Posts Tagged ‘masks’

A variety of masks are available, some are better than others. (source)
Critical thinking and COVID-19 – Context, Masks and Stats Audio by Jonathan Fader

First of all, happy new year! Though given what’s going on I am not sure it will be too much different from 2020, at least during the first few months. Rather than doing some new years resolution post which is, let’s be honest, cliché, I am simply going to continue with my series on Critical Thinking and COVID-19. The first being initial response and the virus.

I would like to first start with the fact I believe Western governments have been lying and gaslighting the public since the beginning. Not for the health and safety of the general public, for what is best for the “System”; medical and political. I believe it’s actually quite easy to prove.

In my previous post I discussed the fact that there is NO WAY Western governments did not have pandemic plans in place after SARS hit in 2003. In fact, in Canada even mainstream media has picked up on this, as can be seen in this Globe and Mail article from April of 2020 (which itself is being far to kind to the government). In it, the author reminds the public that CPHO Dr. Theresa Tam (Canada’s version of Dr. Anthony Fauci) co-wrote a paper in 2006, discussing pandemics with regard to Canada specifically. In a 2010 documentary “Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague,” Dr. Tam can be seen in recordings discussing very Orwellian methods for controlling the public in the event in pandemics. Which, again, shows there were plans, which basically every Western government failed to implement even at a basic level. Which, as previously mentioned, should have started with closing the boarders to anyone who tests positive, or some variation of border restrictions at the very least.

So why do I say governments globally are gaslighting? They are constantly blaming the spread of the virus on the public failing to do what they are told. For all the Karens, unhealthy people, or those with anxiety, this has been the talking point: “Just do as you are told.” Yet it is morally wrong on all levels, because had governments actually implemented their plans back in Jan/Feb 2020 we would have not needed lockdowns at all; which don’t even seem to work, as many places with extreme lockdowns, like NY, LA, and England, are still seeing massive spikes.

So, did any one in the world get it right? Yes, for sure. The best examples are Taiwan and South Korea. There are many reasons for their overall success, one of which is, it seems, their medical systems are not overly corrupt like ours are (but I won’t get into that). For the purpose of this article I am going to talk about Taiwan. First I would like to acknowledge that Taiwan is an island, which, like other island nations (like Australia), makes it far easier to control who’s coming into the country. Countries like Canada and the US never actually closed the land boarders, allowing more than 7,000,000 border crossings, not knowing if people are positive or negative. So, YES, islands had a much easier time restricting travel, although it’s also policy related.

So what else did Taiwan do? The first thing is… they implemented their pandemic plans that they had developed post-SARS; they were hit hard in 2003 (like TORONTO, in Canada) and they learned their lessons then. They immediately closed there borders, implemented testing when it was reasonable and possible, and told the public to wear masks. In fact, they even worked with private companies to ensure that masks were available for everyone. (More about this can be heard on the NPR Planet Money episode from Dec. 23d, “Fork The Government“)

Yes, that’s right, masks.

If you remember, at this time you were being told by Fauci, Tam, and the World Health Organization that, “No, you should not wear masks because you don’t need them.” All of whom later changed there minds, with Fauci even going on record to admit that he had lied.

Seems Taiwan did the right thing early by shutting down travel and telling people to wear masks. So why did global experts lie? In Fauci’s admission he rationalizes that it was a decision to protect the medical community plain and simple. This was due to fears surrounding supply chain issues, which, again, were common knowledge as I have previously discussed. Like all COVID decisions it seems they were solely based on a “protect the medical system first and the public next” mentality (something that is open for debate). This is an approach that, as we have seen, has created poorly thought out, garbage policy. The same methodology can be found in the overuse of ventilators early on, which, allegedly, was done to protect medical staff from the chance of the virus aerosolizing. While ventilators certainly are needed for those who cannot breath on their own, those with severe symptoms in the hospitals were put in medically-induced comas and put on ventilators, which later was found to cause a higher death rate and not actually have the desired affect. Yes, that’s right, early in the virus the high death rate, even for younger people, was due to… a lack of actual understanding. (But they will never be recorded as such, of course.)

This means that they lied, for their own benefit, and while you can make an ethical case for their methods it really seems this “system first” protection failed to achieve any reasonable results and just caused chaos. But, you know, “it’s the publics fault for not doing what you were told.” They screwed up, but its your fault! Gaslighting at its finest. Add to that the constant shifting goal posts and changing information, and they wonder why large groups of the public have lost faith in the experts. (Side note: if experts wonder why people don’t want to listen to them a lot of the time it’s because of this kind of garbage.)

