Silver here. Claire encourages me to post on her blog from time to time.
I don’t wear masks when I’m out and about, unless I absolutely have to. More on why below. When I’m in the grocery store or gas station, I often get glares from people who do wear masks. Sooner or later some sanctimonious busybody will challenge me face to face. I don’t want to lose my temper so I’ve been rehearsing a little speech. Here it is:
I’m a scientist. I earned 3 degrees in the physical sciences from a prestigious university. I’ve published more than 30 papers in scientific and technical journals. I began reading medical journals 13 years ago. I am invited to sit on boards reviewing medical research grant proposals.
I’ve read several medical journal articles on the use of fabric face masks. The best study was published in 2011. It involved 16 hospitals that had specialized facilities for treating patients with highly infectious diseases. Over 1600 health care workers who treated patients in these special wards were followed for 30 days. They were divided into 3 groups: fabric masks, surgical masks, and no masks.
The no-mask group was free to wear a disposable surgical mask whenever necessary, but they did not wear them continuously as the surgical mask group did. The cloth mask users were instructed to wash their masks with soap and water every day.
They monitored these workers for respiratory illness, influenza-like illness, and laboratory confirmed respiratory virus infection.
The workers who wore cloth masks were 13 times as likely to become infected than the ones who wore surgical masks. Cloth masks users were roughly 7 times as likely to get an infection as those who wore no masks.
That’s why I don’t wear a mask.
End of speech.
The authors concluded that “the results caution against the use of cloth masks. … Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. … Cloth masks should not be recommended for Health Care Workers, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.”
This paper has been cited 13 times by other medical authors, and none of them disagreed or even strongly criticized the findings. This is the real deal, a large, randomized clinical trial, and the results are very strong.
The talking heads and politicians are constantly prattling about “It’s all about the data,” or “We must use science!” But they are ignoring data and science whenever it disproves their preconceived notions. This is the antithesis of science.
The same thing is happening with “social distancing.” I’m not aware of any quality research that supports the notion that staying 6 feet away from someone does any good at all. What little published literature there is suggests just the opposite – the virus can travel much greater distances. The paper I linked noted that “Laboratory tests showed the penetration of particles through the cloth masks to be very high (97%) compared with medical masks (44%) (used in trial) and 3M 9320 N95 (<0.01%), 3M Vflex 9105 N95 (0.1%).”
Fresh air and sunshine are good for people, and especially helpful against respiratory viruses. Yet politicians are destroying parks and forbidding people to exercise, play sports, or even relax on sunny beaches.
Locking down an entire planet flies in face of 475 years of epidemiology. John Snow, who is credited with stopping a cholera epidemic in nineteenth-century London by removing the pump handle from a contaminated well, must be spinning in his grave.
The “models” that were used to provoke these extreme responses have been proven wrong in every single aspect. Predictions for total infections, hospital admissions, ventilator use, and deaths have been 20 or 30 times higher than what has occurred. Yet these same models and the people who were so incredibly wrong before are still providing shrill, constantly shifting advice to politicians and MSM, who accept it without question and decree still more authoritarian responses.
Now I then I must don a mask, when a store decrees that everyone wear masks. Here’s what I wear:
The reaction is always positive. Laughter and compliments are common, and some people ask to take my picture.