Have you wanted to write to your local council or mayor about mask mandates? Are you having a hard time finding the words?
Here are two sample letters. The first is short and to the point. The second covers much more detail and has a scientific bent. Feel free to borrow ideas from either.
To the Honorable Council Members,
I hope this message finds you and your families healthy and well.
My friends and I were quite disappointed when the executive order regarding masks was put in place for [your town here]. Some decided to stop shopping at the stores in town. Others put on a mask and still others refused and shopped without a mask. The action has caused financial loss and discord in the community. Two local stores that I frequented are shutting down because of economy-destroying mandates.
The EO states, “Whereas, there are known and effective ways of combating the spread of COVID-19 and its variants…”
Besides practicing good hygiene through washing hands and staying home when sick, there are no other effective methods of combating the spread of SARS-COV-2 or flu, which is currently running through the community. I submit the following link to prove that masks are not, and have never been, an effective method of dealing with airborne viruses:
I hope the honorable council members will take the time to read the scientific studies listed in the article and decide to stop the harm to our community—financial, social, emotional and physical. The UK and Ireland have already moved to an endemic perspective and eliminated all mandates, choosing to ‘trust their citizens’. Canada just recently made the same announcement:
[your name here]
Dear Council Members and Mayors,
My experience on the topic of PPE and, as a specific type, masks, is extensive. I was trained in both EMS (used to volunteer on the Highland Park First Aid Squad) and Construction (my chosen profession) which includes a lot of personal experience using all sorts of PPE. I have used masks for years and one of the ways you can tell if the type of mask works or not, is after sanding for drywall, or going into a dusty attic, is how much black mucus comes out of your nose (also probably why I cannot use masks anymore for long periods of time and had to stop removing lead paint, I can’t deal with the Hazmat suits and specialized masks anymore). This is widely known across construction workers I talk to. After years of trying different types of masks, I have found that the best type of common mask is the N95 with the one-way valve for keeping out large particulate matter like drywall and dust.
The one-way valve is not for preventing particulate matter from getting in, but for breathing. I have always told my workers when using masks to make sure they take an oxygen break if they need one, I have done this years before 2020. On crews removing lead paint I have run, I made sure we had decent oxygen and rest breaks, even with the complex HAZMAT like suit removal and cleaning.
In EMS, we were taught how important hand hygiene is, which for the pandemic has been practically ignored in practice, with only lip service given. Go to any store and how many people are wearing masks without gloves? On the ambulance, it was common to use gloves without masks, but as far as I know, there was no protocol to use masks without gloves. There is a very good reason why. The instructor of our EMT training on the first day, told us about his first day to explain why hand hygiene is extremely important (he told us he would of done the same thing but that was around the Anthrax bioweapon scare and a random powder on the sign-in sheet was not a good idea).
His instructor put a powder on the sign-in sheet that only shows up in black light. In the middle of the class, they stopped, turned out the lights, and put on the black light. They found powder all over the desks, on the windows, on people’s bodies, on someone’s nose, it was everywhere. In Jewish law, for at least centuries, there are laws governing washing of the hands before eating bread (base of a meal). The reason given is Hands go all over the place when we aren’t paying attention to them. A surgeon in surgery is not supposed to touch his face, or he has to scrub in again. He is also not supposed to go into the operating theater with only a mask on, but with a whole complicated process of putting on a lot of PPE. It differs greatly than what we do in the ambulance, because he is in a controlled environment and EMS, as well as in general in hospitals, we are in an uncontrolled environment. The two places I know of in a hospital with a controlled environment is the negative pressure room (less pressure than the rest of the hospital for dangerous infectious diseases) and the operating theater (positive pressure to keep as many germs out as possible, also add oxygen to the air because people are wearing masks). Both have special protocols to be used. People going in to treat patients in the negative pressure room should be wearing a HAZMAT like suit with its own oxygen supply. The operating theater has a complex PPE system with requirements for the whole body to go inside when surgery is happening. For example, a surgeon should raise his hands up so the water touching his arm does not fall on his hands, the gloves are individually wrapped, etc.
In Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, they have a level one trauma Emergency Department (ED) and last time I was in the ED they had two rooms that could convert back and forth to a normal room and an operating room. I don’t think those rooms had a special climate control system like the main operating theaters do, but when a life needs saving right then, you don’t always have time to get them to the other section of the building, like someone bleeding out and needing surgery 10 minutes ago (actual call I was on once).
The other places I know of that is a controlled environment is a clean room used to make microchips, and a clean room is also used for the electron microscope when my sister used to work at Fermi Lab. Generally, people are not allowed in without a special suit.
The teaching in EMS is “PPE protect the EMT but not the patient,” is explained, as well based on the information before, etc. When one takes gloves out of a box, you automatically contaminate the box, even if it is a sterile one-use product specially packaged, once you open the seal and touch it with all the germs on our hands. So too, with boxes of masks that some towns give out, is a place that gets contaminated constantly, and if someone has a SARS-COV-2 infection, you just gave everyone who puts on a mask from the box the possibility for infection. When you breath on a mask while you are putting it on and use your hands, you are contaminating it on the outside (maybe unless you are extremely careful not to have any contact with the outside, which brings in questions of how it is able to be put on then, especially with other people around and the contaminated box).