Masks

Ok enough ranting, let’s actually talk masks. If you recall I briefly addressed masks in a post way back in the beginning of 2020. (Assuming you won’t read it, a reminder: Way back in 2008 I completed a two year program in Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), within which there was a lot of discussion of masks for the workplace, how to use them properly, and what the different ratings are for.)

So let’s start with this. The best argument for wearing masks is a simple one: In general, they can’t hurt.

Yes, there are some people who can’t wear them for whatever reason, but for the most part they won’t hurt. (In most of those cases, we have several variations of non-contact face shields that are still better than nothing) I also agree they are a pain to wear all the time, as personally I find it difficult when I have to wear them for more than an hour or so. Let’s not pretend it’s, not as they are very unnatural feeling. The other thing is, I am against outright blanket mask mandates (for COVID at least), as I never like top-down control to this level of daily life. Arresting one person in a store because they don’t wear a mask is an absurdity. If it bothers you, don’t go near that person.

Whenever I see a person outdoors, by themselves, walking with a mask on, it drives me nuts as these people don’t really get how masks work. However, if you are in a confined space for longer than 15 min with people, such as a small room, especially those whom you do not know and will be close to, then masks probably are a good idea. Where social distancing is possible then I’m not a fan of mandatory requirements.

So how do you know they do work as a general concept? Well, countries that implemented masks early are doing much better, by a long shot. They didn’t even need to do massive lockdowns. Yes, I am aware that countries like Taiwan have a far more complaint populous, but that makes it all the more important that politicians and experts must stop lying; as this is what degrades our trust.

You can also anecdotally assert that masks work, seeing as hospitals have been using medical masks for years for a reason. For viruses like COVID, which are spread via particulates (spit, breath moisture, etc.), medical masks will work just fine when you are close to people.

As mentioned previously though, N95 masks are better, and respirators even better still.

So when don’t masks work? Well, if in fact COVID-19 was aerosolized than the first two options wouldn’t really be effective. Which is probably why despite clean procedures in hospitals germs still spread through the building. If COVID was in fact as bad as they were claiming you would need a half face respirator or better.

When it comes to respirators you have two general types; open systems and closed systems. A closed system is more like hazmat suit with a built in oxygen tank (the kind you see in movies), which is what you would want to wear when dealing with, say, Ebola or other deadly things. An open system one is a respirator which still allow you to breath freely with the air around you; a filter doing the work when you breathe in or out. The reason why medical masks and N-95 mask don’t work 100% is because they are not perfect seals. Which means you could still come into contact with the virus under the right circumstances, especially if it was aerosolized.

One of the things experts were saying at the beginning to justify not wearing masks was that the average person won’t wear them properly anyway. Which, while true, is an arrogantly silly stance.

Why?

In OH&S you have something called “fit testing”. It is a training method to ensure individuals know what their mask feels like if they are wearing it properly with the correct filters. They make sure you put your respirator on with the right fit, and then crack a banana oil ampule which smells HORRIBLE. So bad you can’t fake the response unless you have no sense of smell. Why is this important? Well, if you are on a worksite that has, say, H2S gas, and there is a leak, and you don’t have a proper seal on your mask, you can drop dead.

The fact you don’t need a respirator or better for COVID means it’s not as bad as they have making it out to be, as it should be obvious by now you will not drop dead on the spot for getting COVID. But masks will, as a general rule, reduce transmission. To what degree? Who knows? But I would definitely wear them if I am close to vulnerable people; aged 60+, obese, and those with diabetes or similar issues. Even if they were only 10-20% effective, then they would still worth wearing when appropriate.

But screaming about masks after lying about them, then saying “I am sorry, you are just being a Karen,” especially if you don’t even understand how they work, that is unacceptable!

Imagine a world in which they had followed their plans and got masks to the public early, where those who wanted to wear one did and those who didn’t didn’t, you most likely would have seen a different world today.

Stats

Okay, since this post is fairly long I am going to keep things fairly short here. I will expand further on this information in the next post.

