m “all in” here—I sure as hell hope I am totally, utterly wrong.

Summarizing, my position is that ALL persons entering any space frequented by others should wear a facial covering over nose and mouth, primarily to block viral spread by blocking droplets/particles from coughing/sneezing/breathing.

I say “facial covering” because just about anything blocks particles to a good degree, and that is proven by science. Even 50% blockage is hugely better risk reduction than 0%.

I also assert that doing so is zero-cost in terms of public health, with a huge potential upside in taming the wildfire spread of the disease. Whereas the alternative of the public goeing without facial covering is scientifically without supporting data and carries an enormous risk. What is the harm exactly of blocking respiratory particles if only with a handkerchief when someone coughes or sneezes or breathes?

Pushback, paucity of science, but some emerging evidence

I am still getting pushback from some, whose position is that facial coverings (not necessarily an official mask) should not be worn, or are even harmful. Ironically, this position stems from “no science for it”, yet there is no science to prove otherwise! However, every MD that has emailed so far is in agreement*.

Just today, the USA Surgeon General reiterated the no-need-for-masks advice we have seen for months, even as the infection rate goes exponential. People are dying by the thousands, and these officials have no science to back up their recommendation—they are guessing (or have some unstated policy objective; I cannot read their minds).

Even today, the experts cannot tell us the primary mode of transmission—they don’t know, all they have is unproven hypotheses. Yet they are willing to put our lives at risk via guesswork*. The question remains open and poorly understood, with only initial efforts that are not definitive:

March 29, University of Nebraska: Study documents widespread contamination of the environment near patients with COVID-19

Is it credible that the majority of infections come from direct contact with surfaces, on which we are told the virus cannot live long except on certain ones? Is it credible that this contamination comes only from direct contact (e.g., not from the air)? Do we really think that the fecal-oral route is a major vector when most all restaurants are closed (little food handling)? Sure, it’s possible those are the only primary vectors of infection, but that would suggest that hand washing is either not being done or is being done ineffectively. Because if it’s not through the air, then it must be via hands (to mouth/nose/eyes).

Far more credible is that airborne transmission of some kind is hugely important. If only because coughing and sneezing spread the virus onto nearby surfaces, where hands can then pick it up. Direct airborne transmission seems likely too and facial coverings block both situations.

How did all those cruise ship passengers get infected, if not through the HVAC system? By being locked in their rooms out of contact with others? Seriously?

The tide is turning, and ignorance will have to fade

The tide turning in the press. And soon we will see more studies showing that COVID-19 virions can travel through the air surprising distances. But who on earth wants to wait a year for absolute certainty when simple hygienic precautions (facial covering) have no downside?

What kind of social unrest will ensue when the public sees they have been lied to in the most grotesque way possible? Distrust in health authorities stemming from a mistake of this magnitude cannot be undone; it will last for generations and have downstream repercussions we cannot yet imagine.

* If you are an MD or epidemiologist or similar, and have a reasoned position of your own not based on groupthink, please email me and tell me why you think facial coverings are a bad or useless idea—I will publish it.

** It is a fact that experts in the medical field have made huge numbers of errors in medical beliefs since the days of leeches—it is almost the rule, rather than the exception. It’s a tough field to work in, very complex. All I look to see is clear and free thinking, free of groupthink and based on repeatable non-corporate-funded and non-political hard direct science—errors are par for the course and all anyone can do is their best.

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