The power of masks


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  20 comments

The power of masks
While researchers at the University of Washington now predict that the U.S. could reach 180,000 COVID-19 deaths by October, they say we could prevent 33,000 of these deaths if at least 95% of people wore masks. That’s right. We can avert the deaths of 33,000 of our parents, grandparents, siblings, co-workers, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, and store workers by just sticking a $1 piece of cloth over our noses and mouths.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The power of masks

JUL 10, 2020   3 MINUTES

By Gavin Yamey

The View is reported by Mariah Espada, Anna Purna Kambhampaty and Madeline Roache


A t long last, we have made a truly game-changing scientific breakthrough in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We have found a disease-control tool that, when used properly, can reduce transmission by somewhere between 50% and 85%. The tool is cheap and remarkably low-tech. You can even make one at home.

If this tool were a vaccine or a medicine, we’d be high-fiving one another and popping the champagne, knowing we’d discovered a crucial means to help prevent the spread of the pandemic.

I’m talking, of course, about face masks. Face masks block the spread of respiratory droplets that can carry the novel coronavirus. But just as with so many other aspects of the response to COVID-19—including mass testing, contact tracing and the early use of stay-at-home orders—the U.S. is once again squandering this opportunity.

In many countries that have so far successfully controlled their COVID-19 epidemics, health experts, politicians and the public have fully embraced the use of face masks without controversy. A recent study found that nations—like Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam—where masks were widely used soon after their COVID-19 outbreaks began were more likely to keep death rates low (fewer than six deaths per million people) and to have shorter outbreaks.

YET IN THE U.S.,   where the death rate from COVID-19 is now 394 per million people, face masks have been weaponized for partisan purposes. Taking their cues from President Trump, who has refused to appear on camera wearing a face mask and has said Americans who wear masks are doing so to show their disapproval of him, many of his supporters now see wearing a face mask as an affront to personal liberty.

As a result of this alarming polarization, only 23 states and the District of Columbia are mandating face masks in public. Only four—Massachusetts, Maryland, Texas and West Virginia—have GOP governors. Some Republican-led states are trying to subvert local measures that require masks.

Rejecting face masks inevitably means embracing more COVID-19 cases and deaths. One U.S. study found that states with mask mandates had more rapid declines in daily growth rates of COVID-19, and estimated that mask use had prevented up to 450,000 cases by May 22. While researchers at the University of Washington now predict that the U.S. could reach 180,000 COVID-19 deaths by October, they say we could prevent 33,000 of these deaths if at least 95% of people wore masks.

That’s right. We can avert the deaths of 33,000 of our parents, grandparents, siblings, co-workers, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, and store workers by just sticking a $1 piece of cloth over our noses and mouths.

So what’s stopping us? One problem is the “me first” culture in the U.S., in which anti-maskers claim that their right to go around unmasked in public matters more than saving lives. What they don’t seem to get is that while masks may protect the wearer, the more important reason to wear them is to protect others. What’s more, the higher the proportion of people who wear masks, the lower the risk that the coronavirus will spread through the community, akin to herd immunity after vaccination.

This is why it is so important for governments to issue and enforce mask mandates. COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in 40 states, according to the Associated Press—and are growing exponentially in states like Arizona, Texas and Florida that acted too quickly to reopen businesses. The only way to control the dramatic rise in these hard-hit states will be to reinstate lockdowns and mandatory social distancing. Mass masking isn’t the way to end a huge surge in COVID-19. Instead, it is one of the ways that we can help avoid repeated cycles of surge, lockdown and release.

There is plenty of evidence from countries around the world that widespread mask wearing—in combination with social distancing, handwashing and track-and-trace testing—will allow us to more safely do the things we so desperately want and need to do: go back to work, reopen schools, see friends and family, and rebuild our economy.

Wearing a face mask is not a sign of weakness. It is an act of solidarity, an expression that all of us—Democrats, Republicans and independents—have a role to play in defeating one of the greatest challenges we have faced in our lifetimes.

Yamey is a physician and professor of global health and public policy at Duke University


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

I see this gradually changing in favor of more and more people wearing masks. The hesitancy and obstinance will be worn down by reality. 

1.1  Kavika   replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

But I have my rights a common refrain from the ignorant. 

