To mask or not to mask.... here is some of the answer.....

@Richard Hubbard, in letter to editor wrote:

Mask wearing a placebo

Recently, opinion columns and letter writers have espoused on the medical benefits of wearing masks and the science supporting it without ever providing that science so I decided to do it. Listed below are the periodical, date, title and quote lifted from the findings.


New England Journal of Medicine, May 21, 2020, Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. The desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

Science Direct, Vol. 20, Sept. 2017, Effectiveness of personal protective measures in reducing pandemic influenza transmission, “Facemark use provided a non-significant protective effect.”

Annals of Internal Medicine, July 7, 2020, Effectiveness of Surgical and Cotton Masks in Blocking SARS-CoV-2, “Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2.”

British Medical Journal, 2015, A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers, “Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%. This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and caution against their use.”

Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, Aug 17, 2016, Evaluating the Efficacy of Cloth Facemarks in Reducing particulate exposure, “Cloth masks are only marginally beneficial. Compared with cloth masks, disposable surgical masks are more effective in reducing particulate exposure.”

CDC, Volume 26 No. 5 May 2020, Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Non-healthcare Settings-PPE Measures, “In pooled analysis we found no significant reduction influenza transmission with the use of face masks."

Thus the wearing of face masks (other than N95 and above) is mere placebo. Local citizens forced to wear masks by their employers should be aware that these masks have not been tested nor certified by OSHA as safe and effective. Masks can cause hypoxia, hypercapnia, impair one’s immunity, trap viruses in the respiratory tract and/or in one’s nasal passages which could then enter the brain via olfactory nerves. Employers are legally liable for any employee illness caused by the wearing of masks as well as the UW being legally liable for any student illness attributable to masks.
__________________________________________________
Okay, then. This is my new little project: to find the articles and find out what I think of all this.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus

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Do you have a link for us, Shopetal? Just wanting to make sure the quote isn't from Alex Jones' website or something like that. grinning smiley
I can provide a link. Keep in mind that this is a letter to the editor. Please scroll down to the Hubbard letter...

[www.laramieboomerang.com]

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
And here is what the study authors have to say about the out of context use of their quote: [www.usatoday.com]
Mask simulations I've seen show a major reduction of the water droplets coming from our mouths when worn. Without them, a cough's droplets could spread 12 feet pretty easily.

Better masks contain more. I'm not sure if masks (even the best ones) contain 100% of virus/water droplet particles. But, for sure, they help and sometimes help a lot.

If viral load theory is correct, then even being exposed to less COVID particles is "helpful." A lot of healthy young people have died - including medical workers. I often wonder if it is due to viral load, as medical people are around the sick all day and night and younger people who may be out, having fun, and not wearing masks in close quarters with many people may be picking up lots more COVID particles than others.
I think that this virus is fascinating (with the same kind of fascination as road kill) because of its diverse manifestations. Tom Hanks was on a late night talk show and mentioned that when he and his wife got it in Australia, he had the fever and joint/bone pain while she got the headache, nausea and loss of senses of taste and smell. Certainly different manifestations! More questions than answers.

One hospital is reporting that treating the lung issues with drugs designed for cystic fibrosis is being helpful, other hospitals are coming up with other drugs, drug combos and equipment. Folks found positive but asymptomatic--is there damage going on that is not currently causing system collapse such that medical intervention is needed or are they just on 'pause' awaiting a virus load adequate to be really sick or is their body building immunity fast enough to counter the virus? There are years of doctoral dissertations and medical journal articles as the scientific and medical communities figure this one out!

We have good indicators of how the virus is spread. We know that personal hygiene and social distancing are part of the safety equation. We also know that masks play a role in the whole protection scheme. I wear a mask primarily to protect myself. That means I must wear it properly, keep it clean and sanitized and let it dry thoroughly between uses. If I can stay well I cannot infect others. A byproduct of my mask wearing is the protection of others in case I am an asymptomatic carrier. Once we have vaccine protection from this virus and can go about freely without masks I will not be patronizing businesses that during this time have been unwilling to keep their customers safe by requiring masks. I also will not be voting for politicians who were unwilling to establish community protections to keep their constituents safe.
@Flash wrote:

Once we have vaccine protection from this virus and can go about freely without masks I will not be patronizing businesses that during this time have been unwilling to keep their customers safe by requiring masks. I also will not be voting for politicians who were unwilling to establish community protections to keep their constituents safe
100% the same on both politics and business patronage.