When you exhale, that air has to go somewhere, and if the mask cannot filter out the virus particles (most can’t, you would need a virology lab level of a filter) it will get pushed out, and just like pushing a fluid through small holes makes more pressure and can therefore go farther (like a shower head works), it may actually push the particles farther.
This is only talking so far about fluid exhaled in which moisture can evaporate, does sweat and other bodily fluids evaporate with the virus as well to be inhaled or touched on surfaces?
We all have to come to an understanding that germs are everywhere, and it is impossible to get away from them. You would have to become a Solarian (Reference to biochemist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov) and have no human contact to really not be able to get most viral infections from other humans.
As for specifically surgical masks, from the peer reviewed medical research and articles below, it seems as if over 100 years ago surgeons started using surgical masks to protect patients based on assumption and not research. A molecular biologist I have known for years started looking at biological science published over 100 years ago and has found a lot of the research was not done with the same rigor biologists use today. We are talking about right after Pasteur’s Germ theory was starting to be accepted and biological science in that direction was just getting started.
As why is it a good idea for a surgeon to still wear surgical masks, look to OSHA regulations for bloodborne pathogens, from before the Covid confusion, and that is still there today. Ask a surgeon how many times has a surgical mask prevented blood from splattering in his mouth in surgery? One surgeon I know told me it does occasionally occur that blood splatters, and he wants to protect his mucus membranes of his mouth and nose.
Look in section (D)(3)(i)
“… Personal protective equipment will be considered “appropriate” only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through to or reach the employee’s work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.”
At the beginning of the pandemic when we were told to mask up to save others, I asked to see the science because based on my EMS and construction PPE training, masking like was put in Governor Murphy’s executive order did not make sense. “PPE protect the EMT but not the patient” as mentioned before, and anyone who deals with PPE knows the type of mask does mater. So, I looked up the science and have probably read over 50 studies on the topic. One has to be careful to read the complete study, as there was a lot of deception going on. Here is an example of one letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (not even peer reviewed) that was being brought a lot in support of masking, but was out of context:
What did they consider a mask?
“Our aim was to provide visual evidence of speech-generated droplets and to qualitatively describe the effect of a damp cloth cover over the mouth to curb the emission of droplets.”
I don’t see anyone wearing a wet cloth covering their nose and mouth in stores or out and about. And that letter did not take into account other vectors.
On Cloth versus surgical masks in a hospital setting (trained personnel who usually use other forms of PPE as well), also has an update by the authors on Covid-19. Explains the hypothesis about why cloth masks might be worse than no mask but has limited data on no mask use to compare so we don’t know. The control was to do what people did before the study.
One of the famous Denmark studies:
This is an interesting short meta-analysis about understanding mask usage:
Interesting review of the use of surgical masks in surgery:
Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: a randomized controlled trial:
The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: A systematic review of the scientific evidence.
A prospective, randomized study on the use of well-fitted masks for prevention of invasive Aspergillosis in high-risk patients:
This Cochrane Collaborative Review from 2016. There is a lot of details, and it is better to read the whole thing to understand it.
The next 2 are from the CDC, I do not think it is peer reviewed:
This one includes a review of mask research on Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) and on a number of non-pharmaceutical interventions:
Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among
Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities —
United States, July 2020
” In the 14 days
before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control-
participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other
mask types when in public.”
The control group all had symptoms of SARS-COV-2 infection but tested negative (Basically upper respiratory illness undefined). So, does that mean that the generally public mask wearing might not work on any group of respiratory infections? They don’t even talk about if the group was wearing the mask correctly and how you define correctly and what type of mask.
I read the whole study. The study seems to not be very useful in general. It talks about more people with SARS-COV-2 infection went to restaurants and dining where they could not use masks but does not get into whether anyone at the restaurants had Covid-19 to give to others (you can’t get a virus if no one else has it). You know they did contact tracing because they say:
“Among adults with COVID-19, 42% reported close con-
tact with a person with COVID-19, similar to what has been
reported previously (4). Most close contact exposures were
to family members, consistent with household transmission
of SARS-CoV-2 (8). Fewer (14%) persons who received a
negative SARS-CoV-2 test result reported close contact with
a person with known COVID-19.”
So why not use contact tracing to see how the restrictions on restaurants worked in real life situations?
And they blame the ventilation system in restaurants as a possibility but don’t know if people ate inside or outside (there is no ventilation system outside).
Obviously, you can’t catch a virus if the person next to you does not have it, so if everyone was or was not wearing masks and no one in that group had SARS-COV-2 then you don’t actually have data on anything about contagiousness with masks.
On top of that, the PCR test, how many cycles were used (A lot of research gets very specific details on what they did for testing, this does not)? Can we even trust the accuracy of that information with the rampart overcycling of PCR tests?
This whole study seems to be layered assumption on assumption. But if you are talking general mask wearing (not specific mask wearing) based on only information from this study, it does not seem to help.
On top of my comment the authors mention other limitations in the study, which is normal practice in many studies.
An interesting article quoting peer reviewed medical research:
And just to give a comparison, this is a article for the opposing viewpoint. I have not finished reading the science it quotes yet, but a number I recognize as junk science. There are good ones like the one from the CDC with a fake head, but laboratory results don’t always imitate real life:
Thank you for reading,
Joseph Jacob Schmidt aka Yosef Schmidt