Wearing masks in NJ: nothing to do with public health (Opinion)
The governor is still playing crisis actor. He’s ignoring the facts about the end of the health crisis moving the goal posts once again.
First, we were told to social distance to flatten the curve, then our businesses were closed with hours notice for many. It didn’t end there as we were then forced by executive order to stay home. All of this was for a specific purpose: "flatten the curve." That action had one intended purpose. Prevent the overwhelming of our health care system. Clearly, that did not even come close to happening.
Now the governor, desperate to hold on to the power he grabbed during the pandemic, is using masks as the key to reopening. This is an affront to science and common sense. The problem with these stubborn facts are that they all point to Murphy’s crisis management being unnecessary, and actually dangerous.
Let’s not forget the directive from the health commissioner forcing positive COVID-19 patients INTO our nursing homes. We’ve lost more 5,000 friends, relatives and neighbors to the virus because vulnerable people were exposed to COVID-19 BY DIRECTION from our government.
Now, in order to distract you from the facts of a negligent state government and other states opening rapidly, without masks on customers and with a decline in COVID-19 cases, the governor is holding on to the mask fantasy. He’s trying to save political face, no pun intended, in order to allow opening by still clinging to the fact that we all followed his direction and he’s the reason the virus is gone.
Let’s deal with the facts about healthy people wearing masks …
The governor and his cohorts ignore the obvious and growing health concerns about wearing masks all the time. The premise is flawed as they are claiming to be basing decisions in science, but the science on everyone wearing masks doesn’t support the governor’s action.
The World Health Organization, although under fire for bad "mortality rate" information coming out of China at the state of the pandemic, is a respected organization with some smart people who are experts in the medical field. It clearly says NO to healthy people wearing masks all the time.
From the WHO guidelines:
Does WHO recommend routine wearing masks for healthy people during the 2019 nCoV outbreak?
No. WHO does not recommend that asymptomatic individuals (i.e., who do not have respiratory symptoms) in the community should wear medical masks, as currently there is no evidence that routine use of medical masks by healthy individuals prevents 2019-nCoV transmission. Masks are recommended to be used by symptomatic persons in the community. Misuse and overuse of medical masks may cause serious issues of shortage of stocks and lack of mask availability for those who actually need to wear them.
In health care facilities where health care workers are directly taking care of suspect or confirmed 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease patients, masks are an important part of containing 2019-nCoV spread between people, along with other PPE and hand hygiene. — From the World Health Organization website
We also can point to the Danish government for pushing back and refusing to require masks on public transportation.
"The Danish Health Authority does not recommend that healthy people who move around in public generally wear face masks," the authority explains in a Question and Answer section on its website.
"This is partly because it is uncertain whether it has an effect on the spread of infection, but also because we must ensure that we will not lack face masks where they are most important, in the health and care sector." - from an article www.thelocal.dk
Other docs and medical professionals also weighing in supporting the conclusion that the general public should NOT be wearing masks all the time, especially cloth masks. Here's one of the recent follow up studies to address the same conclusion from 2015, increased infection rates and nearly zero benefit from cloth masks stopping viruses from penetrating.
Results The rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm, with the rate of ILI statistically significantly higher in the cloth mask arm (relative risk (RR)=13.00, 95% CI 1.69 to 100.07) compared with the medical mask arm. Cloth masks also had significantly higher rates of ILI compared with the control arm. An analysis by mask use showed ILI (RR=6.64, 95% CI 1.45 to 28.65) and laboratory-confirmed virus (RR=1.72, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.94) were significantly higher in the cloth masks group compared with the medical masks group. Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%.
Conclusions This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated. — research from bmjopen.bmj.com
Here's another doc drawing a similar conclusion to the WHO & Danish Gov't AND pointing out the additional dangers of wearing a mask. Here's the pull quote from the neurosurgeon about the lack of knowledge and evidence on efficacy:
As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”1 Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Any recommendations, therefore, have to be based on studies of influenza virus transmission. And, as you have seen, there is no conclusive evidence of their efficiency in controlling flu virus transmission. — Russel Blaylock, MD on technocracy.news
And here's the pull quote on the potential health dangers:
It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.
A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.3 Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.
Unfortunately, no one is telling the frail elderly and those with lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, of these dangers when wearing a facial mask of any kind—which can cause a severe worsening of lung function. This also includes lung cancer patients and people having had lung surgery, especially with partial resection or even the removal of a whole lung. - Russel Blaylock, MD on technocracy.news
And of course we have current evidence about the docs conclusion on the potential dangers. Here's the guy who crashed his car...
A New Jersey driver crashed head-on into a pole — after passing out from wearing an N95 mask for hours, police said Friday.
Lincoln Park police believe that the driver, who was not named, lost consciousness while behind the wheel Thursday from lack of oxygen and breathing in excessive carbon dioxide thanks to the mask, the department wrote on Facebook. - Craig McCarthy from nypost.com
That plus, beyond masks, the Swedes effectively push toward herd immunity...
Lockdowns are simply not sustainable for the amount of time that it will likely take to develop a vaccine. Letting up will reduce economic, social, and political pressures. It may also allow populations to build an immunity that will end up being the least bad way of fighting COVID-19 in the long run. Much about the disease remains poorly understood, but countries that are locked down now could very well face new and even more severe outbreaks down the road. If these countries follow the Swedish path to herd immunity, the total cost of the pandemic will decrease, and it will likely end sooner. - Nils Karlson, Charlotta Stern, and Daniel B. Klein from www.foreignaffairs.com
And closer to home? The evidence is overwhelming that this has been no spike in cases among states reopening. Actually the OPPOSITE is happening.
Some of the states that skeptics were most worried about, including Florida and Georgia, haven’t seen the rise in total cases that some experts feared.
Florida’s new cases have actually declined by 14% compared to the previous week, and Georgia’s fell by 12%. - Sam Baker from axios.com
All of those show the debate has just begun on how we handle the next pandemic. That said, it's clear this one is over and the EVIDENCE, beyond masks, shows that it is simply not true that opening up will cause a resurgence. Not happening.
If the press is honest about the role of the “Fourth Estate,” speaking "truth to power," they should be focused on presenting the obvious case for reopening in New York and New Jersey. They should be hammering DeBlasio, Murphy and Cuomo for not moving fast enough. Even the head of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas in the Bronx, one of the hardest hit areas in the world, agrees. Here's his quote:
Finally, COVID-19 is more prevalent than we think. Many New Yorkers already have the COVID-19 infection, whether they are aware of it or not. As of today, over 43 percent of those tested are positive in The Bronx. We are developing a significant degree of natural herd immunity. Distancing works, but I am skeptical that it is playing as predominant a role as many think.
More testing will better establish the numbers among those with mild illnesses and no symptoms. My professional experience tells me the number of infected people will be high. Testing is important work, but it should happen in parallel to the immediate resuscitation of the economy and getting people back to work.
At present, the testing is imperfect. We can’t wait months. We must protect the vulnerable and mitigate without destroying the economy.
Standing up to this virus can’t be the job of essential workers only. We’ve been strong, but we’re tired, and we need the rest of you to help us. By getting back to work. -
We are at the next level of the discussion now. And if the media members are going to truly represent and relate to regular people who have suffered long enough with the shutdown, then it’s time to get ahead of what is happening in real time. The people are smarter than the pols who are using select data projections to continue to push for social changes which fly in the face of how Americans live.
Time to open the country, all of it, no restrictions.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.
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