Would you be willing to stand near a confirmed Covid-19 patient that is only wearing a non-standard, home made by a stranger, ill fitting, unapproved, face mask?

I wrote this on April 12, 2020. I took it offline because of the venom then being directed at anyone who questioned any aspect of the face mask hysteria. In early March I had mentioned wearing a used shop N95 mask and was instantly shredded by a health care worker for my having stolen an N95 mask from a health care worker. I was, she said, to donate it to my local hospital – which would have promptly thrown away a used, soiled N95 mask.

April 12, 2020:

The purpose of a home made face mask, we are told, is to protect others from an asymptomatic individual from exhaling particles. The “experts” acknowledge that home made face masks, based on actual research, are nearly useless for inbound protection. But the new ad hoc theory spun on the spur of the moment is that anything will filter outbound projections.

Ok.

Would you be willing to stand near a confirmed Covid-19 patient that is only wearing a non-standard, home made, ill fitting, unapproved, face mask made by a complete stranger?

According to the CDC, yes, you would be. Their rule assumes people are out and about with Covid-19, but don’t know it. And the only way to protect you is that the unknown sick person is wearing a homemade cloth face mask of a random design.

Research studies found that materials like pillow cases or cotton t-shirts may only filter 20-40% of large particles (viruses are about 0.1 microns and are not likely to be filtered at all).

Would you be willing to stand near a Covid-19 patient who coughs – and expels 60-80% (or more) of their viral load through their home made face mask?

Do you feel safer knowing that you are getting just 60-80% of their output instead of 100%?

If public health official were serious about home made masks, they would have issued design and materials guidelines. Instead, we were told that a scarf or bandanna would suffice (they absolutely will not ). Public health officials were not serious about home made masks – at all – or they would have provided guidelines.

Merely because a piece of cloth is sewn in a pattern that resembles a medical face mask does not, in fact, make it an effective face mask. It merely looks like one and acts as a facade of protection. Real face masks meet ASTM Standards that are referenced by laws.

This is “Why I am not wearing a homemade face mask“.

Update: I attempted to make an air filter mask promoted by a doctor on Youtube. The video has been watched over 7 million times. Making it requires special materials and equipment (HEPA filters, sewing machine, hot glue gun, various supplies) which most people do not have in their homes during a stay-at-home requirement. I made it far enough along to find it was ill fitting and incapable of providing an adequate seal on my face.

Most of the “resembles a medical face mask” projects have become fashion statements using available fabrics, pillow cases or old shirts. They are documented in the literature as being ineffective to the point of uselessness.

What public health “officials” have done with this is outrageous. I ask again:

Would you be willing to stand near a confirmed Covid-19 patient that is only wearing a non-standard, home made, ill fititting, unapproved, face mask?

Update April 15

I am so old, I remember a few weeks when the CDC suggested wearing r “scarfs and bandannas” for protection, that doctors were saying that bandannas are ridiculous and offer no protection:

“So the CDC changed some of your guidelines, I think they did this ultimately as a way of acknowledging the dire conditions that hospitals may soon find themselves in. People like you, they recommend that health care workers as a last resort might think about re-using masks or even using a scarf or bandana.”

“What do you think of that?” asked the CNN anchor.

Dabby blasted the CDC recommendation as “absolutely ridiculous.”

I can’t imagine putting on a bandana to go take care of a patient with a highly infectious disease that could kill me. I will not do that. We need our healthcare doctors, providers, techs, therapists, everybody healthy and strong to fight this virus. We will not let our healthcare workers get sick.”

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/absolutely-ridiculous-ucla-doctor-tells-cnn-theres-no-way-health-workers-can-use-bandanas-as-face-masks/

Public Health has flip flopped every which way and has zero credibility.

Politician’s too. Gov. Cuomo issued an order today that it is now state law to wear useless bandannas in public:

The governor specified public transportation or crowded neighborhoods as examples of places where people “must wear a mask or cloth or an attractive bandanna or a color-coordinated bandanna.”

https://nypost.com/2020/04/15/andrew-cuomo-orders-new-yorkers-to-cover-faces-in-public/

Gov Cuomo is an idiot. Some one infected with a virus will emit billions and billions of virus particles per day. (A single swab of a Covid-19 patient was found to have a maximum of 7.11 x 10^8 virus RNA copies per whole swab – that is 711 million). Will you stand next to a coughing Covid-19 patient who has covered their mouth with a bandanna and is emitting millions to hundreds of millions of virus particles per cough? Are you fucking kidding me?

