Tuesday, July 06, 2021

A Grumpy Confidential

 to at least three parents I know here:

EITHER in person school is unbearably dangerous and your child may not play cards indoors with my vaccinated child, OR sleep away summer camp is fine and an acceptable risk. You must pick one and ONLY one.

I don't give a toss what your personal risk calculation looks like, but if you insist that objectively risky things are fine because you really, really want to do them, I have no respect for you and think you're a stupid hypocrite. 

P.S. Cloth masks are SUPER ineffective if unvaccinated people aren't bothering to wear them, so it's adorable that these same people think they will make all the difference for their vaccinated selves. Sure! It'll take 4 times as many exposures to get sick. See also: Everyone Will Get The Plague Eventually, If You're Vaccinated You'll Most Likely Be Fine. 

(N&M point out that some cloth masks are effective - true! I just bought some fancy ones from Cambridge Masks for a flight!-  but if you're in Wal-Mart with your 9 year old in a stretchy underwear looking mask, among the hard-core antivaxxers, that kind is Not Effective Enough. This is what I see among the academics here - a disconnect between their freaking out and their actions.)


  1. I'm not getting that cloth masks are super ineffective from that linked article. Just that fit is very important (which I think we knew?).

    We don't have an option to keep my unvaccinated kid home from school in the fall and the state says public school is not allowed to have mask mandates. We do have children's KN95s but it's still impossible to find children's size N95s. If it were actually true that cloth masks are super ineffective I would be freaking out right now about the risk to my kid (instead, I've bought multi-layer cloth children's masks with high ratings that are easily adjustable). And maybe 4x as many exposures is enough to get hir through August and September, if that's the actual number.

    1. I think there are *some* highly effective cloth masks- such as Cambridge masks, or many of the nylon kind - but the homemade and/or stretchy cotton ones that 95% of people around here wear *are* very ineffective and I have seen three people in 18 months wearing them tight enough. Mostly I'm annoyed specifically at people who are freaking out AND not wearing effective masks, i.e. these specific annoying people.

      I also bet you didn't send your kid to overnight camp this year!

    2. Socal.dendrite@gmail.com1:18 AM

      My kids (K and 2nd last year) wore properly fitting kids' KN95 masks to school. School was hybrid, so no more than 14 people in the room in total, and lots of distancing/sanitizing protocols, etc. And yet, my Kindergartener managed to catch a cold after about 4 weeks... I know she's K, so what do you expect, but really, even the little kids have been great about all the masks and protocols, so I was a little bit surprised. It definitely came from her classroom because about 5 of the kids got it around the same time (none of them were Covid). It was weird for us to be ill as a family for the first time in over a year!

    3. Social Dendrite- I assume they took their masks *off* to eat and drink... upon which I would say that duration is much more important than distance. Because it doesn't actually take that long to get an infective dose (of anything) when unmasked! See also: that one restaurant case where someone 20 feet away got Covid after a <5 minute exposure, or the person in an Australian quarantine hotel who got sick because someone across the hallway opened their door for about 30 seconds.

    4. Aren't some cold viruses more stable on surfaces than is Covid19? My guess would be surface to eyes transmission or something (if not during meals). They try to sanitize, but it is hard to sanitize everything all the time. (My students sharing pens/pencils/laptops across rows last semester, for example.)

    5. Socal Dendrite5:09 PM

      They didn't let them have lunch at school, so they only had masks off to eat a snack, which was outdoors sitting 6 feet from each other. But yes, they could easily have caught something then, or perhaps from touching shared surfaces in the bathroom etc. Nobody caught Covid, so it's possible that the measures were reasonable effective against Covid but less effective against the cold (perhaps the cold stuck around on surfaces more or something). I wasn't trying to argue against KN95s or masks of any type; just commenting on our wry amusement at the fact we got sick despite everything.

    6. But... how did it get out of the respiratory tract into the surface??? Kids are amazing.

      Our schools had a mask mandate and did have lunch indoors and *still* nobody managed to infect their class. Though my daughter (6) also brought home a couple colds.


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