Musings on masks

Fake coronavirus claims in Japan halt trains and concerts - Nikkei ...

When I was in Japan and Korea, I noticed on subways and crowded city streets that some people wore masks. This is cultural thing. Japanese and Korean citizens respect the close quarters of their respective societies and wear masks when they are sick. I have seen photos that indicate the same occurs in China.

In the U.S. mask wearing in public is not typical. The fact that it is so pervasive at this time speaks to the irrational fear of this corona virus that has been stoked by the media and fueled by the lack of good, non-contradictory information regarding its communicability and lethality. I have several observations regarding the current widespread use of masks.

I see masks made of every possible material. Some are tight, some loose. Some are little more than bandanas, like something worn by a villain in a TV western. The effectiveness of filtration of these is unknown. The premise seems to be that any mask is better than none. Proof of this is sadly lacking despite all the videos of how far a sneeze will go. Is any mask better than simply covering your mouth and nose in the crook or your arm? Again, no one knows.  

Scott Promask FM3 Gas Mask -

The idea behind wearing masks is to slow the spread of the corona virus. Not even the most optimistic advocate of masks thinks it will stop it. The same with sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and the business lockdown.

I believe that masks are appropriate in certain specific situations. If you are sick and need to go out for essential things, such as food and other necessities, wearing a mask is reasonable. If you are, or believe yourself to be, especially vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus- respiratory failure or death- than wearing a mask makes sense, but only in certain situations where you might be exposed, such as crowded gatherings.

If you are going to wear a mask, you should observe some common sense rules, otherwise don’t bother.

  • Put your mask on only with clean hands
    • Make sure it covers your nose and mouth
    • Do not touch or adjust you mask unless your hands are clean
    • Discard your mask after every use. If it is not disposable, you should disinfect it between uses. Simply putting it on the dashboard of your car outdoors is probably as effective as any other means.

Wearing a mask outdoors or in your car is a waste of time. Even the most pessimistic experts agree that you will almost certainly not contract the corona virus outdoors. Wearing a mask while riding a bicycle or running is equally absurd. Wearing a mask when you are alone, such as in your car, is ridiculous.  

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I am afraid that, like the lockdown, mask wear has now become something other than what it was intended. In the beginning, it was pushed as a way to avoid contracting or passing on the virus. Now, it has become a symbol. Masks have become a way of distinguishing those who care about others and those who do not, those who follow the rules and those who flaunt them, those who support the government and its experts and those who do not. Many mask wearers, especially the young and healthy who wear them in ridiculous situations, such as walking outdoors, seem to be using masks as a way of “virtue signaling” that they are doing the right thing. Many people try to shame non-mask wearers by their reactions and comments. I see this daily.

If you are young and healthy, you have nothing to fear from this virus. Even if you are pretty old, if your health is good, you are probably safe, understanding that life itself is not “safe.” The oldest survivor of an actual Wuhan virus infection is 104! I am 67 and, I feel, in excellent health. I have not worn a mask since the start of the pandemic and do not plan to start now.

Masks are encouraged, but why won't some Americans wear them ...

One final thought: when will it be safe for us to discard our masks and go about our lives unfettered? No one knows. What we do know is that this virus is not going away anytime soon and if you truly believe wearing a mask everywhere will protect you, you will be doing this from now on. Good luck with that. I, for one, refuse to regard mask wear by healthy people as the “new normal.”

One Comment, RSS

  1. Ellen Wilcox

    I’m refusing to wear a mask anywhere or for any reason. I’ve been refused entry to one store, Babette’s, and glared at and actually chastised in other places.

    Thx for your comments on this subject!

    Have a good weekend! 😊❤️🇺🇸

    Ellen B Wilcox

    352-259-1547 – Fax 352-409-1618- Mobile

    Sent from my iPhone


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