Mask confusion

I’m seeing a lot of posts on social media showing confusion about the wearing of masks in public.

Here’s the short version: Wear a mask in public if you can, not because it protects you, but because you’re not a a-hole.


Public health experts believe wearing a mask will help limit the spread of the virus by reducing transmission from presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2.

What the left gets wrong

Unfortunately, there are too many on the left who not only are willing to do the right thing (good), but need to act with moral superiority to others. They post memes like:
If you hate wearing a face mask you're really not going to like the ventilator

protesters and woman in scrubs with 'See you soon' sign.

implying that folks who don’t wear masks or follow other mandates are risking their own life. People under 60 or so with no health conditions don’t get severe COVID-cases.
By promoting a false narrative, well meaning individuals are actually sowing confusion, not compliance.

What the right gets wrong

The are too many people on the right saying mask wearing doesn’t work.

They point out that initially health authorities did not recommend masks, and studies show mask wearing doesn’t protect the wearer against contracting COVID-19.

The second point is easiest: No informed individual thinks it does. Since the recommendation to wear them came out, CDC has been consistent in its message. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.

As to the changing recommendation, isn’t it reasonable to change your mind as you get new information? Yesterday’s weather forecast said little chance of rain today. This morning I see dark clouds, I will go back inside and grab my umbrella.

When the pandemic started, scientists didn’t know much about it, and much of the information came from a totalitarian government. Recommendations were based on what was known about similar viruses. As knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 increases, guidance changes.

Citizens guide to COVID masks

If in public spaces near other people, wear a mask if you can. Keep it clean so it doesn’t make you sick. If you see someone without a mask, be a decent human being and assume they have a health condition that contraindicates mask wearing. If you are concerned because you are high risk, just don’t go there.

Stupid research

So today’s copy of the Journal Inquirer (JI) has the provocative headline: Students mine data to find where unfaithful husbands live: Fairfield County. Well it’s actually a Toledo Blade story — the Connecticut based JI just tacked the “Fairfield County” on the end.

So these kids at University of Toledo use data from hacked Ashley Madison website to determine who cheats most often, noting that “Metropolitan areas with some of the lowest subscription rates were in poor Appalachian and southern locations, strengthening the conclusion that affluence is linked to this kind of online adultery.” The story goes on to note that “The Fairfield County area also topped the list of metro areas in spending rates, doling out $1,127 on the site per 1,000 people.”

Huh. Of course this fits with the usual liberal narrative that rich people are inherently evil and poor people inherently virtuous ….

One thousand, one hundred twenty dollars ? And that’s just on the website — presumably there are other costs in cheating. Or maybe — just maybe — poor people have cheaper ways to cheat. Because the Internet is a tiny place and Ashley Madison is the only way to cheat …



Blessings of weather forecasts

So it looks look Hermine is only going to brush Connecticut; as of mid day Monday, there’s only a low probability of tropical storm strength winds on the coast and the flooding will be limited to the low lying coastal areas that flood.

Hurricane Hermine spiral over Florida
Hermine over Florida. Public domain photo from “NASA/GSFC, Rapid Response.”

I spent hours Saturday removing what I could from topside the boat, replacing a worn line and adding more, going from the usual six to fourteen. It’s likely it’s going to turn out that wasn’t necessary.

Some people — hopefully not you, dear reader, are whining about “the hype” and “unnecessary” closures of things like Connecticut state campgrounds.

Get over it and be grateful. For most of mankind’s existence (200,000 years) weather has been a short term, sporadic and sometimes deadly phenomena. Consider the Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888 that struck so suddenly many children sent home from school died before they could make it. (Death toll: 235), or 1938 New England Hurricane, where the region was caught by surprise by insufficiently conservative forecasts. (Death toll: 682) A sudden 1940 blizzard in the midwest caught many duck hunters unawares; the death toll of 145 likely lessened by a couple foolish / brave man flying a new fangled flying machine dropping supplies. (Turkey death toll: 1.5 million, estimated.)

Sputnik went up in 1957 and now we see hurricanes days in advance. For the past decade — 0.00005 of human existence — smartphones have brought incredible amounts of data right into our hands.  Rather than scrambling under darkening skies I was able to prep the boat in fairly light winds and warm sunny skies. I don’t regret for one instance the time spent and am happy to have had the opportunity to prepare.