Note – I am not opposed to using actual, effective face masks based on approved designs and materials. I am opposed to the failure of public health to recommend approved designs and materials. Their failure to recommend reliable face masks shows they are not taking the use of masks seriously and by recommending the use of garbage face coverings, are directly putting the public at risk.

The shortage of PPE was NOT CAUSED by hobbyists and businesses purchasing non-medical grade face masks months and years ago. The shortage of PPE was caused by public health and emergency management planners failure to plan for a pandemic. Public health officials made up the “hoarding” accusations to shift blame from themselves to falsely blame the public. This in turn has led to public mask shaming, verbal and physical assaults, fines and arrests, and a threat to shoot up a supermarket because “not enough people were wearing masks”.

It was then exacerbated by incompetent leadership that – as of April – has had 3 months to ramp up new manufacturing but has failed to do so. Longer term, the nation will ideally required hundreds of millions of certified face masks every day until a vaccine is available. But as of mid-April, there has been minimal increases in production at apparently, no significant ramp up of production to meet the needs of hundreds of millions per day.

From my grandmother’s diary: Spanish flu 1918

Selected text from my Grandmother’s diary in which she documented the Spanish Flu of 1918 (as well as family life and the end of World War 1). I have included here selected excerpts about the Spanish Flu, with some comments as an afterword.

Mon. Oct 14. Well, I see I have not written in a whole week but is seems as if I have been very busy. The schools were closed, also theatres etc. on account of the influenza epidemic. The churches held no services yesterday it seemed strange not to hear the church bells ring. I do not recall any Sunday in my life when the churches have not held services.

            Alice and Ernest Holland are somewhat improved. There are not quite so many new cases of influenza. Six nurses up at the Rome Hospital have it.

….

Fri Nov 1 – I went down to have Dr. Stranahan inoculate me against influenza but he was not in his office so I had to have Dr. R. Morris do it. In five days I will have to have the second injection.

Fri Nov 3 – During the past week, Robert Scott (34) 519 ½ W. Thomas, Irene Brodbeck (14), 509 W Thomas, and Mr. I. Seblowitz, 43, W Thomas died of pneumonia following an attack of that dreadful influenza.

They are inoculating men in the mills against it. So many happy homes have been broken up, we can not understand it, but some day we’ll understand.             Over 4000 deaths occurred in Boston and nearly 400 in Utica

Nov 6 – I had my second inoculation in my left arm today. Dr. Stranahan inoculated me.

Nov 12. Tuesday – Another fair day, crisp and cool, a clear blue sky. Children go to school again after the influenza epidemic. They have missed 22 school days.

Thurs Nov 14 – I had my third and last inoculation.

Sat Dec 28 – Our furniture mahogany bedroom suite and oak dining-room suites we moved up here this afternoon to be stored downstairs in Grandpas’ front room.

           This influenza epidemic is terrible so many good people are being taken from us, it seems now as if it would not be a hard thing to die and go to heaven. So many good people have gone, there’d be a lot of them there that I know. Clara Karlen (Mrs. Clayton Mowry) died last Monday. She is a distant cousin of mine. Alice Meier (Mrs. Stuart Preston) died on Christmas night – I simply can’t believe it. She was always so cheerful & jolly, she was married last September.

Afterward Comments

What is the inoculation she describes in her diary? They lived in Rome, New York at the time such this description may be relevant – note the dates of the inoculations, above, with this:

Those true believers had some reason to be hopeful that a vaccine could prevent influenza as the disease began its second appearance in the United States in early fall 1918. By October 2, 1918, William H. Park, MD, head bacteriologist of the New York City Health Department, was working on a Pfeiffer’s bacteria influenza vaccine. The New York Times reported that Royal S. Copeland, Health Commissioner of New York City, described the vaccine as an influenza preventive and an “application of an old idea to a new disease.” Park was making his vaccine from heat-killed Pfeiffer’s bacilli isolated from ill individuals and testing it on volunteers from Health Department staff (New York Times, October 2, 1918). Three doses were given 48 hours apart. By October 12, he wrote in the New York Medical Journal that he was vaccinating employees from large companies and soldiers in army camps. He hoped to have evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of the vaccine in a few weeks (Park WH, 1918).