I also never want to move to Texas, Arizona, or Florida. grinning smiley
I don't give a damn about politician and business choices regarding masks. Those people have the right to choose to mandate, suggest, pull a 'no mask, no service', or anything they want to do about masks. However, I am interested in what they do otherwise. Those issues could fill other threads and probably belong on other forums altogether.

My mask concerns are personal and practical. I dislike how the mask feels around my ears because I wear glasses and the ear pieces are not compatible with anything else. I do not like the masks that tie, and just now I would not be able to tie/untie one due to an injury. I cannot breathe deeply when I am wearing a mask. Masks are expensive relative to my budget (which was planned before covid-19 came on the scene). I am not a front line medical worker, so I have to supply my own masks. Medical workers earn big bucks compared to me and someone else (I and other taxpayers) will pay directly or indirectly for their PPE. I earn small potatoes compared to the lowest paid medical worker and have to pay for my own PPE. I go to few places now, and I do not stay indoors at any public place for long periods of time.

One of the problems with mask mandates is that we generally seem to omit practical exclusions. People are not required to wear masks when exercising outdoors, brushing their teeth, taking a shower, sleeping, and in other situations. Where has anyone plainly stated that masks have a limited usefulness due to common daily actions and this is not at all a bad thing? There is such an uproar about mandating masks for a few situations that common sense seems to have been gagged and blindfolded...

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 12:04AM by Shop-et-al.
@Shop-et-al wrote:


My mask concerns are personal and practical. I dislike how the mask feels around my ears because I wear glasses and the ear pieces are not compatible with anything else.

Gosh golly. I and hundreds of millions of other people wear glasses and somehow manage to wear masks, whether they are put on before or after glasses. In fact, glasses add to your self protection because they also cover your eyes. My only issue with glasses and a mask is that with one pair of my glasses that are too loose, they tend to slide off over the mask on the nose.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

I cannot breathe deeply when I am wearing a mask.

Breathing with a mask is difficult for everyone. My doc and I were making snide remarks about masks and he confessed that 40+ hours a week of seeing patients per week plus the hours of other activities outside the home make him VERY tired of breathing impairment due to wearing masks. Yet he does it for the safety of his patients and staff, his family, his friends, for strangers and for himself.

I have COPD and when mask breathing becomes too difficult, I find some place indoors or outdoors where it is safe to me and others to crack the side of the mask for more air before I pass out.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Masks are expensive relative to my budget (which was planned before covid-19 came on the scene).

While masks were expensive a few months ago, they are not now. They do not have to be medical grade to get 90% or more of the job done. If you are feeling unimaginative and destitute, stop by your police department or fire department and ask for a mask. Here many places that require masks will provide you with one if you ask. Masks can be reused. I use a disposable one until it gets disgustingly dirty looking. That generally seems to be about 20 outings. I spray alcohol on it to disinfect it and let it thoroughly dry before re-use. Price at this point is a truly lame excuse.

You talk about needing a nail service. A mask is less than 10% of the cost of a nail service around here. The bill for hospitalization for COVID was a bit of a surprise to an uninsured recently released survivor at over half a million dollars.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 02:21AM by Flash.
I hold my breath when passing someone, even if we are both properly masked, until I'm out of their air space. In my head I see a big, ugly cloud of funk surrounding the other person. Like that episode of Spongebob where Patrick ate the oyster skins and had that evil, bad breath cloud that was knocking everybody out.

sestrahelena
Me, too! Mask, eyeglasses often fogged, distancing, breath holding. Additionally, I turn my back on anyone trespassing into my space. I also have no problem telling trespassers to back off.
I also find it sadly amusing when there is a huge sign (or many of them) on the entrance to an establishment that masks are required to enter (with lots of, "!!!"winking smiley, Yet inside about half the people are masked, including employees. Half of the maskers have their noses uncovered. The employees I can understand. They're probably angry at having to work for near minimum wage and figure, "If I'm gonna get sick from one of you, I'm gonna pass it on to the rest of you!" Makes sense. I would probably feel that way if I was them.

