This is Going to be Bad, Ep. 11
Survey done on July, 17th
As a Nation We Still Aren’t Masking Enough
We need to find a way to talk about masking that focuses on health, not politics.
If you are unclear on why masks work, lets do an experiment. Put a mask on and breathe into it for a few minutes. Then take it off and feel the inside. It’s damp, right? Remember wearing a Halloween mask? That’s what happens, they get damp from your breath.
When you exhale, part of that is water vapor. If you are infected with C-19 and infectious, that water vapor is going to have viral particulate in it. Every bit of water vapor that your mask catches is less that is going into the air around you. If you are infected and wearing a mask, you are reducing your contribution to the viral load in the air around you. That’s the main thing masks do and it works. If you reduce the viral load in the air of public spaces and buildings; fewer people will get infected and fewer people will die.
OK, you say. “That’s all well and good, but why should I wear a mask if I’m not infected?”
Remember, 80% of C-19 infections will be asymptomatic or so mild that you might not know you are infected. So, how do you know, for sure, that you aren’t infected? If you aren’t one of the unlucky 1 out of 5 who gets seriously ill, you really cannot know. Even if you get tested and it came back negative, all it means was that you weren't infectious that day. You could have gotten infected an hour after your test. Hell, you could get infected at a test center if it isn’t being well run.
So, for all you know, you might be infected right now. There isn’t any way to know when you have been infected. You won’t feel it. You won’t turn blue. If you aren’t getting tested every day you could get infected and become infectious without any symptoms and without ever knowing it.
If you go out into public at all (like to the grocery store) you have been exposed. Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you are not infected. For this reason alone, wearing a mask when you are in public is good social practice. If everyone does it, it reduces everyone’s risk of getting infected.
I understand that for some people this may not be enough motivation. They don’t want to wear a mask unless they know “for absolute certain” that they are infected, and only then for as long as they are actively sick. If they have an asymptomatic infection that’s your problem, not theirs. They feel fine. So, what if they are spewing infectious particulate into the air. If you are so worried about getting sick, they argue, you wear a mask.
They won’t persecute you if you do it because you are old and vulnerable. After all, the President said this week, “We are taking incredible measures to protect the vulnerable” and he meant old people because he also said that “95% of the people who die are over 78”. So, if you’re old, they will tolerate your giving in to the “fearporn” and “death inflation” and being so scared that you decide to wear a mask. Just don’t expect them to wear one. They are “not afraid” and they are not, “going to live in fear”.
As it was explained to me recently,
“masks (which they claimed didn’t help, now has become a political symbol) are controversial, too, even from the medical people. And it’s ridiculous these same people preaching this crap think it’s fine for thousands to breathe all over each other and burn down our cities. So this mask thing like the over-hype of this — not reporting that the death rate is substantially DOWN — is about taking down Donald Trump at the expense of the country and freedom we love. And that is shameful”.
These are the people you see in public places not wearing masks. Because, as far as they are concerned, they don’t want to, they don’t have to, you can’t make them, and it is “shameful”.
Personally, I don’t want to be one of those people. But, I understand it’s a personal choice. So, if you don’t want to wear a mask because if we all do it as a group everyone benefits. Perhaps you would consider wearing one because it helps you directly.
Remember that water vapor you were exhaling? Well, a mask will catch some of the water vapor in the air when you breathe in. Not all of it, some of it. A mask is not a “magic shield”, it’s a “risk reducer”. In a pandemic, risk reduction is the name of the game. Everything you can do to reduce your risk makes you safer.
Multiple studies have conclusively shown that widespread masking by a population reduces the spread of the C-19 virus. The greater the percentage of people who mask, the slower the spread of the virus, and the fewer number of total infections there are. This is one of the rare times when helping yourself also helps the common good.
There isn’t any doubt about it, masking inhibits the spread of airborne viruses and C-19 is primarily spread through the air. Most of the people who get infected are going to get infected from breathing contaminated air, not from contaminated surfaces.
That doesn’t mean it cannot be spread through contaminated surfaces. Taking a sip of an infected person’s soda using the same straw is a really bad idea. Going to the store and rooting through the canned goods looking for the ones with the best expiration dates, also a bad idea. Getting infected fecal matter on your hands and then touching someone’s hands, or face, is a really good way to infect them, so another bad idea (anyone who doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom should not be allowed out in public). If you go around touching a lot of contaminated surfaces, and then put your fingers in your mouth, or rub your eyes, you will probably get infected.
Here’s the difference though, you have control over that. You can be conscious about the things you touch. You can be conscious about touching your face if you haven’t washed your hands. You can wash your hands frequently and use disinfecting wipes after touching surfaces in public spaces. You have control over your hands and you can learn to be careful.
You don’t have any control over the air you breathe. You cannot disinfect it before you breathe it into your lungs and you cannot wash out your lungs after a trip to the store. You don’t have to touch things when you are in public, but you always have to breathe.
In places where everyone is wearing a mask it is a certainty that the viral load in the air will be lower than in places where it’s, “freedom of choice” and lots of people are choosing to go maskless and practice “free breathing”. So, whether you don’t want to be infected, or you don’t want to infect anyone else, wearing a mask in public is the thing to do.
This cannot be something that everyone gets to decide for themselves and opt out of if they don’t like it. It doesn’t work if most of us don’t do it. Because if even a 10% of us don’t mask, the viral load in enclosed spaces will always be at risk of being high enough to be infectious. Like I said, it’s a paper mask, not a “talisman of protection from infection”. If you keep going into spaces where infectious people aren’t masking, eventually you will get get infected.
Exposure over time is how you get infected. Consider that, when you decide if you want go into the grocery store where people are refusing to wear a mask. Think about how it makes you feel when you see people trying to use their fake ADA “Excused from Masking Card”.
We need to do this together. It needs to be almost all of us. There are no valid reasons for not masking and many studies that show it will reduce the numbers of infections and deaths.
I hope this makes the choice clearer. We are all in this together and we need to help keep each other safe and healthy.