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/blog/vaccine-development-spanish-flu
Chart showing deaths from influenza in Chicago in the fall of 1918
Number of influenza cases reported to November 2, 1918, in Chicago. AJPH, 1918.

In November, the Newark Evening News reported that 39,000 doses of Leary-Park influenza vaccine had been prepared and that most doses were used. (Timothy Leary was a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.) Though it was too soon to tell if the vaccine was effective, “…the average person need have no fear of the results of the vaccine. Neurotic and rheumatic individuals, however, appear to be sensitive to the vaccine, while children take it with less disturbance than adults” (Newark Evening News, 1918).

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/blog/vaccine-development-spanish-flu

Judging from the dates, her “innoculation” sequence would appear to have made her part of a very early group to receive this treatment.

Numerous groups, as described at the source above, were working on developing their own vaccines. Sound familiar?

None of these vaccines worked. Why? Because they thought this “flu” was caused by a bacterial infection. It was, in fact, a virus – something not understood until the 1930s. The vaccines they created were for various bacterial infections, not the virus.

The following comments echo our current situation with regards to drug treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. Many politicians, some doctors, are advocating quick use of HCQ – without waiting for trials.

The Editorial Committee of the American Journal of Public Health tried to put a damper on people’s expectations about the vaccines. They wrote in January 1919 that the causative organism of the current influenza was still unknown, and therefore the vaccines being produced had only a chance at being directed at the right target. They noted that vaccines for secondary infections made some sense, but that all the vaccine being produced must be viewed as experimental. Acknowledging the somewhat ad hoc nature vaccine development in the current crisis, they urged that control groups be used with all the vaccines, and that the differences between control and experimental group be minimized, as to risk of exposure, time of exposure during epidemic, and so on (Editorial Committee of the American Journal of Public Health, 1919).

Certainly none of the vaccines described above prevented viral influenza infection – we know now that influenza is caused by a virus, and none of the vaccines protected against it. But were any of them protective against the bacterial infections that developed secondary to influenza? Vaccinologist Stanley A. Plotkin, MD, thinks they were not.

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/blog/vaccine-development-spanish-flu

A surprising take away from the diary comments and the historical record is incredible similarity between 1918 and 2020. In 102 years it appears that very, very little has changed in regards to a pandemic response. And that is not encouraging at all.

Even the cause of the global pandemic was similar – global travel. Soldiers who fought in WW II (officially ended in Nov 2018) were traveling back home and are believed to have spread the Spanish Flu more widely.

The virus did not originate in Spain but was first publicized as being in Spain. The Spanish, in fact, called it the French flu.

Would you wear a cloth face mask?

Thought problem: Would you be willing to stand near a confirmed Covid-19 patient who is coughing but is wearing only a home made, unapproved design, unknown materials face mask made by a stranger that you do not know?

Why not just accept public health recommendations?

Public health recommendations have been inconsistent, contradictory, unclear and sometimes untruthful. Their public messaging has been awful.

An ICL research survey, last week, found about 2/3ds of those surveyed in the UK complained that public health messaging was inconsistent, contradictory, unclear and untruthful. Respondents said they were confused by contradictory statements from “experts”, and vague and unclear directions. Those surveyed wanted clear, consistent, detailed directions and explanations.

On social media, some health officials – even doctors – blame us – the public – for trying to make sense of the steady stream of inconsistent messaging they published. This is their fault, not our fault. They are blaming us for being confused!

They created a situation where they’ve lost trust, leaving us non-experts trying to sort through the mess ourselves. And when it comes to face masks, their public communications have been a disaster.

For over a month, public health officials said the use of approved or certified face masks by the public provides no protection. That’s right – no protection.

