Saturday, May 16, 2020

In Which I Am Once Again Cranky, Now About Masks

Before I descend into snark, here's what I think SHOULD happen: Congress or the president should invoke the DPA or a new cousin; masks should be widely distributed for free; adaptive masking should be available for persons with disabilities; stores, schools, and buildings of all kinds should require mask wearing, enforce it, and hand them out to anyone not wearing one.

Moving on!

Today I went to the store and dutifully put my mask on. About 15 minutes later I took it off. Why? I was starting to feel woozy; I probably already had coronavirus (I will get an antibody test as soon as someone can manage a clinically relevant level of accuracy); and less than 30% of the people in the store were wearing masks.

Masks are a nonpharmaceutical intervention to slow- not stop - viral spread. There are all kinds of modeling studies out now about how good a mask has to be and how many people have to wear one to make it effective. Friends, I assure you that when the second number is 30%, the effectiveness is near zero.

Monday I will call the governor's office and encourage them to institute mandatory masking indoors (outdoors is likely okay if you're not around others! Also I live somewhere with 68,000 square meters per human inhabitant [which is 16 acres], so don't envision a NYC street here.)

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