Letter

printed 08/21/2020

Editor,

This article is largely taken from an excellent piece by Conrad Milner written in the Wednesday, Aug. 5 edition of Epoch Times.

Milner delves into the paradox of conflicting opinions on whether to wear face masks or not.

Today in America we have a group of people that are ardent believers in face masks and believe there should be legal penalties for not wearing them contrasted by an equally impressive group that believes masks are nonsense and likely weaken our immune systems.

Milner makes the point that contradictory messaging by public health authorities planted the seeds over the present discord over masks.

On March 8, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 minutes, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”

At that time the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that masks were to be worn exclusively by the sick and their caregivers, and the World Health Organization stated: “There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the masses has any potential benefit.

In fact, some evidence suggests the opposite.

In April, experts abruptly changed course, experts stated that previous statements were to save the masks for medical personnel and that everyone should wear a mask. Morton Tavel, MD, a professor at Indiana State said “well fitted medical grade (N95) masks could effectively protect against the virus.”

Tavel also said “many people wash their hands the wrong way.”

Then on June 8, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove stated “spread of the virus by asymptomatic carriers appears to be rare.”

It is clear that there is no scientific consensus on whether face masks help prevent passage of the virus.

These days Fauci has become an unwavering proponent for everyone to wear a face mask. But the scientific case for masks is hardly a consensus.

A group of physicians in the New England Journal of Medicine wrote, “The chance of catching COVD-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is minimal. In many cases the desire for masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

Those on the pro-mask side site a hamster study in Hong Kong which concluded that 75 percent of respiratory droplets were repressed by wearing a mask. Also the Jet Propulsion lab found droplets could travel 13 feet.

On July 16, an article in the Journal of pediatric and Child Health found that masks may cause more problems than protection.

Researchers concluded “no good evidence that masks protect the public against infection with respiratory viruses. Thus, a mildly infected person wearing a face mask for hours without changing it or washing hands could paradoxically increase the risk of infecting others researchers wrote.

When the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons looked at mask efficacy they concluded “the wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risks…headaches, respiratory acidosis, dizziness and a decrease in oxygen saturation are some of the risks.”

Milner says we should use common sense. Dr. Dana Cohen a physician in Manhattan says she has a hard time seeing a clear picture even as a doctor.

“I don’t think people should go to concerts or be together marching and shouting, that’s not common sense, people need to stop being the mask police,” she said. “By the same token people that oppose masks should show some compassion for the pro mask crowd.”

One thing is clear the data required for good policies on how to handle covid-19 is still lacking.

A friend of mine in a small business in Ocean City told me last week, “since the mayor’s forced imposition of face masks on the Boardwalk from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. my business has been cut in half and I am not going to be able to pay my rent.”

Certainly, the lack of clarity among “experts” explains the two polar views in society regarding wearing face masks. The problem is both sides can find supporting statements often from the same sources.

The contradictory messaging from public health authorities planted seeds of discord early on regarding precautions during the pandemic.

Masks have been politicized, with more liberal politicians imposing more stringent requirements including punitive actions for non-compliance. Mr. Biden famously said, “It’s not about liberty it’s about responsibility.”

Small businesses that have to survive during the pandemic are being hampered by extraordinarily restrictive rules like restriction of out-of-state travel by the governors of New Jersey and New York.

Also, Mayor Meehan of Ocean City’s order forcing face masks on all who went on the Boardwalk between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m. An order more restrictive then Gov. Hogan’s misdemeanor threat of social distancing or wearing a mask on the Boardwalk.

Mayor Meehan, who used to have a small business, must have forgotten the difficulties facing the small businesses.

The rub is my friend doesn’t even have a place on the Boardwalk and is still feeling the consequences of these politically coercive orders on top of the pandemic when things are already tough.

Tony Christ

Ocean City

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