It seems kind of intuitively obvious that if you put something—whether it’s a scarf or a mask—in front of your nose and mouth, that will filter out some of these viruses that are floating around out there,” says Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University. The only problem: that’s not likely to be effective against respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. If it were, “the CDC would have recommended it years ago,” he says. “It doesn’t, because it makes science-based recommendations.”

(Read all of this-> ) https://time.com/5794729/coronavirus-face-masks/

Then, just like that, they now say using unapproved, uncertified, do-it-yourself ill fitted designs, using unapproved materials will help protect the public. A recommendation that does not appear to be supported by “science-based recommendations”.

That back flip did not inspire confidence. Once again, there are multiple experts saying how this will work – or how it won’t work. So who are we supposed to believe? What are we supposed to do?

We hear that doctors are told not to wear PPE when in the hospital but not directly carrying for patients. Even those doctors who have “at risk” health conditions of their own are told not to wear PPE. Face plant.

I am not an expert – but in the midst of conflicting information from the officials, I went to the peer reviewed literature and other reputable sources. I found scientific evidence for the public wearing DIY face masks is weak.

The published evidence for DIY face masks ranges from:

  • Fails to filter SARS-CoV-2 virus from confirmed Covid-19 patients outbound when they are coughing (April 6, 2020 paper).
  • Provides almost no protection inbound (to prevent picking up viruses from others) in all scenarios (all papers reviewed).
  • May provide limited outbound protection specifically when a sick person is coughing large droplets (Covid-19 is a very small virus).
  • In one study, those using cloth masks were more likely to become ill than those using conventional masks or no masks (likely due to failure to adequately clean the cloth face masks – the test subjects were professional health care workers who were presumably better at this than the lay public).
  • For inbound protection, a face mask needs to be used in conjunction with eye protection, gloves – and procedures for removing your PPE when exiting a potentially contaminated zone (grocery store), then cleaning your PPE, and cleaning your clothing and hair and skin, and wiping down contaminated surfaces (car door handle, car seat, steering wheel, anything you touched inside the car, grocery bags, groceries in the bags, your kitchen surfaces after you’ve moved everything in). If you don’t do this – your inbound protection is no better than your weakest link.
  • For outbound protection, this also applies. Your face mask will become contaminated if others in the area cough, breath, etc. When you remove it, you need to treat it as contaminated – wash it and wash your hands and anything it or your potentially contaminated hands have contacted. You also need to wash your clothes.

There is no official recommended design. Instead, we have random designs, with random materials and construction techniques, many of which are seriously deficient and provide little to no protection. If the recommendation to wear face masks were serious, we would be given approved designs. There are no approved designs. There has been no analysis of DIY designs. Most are not effective. No one has measured their particulate filtering ability nor their virus filtering ability.

In some U.S. states it is against the law to wear a face mask in public. Seriously. Virginia has an exemption for medical masks – but only if you have a written statement from your doctor with you specifying the reasons why and dates that you are required to wear a mask. In New York, yes New York, and Georgia, it is against the law to wear a face mask.

I wrote this post for my own understanding – and as a place to keep notes as I tried to sort out the inconsistent and contrary messages coming from “official” sources.

I do not have a problem using an approved, certified mask or respirator. But we can not do that because the experts who planned for pandemics did not plan for sufficient PPE for health care workers.  

Update April 13th

I can support this and plan to start making one of these.

This continues on – click on the link to expand this post to read about:

  • Review of several published papers, including an April 6, 2020 published study that found cloth masks were unable to filter the emissions of coughing Covid-19 patients.
  • what Prevent Epidemics web site says,
  • what Health Canada said on April 3 (“There is no real evidence of the impact of homemade masks in preventing community spread, or in protecting oneself.“)
  • what University of Chicago experts say,
  • a list of bizarre materials people are using to make masks illustrating the pointlessness of DIY face masks with no approved designs
  • Photos of the bizarre masks that people are actually making (such as using plastic soda bottles)
  • What actual bioprotection requires
  • how we are conducting a population wide test of home made masks, without informed consent, and in some cases, without any consent
  • Details of the mask I made – heh
  • Public health’s credibility problem
  • And and answer to: Why are we doing this DIY mask making thing anyway? The answers might not be what you are thinking.
Continue reading Would you wear a cloth face mask?