That smiley face is supposed to end parenthesis...)

sestrahelena


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 03:13AM by sestrahelena.
Anyway, masks are trivial. What is truly important is that the ROSE GARDEN is getting an overhaul! Priorities, you know. Any day now our worries will be gone because everything will be coming up roses. What a relief. And yes, I feel snarky.

sestrahelena
@sestrahelena wrote:

I also find it sadly amusing when there is a huge sign (or many of them) on the entrance to an establishment that masks are required to enter (with lots of, "!!!"winking smiley, Yet inside about half the people are masked, including employees. Half of the maskers have their noses uncovered. The employees I can understand. They're probably angry at having to work for near minimum wage and figure, "If I'm gonna get sick from one of you, I'm gonna pass it on to the rest of you!" Makes sense. I would probably feel that way if I was them.
I might have COVID brain in thinking this, but I am suspecting some people are intentionally spreading COVID. Throw tomatoes at me if you want, but there have been people at Costco who have their masks down and phone in hand and walk ALL OVER the store talking.

They know Costco has a strict mask policy. They probably know they shouldn't be doing this. If you gotta talk, talk OUTSIDE. I worry that the U.S. mishandling of COVID and its economic effects may be leading some to think the faster we get everyone infected, the faster we get back to business as usual. This is wrong thinking on many levels, but I suspect some think this way.

People cannot find jobs right now. Sarah Bloom Raskin (former Federal Reserve Governor) was on CNBC two days ago saying that of the 30 million unemployed (not counting PUA), there are only 5 million job openings. Even people who want to work cannot find it: [www.youtube.com]

Maybe some bitter store workers are intentionally wearing their masks improperly. Maybe some people are purposely spreading COVID with false thinking it will speed up the economic recovery back to 2019 levels. Maybe I have COVID brain and am not thinking properly. winking smiley

@ wrote:

That smiley face is supposed to end parenthesis...)
haha. That always happens to me. I have to put an extra space after the end quote mark and end parenthesis for it to show properly.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 07:19AM by shoptastic.
@Flash wrote:

I spray alcohol on it to disinfect it and let it thoroughly dry before re-use.
Alcohol is so hard to find locally.

I conserve what little I have left. It's always out-of-stock, while bleach is readily available now in my area.

With that said, Flash, I would be careful the rubbing alcohol does not degrade, warp, or dissolve the mask in some way - thereby, making it less effective.
It'd be interesting to compile a list of companies' mask policies. Walmart "requires" one, but won't enforce it:
[www.businessinsider.com]

Some critics say that is the same is not having one. smiling smiley Although, they cite the reason as wanting to avoid staff confrontation with non-compliant people.
~ I HAD THE COVID-19 VIRUS in early April, spent some time in the hospital, and am still feeling the effects. I would not wish it on anyone; and it's not conclusive yet whether I can get it again or not. I have asthma and yet still manage to wear a mask, although it is very hard to breathe with it on. Like Flash, I find a place away from other people so I can lift a corner to catch a breath, then soldier on. I also wear glasses and it may not be comfortable, but it is safer for others (and for me) to wear a mask, so I act like an adult and wear one the minute I step out my door until I get home. Homemade cloth masks are inexpensive ($5 online, and sometimes free, as one of our neighbors so nicely offered to do for the locals) and they can be WASHED IN HOT WATER, dried, and REUSED. There is NO REASON FOR ANYONE NOT TO WEAR A MASK. Please, for everyone's sake, buck up, stop whining, and wear a mask.


***** WHAT FLASH SAID IS WORTH REPEATING:

"Gosh golly. I and hundreds of millions of other people wear glasses and somehow manage to wear masks, whether they are put on before or after glasses. In fact, glasses add to your self protection because they also cover your eyes. My only issue with glasses and a mask is that with one pair of my glasses that are too loose, they tend to slide off over the mask on the nose.

Breathing with a mask is difficult for everyone. My doc and I were making snide remarks about masks and he confessed that 40+ hours a week of seeing patients per week plus the hours of other activities outside the home make him VERY tired of breathing impairment due to wearing masks. Yet he does it for the safety of his patients and staff, his family, his friends, for strangers and for himself.

I have COPD and when mask breathing becomes too difficult, I find some place indoors or outdoors where it is safe to me and others to crack the side of the mask for more air before I pass out.

While masks were expensive a few months ago, they are not now. They do not have to be medical grade to get 90% or more of the job done. If you are feeling unimaginative and destitute, stop by your police department or fire department and ask for a mask. Here many places that require masks will provide you with one if you ask. Masks can be reused. I use a disposable one until it gets disgustingly dirty looking. That generally seems to be about 20 outings. I spray alcohol on it to disinfect it and let it thoroughly dry before re-use. Price at this point is a truly lame excuse.

