Saturday, January 30, 2021

Masks: Why Not?

An alert reader of my last post (Mask Required to Enter, 1/27/2021) took issue with my puzzlement and, yes, objection to donning a face mask to enter my favorite bagel bistro the other day. Management had suddenly reverted to a mask requirement for all patrons with no explanation given. 

The reader seemed to not understand why I resisted wearing the cotton face covering that fogs my glasses, decreases my oxygen intake, and makes it harder to make myself heard and understood. I failed to mention that I have had the virus recently and cannot give it to anyone. I also failed to quote the numerous scientific studies and statements that found that cloth masks fail miserably at protecting their wearers from breathing in Covid-19 airborne droplets, which are very small indeed at less than 5 microns (with a micron, even on his tiptoes, measuring only one-thousandth of a millimeter). In fact, experts say that masks often lead to a false sense of protection that interferes with the user taking truly effective precautions against contracting the virus, namely, frequent hand washing and standing at least six feet from people.

The New England Journal of Medicine  in May 2020 summed up the situation this way:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. [Emphasis added]

The authors admitted that the greater role of the mask might be as a "talisman," reminding others that a contagious disease was afoot. But I think we all know that by now.

Speaking of The Science, Dr. Simone Gold, an emergency room physician with America's Frontline Doctors, delivered an intriguing address on January 14 of this year titled The Truth About the COVID-19 Vaccine (and a few other things virus-related). This is thought-provoking stuff that will be of special value to those who are considering taking the experimental vaccine. 

To your health!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Mask Required to Enter

I was really looking forward to a fresh bagel and coffee around lunchtime today as my husband and I headed for our favorite bagel bistro, the one we pop into twice a week. We pulled open the door as we chattered together and got in line, socially distanced. The cashier up front started saying something to us. She pointed to the door. It took us a minute to understand that she was telling us we now needed a mask to enter their establishment. See sign on door.

 Why? we asked. What changed? We had been coming in for months without a mask, as had a number of other customers, after the local government dropped the mask requirement. Has there been some huge, deadly COVID spike we didn't know about? Was there a new mask edict from the authorities?

Turns out nothing had changed--or so we were told. It's just a small restaurant, so we need to be careful, the staff said. At home I checked the latest stats on the Florida Department of Health web site. Nope, no spike. And the virus has gotten less deadly: If you contract the virus, the chance of dying from it back in October was 2%, while now it is 1.5%. 

So what's going on? Maybe some frightened customer gave the bagel makers holy hell for endangering the public's lives by not mandating masks in their business. He might even have threatened to sue if he came down with the virus after enjoying his spinach-tomato bagel. (We have encountered such zealots. Shortly before Christmas, in a grocery store checkout line, a grizzled man in a Santa hat told us we were going to burn in hell for not wearing masks, even though we explained that we'd had the virus and could not give it to anyone.) 

Maybe someone in the bagel shop tested positive in the four days since we'd been there, and management figured this called for "masking up." Or is it just the Biden-Fauci effect, in which masks--even double masks--are being encouraged and even demanded even in the most non-threatening settings?

I only know that I did not get my bagel or coffee. My husband turned on his heel and I followed him out. The day had just gotten a lot darker.