Readers might recall that on Jan 29 2020, I recommended buying P100/N100 (or N95) particulate respirators (masks) before it was too late, as we had no idea how bad the virus would be.
It’s still a great idea to wear an N100/P100 mask (properly fitted) to protect yourself if you have reason to be believe you will have viral exposure. But they are not comfortable to wear for very long and can cause problems for those with impaired lungs. An N100/P100/N95 mask properly fitted should greatly reduce the odds of transmission. But they are unobtanium for most, and impractical for many and the only wearable kind (valved) are prohibited at some facilities (which allow massively leaky masks of other types, WTF). So you can’t even protect yourself.
Surgical masks and anything similar might have marginal benefit where people would in effect be spitting on each other, e.g., talking loudly a few feet away, stuffed inside a conference room, etc. But putting yourself into such situations is the core problem.
Mask debate lumps disparate masks and conditions into an incoherent mess
The debate on masks has gone into Alice in Wonderland territory, equating N100/P1oo/N95 masks properly fitted with the filthiest rag you see people wearing (some are truly disgusting) and every kind of mask in-between, fitted and worn differently and under widely varying conditions.
We have politicians repeatedly photographed with masks below the nose or with obvious leaks near the nose (e.g., figurehead Biden). I regularly see people similarly exposed/exposing, or covering their chins only! Kids playing outside masked up. Cyclists riding masked. Mask brain damage is now widespread.
The debate on masks is pointless because the science is garbage. No credible studies have emerged that anyone can avoid giggling at. To call it science to conflate a dozen or so confounding variables set in wildly varying conditions and mine data for feeble statistical correlations is purely a political exercise at this stage.
- What’s a “mask”, exactly?
- What material is the mask made of?
- How is the mask fitted and worn?
- How often is the mask handled (thus contaminating hands, and vice versa)?
- Is it fresh, a day stale, or not washed for a week or three?
- Does it protect the wearer more than trivially?
- Why do facilities prohibit N95/N100 valved masks, but allow massively leaky surgical masks and similar?
- Ad nauseum...
And the very tests we use to claim COVID infection have been junk science. Junk science in the form of mask studies are are be based on that fly-buzzed manure pile.
What do do?
Dunno about you, but I intensely dislike the masked-up experience, in physical and pyschological terms. Physically annoying with my own bad breath saturating my face... uggh. But worst of all, communicating with masked people is a horrible human interaction. To ask young children to mask up is child abuse that might scar them for life, by interfering with social development, which requires nuanced brain learning that a mask hides.
COVID is going to spread until everyone has had it. That’s an undeniable fact now that we know the vaccines do not stop infection and are not going to get us to the fantasy land of herd immunity. The only question is how to minimize the damage.
So I say—the hell with “COVID theater” masks, excepting limited circumstances, like medical facilities, long term care, or similar higher-risk scenarios. And there, use a proper N95 mask properly fitted, not a surgical mask or horse-shit cloth mask or similar. After all, if someone is coughing, they should not even be allowed to enter the facility except for potential COVID patients.
Let anyone who wishes to mask-up do so, ideally making N95 masks available to all. It is about time that personal responsibility was respected. But tyranical mask mandates no longer serve any purpose but political browbeating.