You talk about needing a nail service. A mask is less than 10% of the cost of a nail service around here. The bill for hospitalization for COVID was a bit of a surprise to an uninsured recently released survivor at over half a million dollars."

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 02:33PM by pegc.
While a large part of the mask discussion has been about personal rights and community obligation, short term financial consequences to opening or not opening the economy and effectiveness of masks, we are sort of missing the long term impact.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed the GOP has been trying to gut it. The most recent round is declaring that it is unconstitutional because it is not REQUIRED of every American. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear those arguments in the fall. Should they declare it unconstitutional, the protections of the act are lost. Lifetime and annual maximum coverages could be reinstated by insurance companies, coverage of young adults under their parents' plan ends, cost sharing for preventive services under employer and Medicare plans get re-established, costs to Medicare and Medicaid get revamped.

Lets look at the uninsured COVID survivor who was presented with a hospital bill for half a million dollars. If he/she is living paycheck to paycheck there is no way they will pay off that bill in their lifetime. Roughly 2/3 of US personal bankruptcies are due at least in part to medical bills. Most folks do not take bankruptcy lightly as they really would prefer to pay their bills and get on with their lives.

Hospitals have a mandate to care for anyone in an emergency situation. Our hospitals are currently full but not with the elective surgeries that normally cover their expenses. Each COVID case coming through their doors needing hospitalization is a potential loss to them if the patient has no insurance. While the cost of care is routinely negotiated down by insurance companies and Medicare, a half million dollar bill is still going to be about 25% of that in real hospital cost. The hospitals' choice will need to be to increase costs of services to recover their losses and that will raise the cost of insurance. If the federal government steps in to help with the hospital's costs, then it is a cost to all taxpayers.

According to the Census, in 2017 84.6% of the uninsured in the US were between the ages of 19 and 64. More were male than female (despite there being more females in the population). 1 in 4 were between the ages of 26 and 34 while 1 in 5 were between 34 and 44. The Census found this group included a disproportionate number of folks with less than a high school education and/or were in economic poverty and in the South. In other words, the blue collar folks I see not wearing masks.

[www.census.gov]
@Flash wrote:

Hospitals have a mandate to care for anyone in an emergency situation. Our hospitals are currently full but not with the elective surgeries that normally cover their expenses. Each COVID case coming through their doors needing hospitalization is a potential loss to them if the patient has no insurance. While the cost of care is routinely negotiated down by insurance companies and Medicare, a half million dollar bill is still going to be about 25% of that in real hospital cost. The hospitals' choice will need to be to increase costs of services to recover their losses and that will raise the cost of insurance. If the federal government steps in to help with the hospital's costs, then it is a cost to all taxpayers.
If a person WITH insurance or Medicare is going to have to pay $100,000 or so in medical bills from COVID, that's going to mean most people are screwed!

I'd rather they just let me die in a hospital.
Most health insurance plans have a 'Maximum Out of Pocket' or MOOP. So an insurance plan may have a $3000 deductible, which means you pay the first $3000 of charges and then a $9000 MOOP. Simplistically, you get a $500,000 hospital bill. The insurance deals with the bill, applying their negotiated prices and the bill ends up at $100,000. You pay $9000, which is your MOOP. On the other hand, you get a bill for $20,000 from the hospital and the insurance reduce it to their negotiated $4000. You pay $3000 if you have had no earlier expenses during the calendar year.

My Medicare Advantage plan has no deductible but rather charges co-pays. My co-pay for the hospital is $175 per day for each of the first seven days I am there on an incident. After that I have no further co-pay for the incident. This does not matter whether I went in for elective surgery or for an emergency. My MOOP for the year is $3,400. Outside of a hospitalization I need to pay co-pays for my medications with the standard Medicare drug handling with the 'donut hole'.
@Flash wrote:

Most health insurance plans have a 'Maximum Out of Pocket' or MOOP. So an insurance plan may have a $3000 deductible, which means you pay the first $3000 of charges and then a $9000 MOOP. Simplistically, you get a $500,000 hospital bill. The insurance deals with the bill, applying their negotiated prices and the bill ends up at $100,000. You pay $9000, which is your MOOP. On the other hand, you get a bill for $20,000 from the hospital and the insurance reduce it to their negotiated $4000. You pay $3000 if you have had no earlier expenses during the calendar year.