It may be by the time the majority of people are wearing masks the loss of the ignorant will increase the average IQ across the U.S. 

1.1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @1.1    3 weeks ago

I've heard the same thing time and again...... "I have my rights!"

Then help help to preserve those rights by fighting to preserve the country that provides them to you.... by wearing a simple mask.

1.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

I've noticed that large corporations like Walmart and Target are showing leadership in this area that the WH is negligent on with respect to masks.  They understand that their financial health is dependent on America's physical health.

Trout Giggles
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.2    3 weeks ago

Kroger just jumped on the bandwagon. I would have thought Kroger would have required mask before Walmart.

1.2.2  loki12  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.2    3 weeks ago
Walmart and Target are showing leadership

Good job Target!  Fucking morons.


Greg Jones
1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

If wearing a mask makes you feel secure and safe in addition to being a good person....go for it

1.3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @1.3    3 weeks ago

What does wearing a mask make you feel like? 

Vic Eldred
1.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

Researchers at Washington University say that masks are that beneficial?   Then why did America's leading expert tell us on Feb 14th, right at the beginning, that “There is no reason for anyone right now in the United States, with regard to coronavirus, to wear a mask” ?

Buzz of the Orient
1.4.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.4    3 weeks ago

Seems to me that your "leading expert" must have thought that it would be beneficial to "reduce the excess population".  But didn't your "leading expert" eventually change his mind?  

Vic Eldred
1.4.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.4.1    3 weeks ago

You don't seem to know who I'm talking about

Buzz of the Orient
1.4.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.4.2    2 weeks ago

I thought you meant Dr. Fauci.  I'm sorry if I was wrong - I'm guess you thought I meant the man who can do not wrong, the annointed one. 

2  MUVA    3 weeks ago

Fuck masks and the people who blather endlessly about them . I do wear one when going into stores that require them but don't fell the need to find another reason to be self righteous. 

Buzz of the Orient
4  Buzz of the Orient    3 weeks ago

As you can see, John, "I have my rights" and "me first" exists even right here on NT.  Where I live, EVERBODY wore masks, EVERYBODY obeyed the lockdown protocol, EVERYBODY kept social distance, EVERYBODY did the alcohol hand wash routine.  Today, EVERYTHING is back to normal - ALL stores, restaurants, and schools are open and operating the same as they did a year ago - no mask policy is necessary.  

4.1  bccrane  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    3 weeks ago

Well it looks as though the virus isn't going away in the rest of the world, so is China going to go the isolationist route?  Say you wish to visit, you name it, any other country, will China let you back in?  Will anyone be able to leave China that, by necessity, need to come back, will they be let back in?

An interesting bit of information was said yesterday morning on CBS by their medical expert Dr. Agus, he stated that, paraphrasing, "There's not been one recorded case of reinfection to date", so since this began Nov. 2019 and this is Jul. 2020 about 9 months, we've been fed this story that you can get it again because natural immunity lasts 3 to 6 months and the vaccine will last longer, according to this this is another BS moment, because according to the experts the people with the worst possible immune systems should be recording reinfections by now.  Of course he had to reenter the fear factor again and said that any reinfection will be worse than the original infection, how does he know no one has been reinfected yet.

4.1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  bccrane @4.1    3 weeks ago
I think more pragmatic...."wait and see" approach by the general population would be prudent.
Till then..... wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands..... and above all.... think about how to do things safely.

Buzz of the Orient
4.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  bccrane @4.1    2 weeks ago

I don't know if I'm able to answer your questions, but since China does report the odd new cases that come up even to this day, they separately count the "domestic" and the "imported" cases, which could mean that the "imported" cases identify persons arriving in China from elsewhere.  

I know nothing about "reinfection". 

charger 383
5  charger 383    3 weeks ago

It seems most people who want to have freedom of choice on masks are against abortion and many that want to make people wear masks support choice on abortion,  This is a very strange contradiction.    

5.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  charger 383 @5    3 weeks ago

It is a strange contradiction for sure Charger...... What if everyone would put the health of America and the economy first?  Think that would gain any traction with the masses?

5.2  MUVA  replied to  charger 383 @5    3 weeks ago

Just think people that have no problem killing unborn humans by the millions want others to wear a mask so they don’t die.


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