Many people who know me know I have been a huge opponent of masks and mask mandates. Aside from the slippery slope of what the word “mandate” means in a free country, we live in a world where every decision we make has the power to bring an unintended consequence that can be dangerous, have long lasting impact or even be catastrophic. Yet, how many times have we asked one another to take responsibility for our daily decisions that could lead to unintended consequences?
If you were caught texting and driving, would you blame another person for your decision and then shame them? The intended consequence there could be a car accident. Someone could lose their life, but this decision is made every time by people from all walks of life, at every age level. Simply, because no one ever intends for the worse to happen.
How many times have you speed on rain-soaked roads to make up time lost to traffic? If you were caught, would you ask the driver in the car in front of you to take responsibility for your decision to go over the speed limit and then shame them for it? Here’s another example of an intended consequence that could have dangerous implications, long-lasting impacts and be catastrophic.
If your answer to the previous questions was no you wouldn’t blame another person for your own actions, then you are likely to understand when I say breathing fresh air is not something we should shame people for doing. And we shouldn’t make them responsible for someone else’s illness or health. That’s reprehensible.
Yes, some of my opposition to masks is belief is steeped in principals and the value I have for our freedoms as Americans.
From the beginning, the overuse of masks as a solution has created a division among people and turned common sense into nonsense. The prolonged use of masks to prevent illness has been misrepresented and only served to perpetuate fear for a virus that has a 99.9 percent recovery rate – without treatment.
My personal believes aside, there’s some thoughts on wearing masks from reputable sources:
The New England Journal of Medicine, April 1, 2020, “It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, but they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis.”
Also, from the New England Journal of Medicine “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.”
The World Health Organization (WHO):
"Advice to decision makers on the use of masks for healthy people in community settings. As described above, the wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risks."
“Medical masks should be reserved for health care workers. The use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing and may lead to touching the face under the masks and under the eyes, result in unnecessary costs, and take masks away from those in healthcare who need them most, especially when masks are in short supply.”
“Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.: WHO acknowledges that most people do not use masks properly.
On Jan. 31, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, “We don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory illness, and we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus. "
In March 5, 2019 regarding the flu: “Masks are not usually recommended in nonhealthcare settings; however, this guidance provides other strategies for limiting the spread of influenza viruses in the community: • cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, • use tissues to contain respiratory secretions and, after use, to dispose of them in the nearest waste receptacle, and • perform hand hygiene (e.g., handwashing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, and alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.