My Medicare Advantage plan has no deductible but rather charges co-pays. My co-pay for the hospital is $175 per day for each of the first seven days I am there on an incident. After that I have no further co-pay for the incident. This does not matter whether I went in for elective surgery or for an emergency. My MOOP for the year is $3,400. Outside of a hospitalization I need to pay co-pays for my medications with the standard Medicare drug handling with the 'donut hole'.
Yeah, that is what I was thinking, but wasn't sure if I was missing something where your insurance just wouldn't cover something like a COVID hospitalization costing hundreds of thousands.

$10,000 is do-able for most people, even if paid off over time. $100,000 is not do-able and I would rather die. smiling smiley
Any idea if hospitals are getting reimbursed by government for COVID charges like these?

I haven't kept up with the rules and subsidies from CARES concerning this. My hope is that this pandemic's medical costs are covered in the end by government (i.e., us tax payers) such that no one is walking around with $100,000 bills. It was not only no one's fault, but our government has grossly mishandled the whole thing!
Healthcare in America, as Warren Buffett has said, is a tapeworm on the American economy. It is 18% of a person's budget vs. something like 5% in the past.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 08:42PM by shoptastic.
It could have been titled Unaffordable to get Sick in America.

70 years ago when I was a kid a doctor's visit was $10 to $15 depending on how much of the doc's time and materials were needed. When we were sick the doc even made house calls. You didn't really need health insurance, though it was nice if you had it. The price of ground beef was usually 3 lb for $1 and a loaf of bread 10-12 cents.

Fast forward and last year I saw a dermatologist bill sent to my insurance for $750 for the 15 minutes of the doc's time I got and then a flurry of other little charges I sure could not identify as goods or services used during the visit. Total bill over $1000. Insurance whacked back the doc fee to $150 and the little flurry of other stuff was disallowed. I paid my $30 copay and insurance paid $120.

I think of the insurance negotiated price as the 'fair market value' of the visit and the rise in 70 years is in line with the overall cost of living. What the doc billed out is why you need insurance and the Affordable Care Act philosophy was that if everyone was covered we all would get 'fair market value' and not deal with a two tier system of charges. For those who can not or could not afford health care there would be government assistance through subsidy or Medicaid. Certainly seemed more reasonable than just providing Medicaid, which many doctors won't take because their clientele then can't afford the meds to actually get better.
Oh, and by the way . . . during the years I worked I contributed towards my Medicare Part A, which is hospitalization. Part B, which covers doctor visits and medical equipment, costs me close to $150 per month. Medications are then Part D which is mandatory and either paid as supplements or through an Advantage plan.

When folks talk about a 'right' to health care they are usually talking about an 'entitlement' to free health care. My $150 per month for Medicare Part B is only for one person and my Part A I have in theory paid for through payroll taxes all my working life. Many retirees buy supplemental insurance to cover their mandatory Part D and to cushion them against charges Medicare does not cover as it was never intended to cover 100% of medical expenses. If we have a "Medicare for All" plan it is not unlikely that it would cost $150 per person per month or more.
Interesting posts here. A few comments might need clarificiation:

1. I go to few places now, and I stay in each one for a short period of time. This makes me mask-compliant, other-respecting, and self-respecting. I use fewer masks and over time will spend less for them. No sane person has a reasonable complaint about that. I still think it unfair that I pay for mine and, via taxes that I pay, masks for other people who earn more money than I do.
2. I continue to avoid all salons. Mind you, the world is a much more hideous place because of this, but the anti-me's should be pleased. Shamers should have a field day, bwahaha!!!!! grinning smiley
3. Why should the rose garden at the White House be ridiculed? There is no reason to drop the care of the nation's landscaping because of covid-19. In fact, there are established health and wellness reasons for people to continue with gardening, enjoying flowers and other aspects of nature. Some of the talented gardeners (master gardeners?) here might share their economic and pleasure reasons for growing things. smiling smiley

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2020 11:14PM by Shop-et-al.
I saw that one coming! If I were a betting person, I'd have won big bucks.

sestrahelena
@sestrahelena wrote:

I saw that one coming! If I were a betting person, I'd have won big bucks.

I don't think anyone would have been dumb enough to bet against....

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
It is a good thing that you are here and not in workplaces, where hostility leads to costly lawsuits.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
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