I am going to start with this great (mobile only) presentation from CBC (similar info here):

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/info/2020/06/deces-morts-covid-19-coronavirus-provinces-repartition-visualisation-3d/index-en.html

One thing they did was be honest. They presented the information, which included breaking down by age, in an easy to understand graphical comparison; something governments seemingly refuse to do. This was compiled after the first wave in Canada, as of June 8th 2020, and I find it highly likely that you would find similar ratios globally, as an indication of who the vulnerable groups are. But let’s look at the numbers as they were at that time.

  • As of June 7 at 3:30 p.m., 95,699 Canadians have been diagnosed with the Novel Coronavirus, but only 35% are still considered sick. 57% have recovered and 8% have died.
  • With 7,848 deaths, COVID-19 is on track to be the sixth-highest cause of death this year in Canada. In only five months, the disease killed as many as the flu, pneumonia and bronchitis do combined in an average year.
  • The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are most at risk of dying from COVID-19. The deaths are grouped by age: 80 and older60 to 7940 to 59 and 39 and younger.
  • Those who are 80 and older account for 72% of deaths in Canada. But only 18% of cases are in this age group.
  • Those 40 to 59 and 39 and younger only make up three per cent of deaths — despite accounting for 65% of cases.

There is more for anyone willing to read it, and, of course, this is older data, however, it is clear who the vulnerable groups are. It is not the general public, yet you are still being told it is. If you are under 60 and healthy (ie. not obese, not diabetic, etc.) you are probably more likely to die by car than anything else. If you are under 40 and die you probably are just as likely to win the lottery (I didn’t do the actual math, but you get the idea).

Now, I cannot seem to easily find numbers on the Canadian CDC website, which is shocking. But on the BC CDC website (which is up to date) they do not discuss age. Weird huh? They say “listen to the experts, look at the data!” then completely ignore that data.

Let’s do a comparison. If I simply google “BC COVID Data,” I actually get the Canadian data (again very hard to compare accurate data when the data is presented differently everywhere); I get a chart that basically shows the positive test rate for Canada. It doesn’t show the data by age, doesn’t show the hospitalization rate, doesn’t show the death rate. (Did I mention there was a higher death rate for people under 80 in the first wave due to the overuse of ventilators…)

Accesses January 4th 2020.

Now you see much higher rates of infection, which make it look bad even though the death rate has more or less stayed flat (“flatten the curve”). The reason the rate is so much higher due to the second wave, is because…. more testing… but the overall death rate is actually down. But it looks scary right?

In the case of British Columbia, though deaths spiked, almost all of them were in Long term Care homes or among the elderly… but, you know, everyone is still dying of this thing right? It’s actually something like 80% of people who died were in the older population. It is unfortunate, but it is what it is. Yet government policies don’t address this, they just shut down everything, or most things, because it’s easier.

So why do they focus on the infection rate not other factors? One, it’s easier. Two, it creates more fear in the public by inflating the overall risk; which then gets people to comply and enrages the Karen army.

But science and data right? When policy isn’t being made based on the data but more to protect the medical personnel and the system this indicates they are not actually being scientific. After all, look at Taiwan, they implemented simple plans early and they can continue doing what they want, including martial arts.

Before I wrap up this post I would just like to point out in the second wave there was a MASSIVE drop in COVID rates on Dec 25th and Jan1st. Not because COVID disappeared, but because (I assume) testing stopped for the most part. This shows the effect testing has on the numbers. If they had testing early that first spike probably would have been epically massive. But since governments really screwed up they didn’t have testing ready, which resulted in the accusations that the numbers were too high or too low. The infection rates were most definitely too low in the first wave, as measured by the numbers, but the death rate was probably way too high due to how they were recorded. Again, the medical community is not likely to admit that the overuse of ventilators (medical error) was the cause of death for many of the early patients. It was totally on COVID.

But, again, it’s all the publics fault…

Conclusion

I know these posts are long, but the constant attempt to oversimplify these things in a tweet or photo, without exploring the facts properly is a reason why the situation is so screwed up in this world. Not just because of COVID, but because no one wants to actually educate themselves anymore: You just re-tweet, re-post, and don’t follow up.

Teaching Critical Thinking is my thing, as it is a principles first approach. I know it’s hard, but if you want to navigate this confusing world and topic you must think for yourself sometimes. That requires knowledge, critical thinking, and, well, honesty.

To sum up this post: You have been lied to and Gaslighted. Governments in the West have failed to do their ONE JOB! (well, one of many). Masks do work as a general tactic. Manipulating data is BAD. Of course, if you only read this part you failed the critical thinking.

The next post will be on vaccines, testing, and probably more data.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

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