Post #590: Fourth mask-oriented post: Failure to wear masks outside the home is “The big mistake”

Posted on March 31, 2020

Source:  None.  Nobody has them in stock, so don’t even bother looking.  And you shouldn’t buy them even if you could find them.  Image souce is  This is a 3M Aseptex mask.

The idea of public mask use whenever you are outside the home is now getting considerable press coverage.  The best article I have seen so far is in Wired.  Three days ago, the director of the Chinese CDC was reported to have characterized, in an interview, the lack of public mask use as “the big mistake in the U.S. … “. 

That’s the director, of the Chinese CDC.  “The big mistake.”  I’d say that’s worth quoting in full:

Q: What mistakes are other countries making? 

A: The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.

Source:  Science, the magazine of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

So, wear ’em if you got ’em.

And note that the Chinese wear masks to protect others, not themselves.  Near as I can tell, there has never been a single piece of research in the US that tests that concept.  Our research is all about whether a mask protects the wearer.

So if that’s what masks are for, the US CDC has, more or less, zero evidence basis behind its current recommendation. And so, you may feel free to ignore the CDC, in this one regard.  I think.

This post was supposed to be about making masks, but it’s taking me some time to get that done right.  Surely, at this point, the US CDC is going to change its mind about public guidance on masks.  At that point, you’re going to want everyone to have and wear one.  And even if the CDC won’t change its mind, wear one anyway.

Masks won’t solve our problems.  But they’ll help, some.  And, it appears that there are plenty of places to buy masks (just not good ones), and plenty of plans for making masks.  I  don’t think there’s any further excuse for not making this the law.