Tag Archives: masks

Covid Deaths in Context

I have very personal reasons for wanting the pandemic restrictions precautions to remain in place, but I realise that most young, healthy people have no such concerns. They know they’re immortal so the death toll from Covid is simply a number…right?

Wrong. The numbers shown on the graph below are for the US only, and while the great majority of Covid deaths occur in the 50+ age brackets, there are some eye-wateringly large numbers in the younger age groups as well:

The numbers shown in the graph above are already out of date but they provide a useful snapshot of who’s been dying in the US. As a mother, I can’t look at 795 children dying of Covid without getting a lump in my throat. Covid is an awful way to die.

And what about the young adult age group? 5,581 deaths doesn’t seem like a lot in a population of 360+ million people, but what if we compare those deaths to military personnel lost by the US in the last 100 odd years?

Afghanistan

‘Only’ 1,928 young lives lost during the 20 years the US military spent in Afghanistan:

Covid 5,581 vs Afghan War 1,928.

I’m not going to bother working out the yearly average. These numbers speak for themselves.

Iraq

Click on the pic below to see the full sized version. There you will see that ‘only’ 4,431 young people died in the Iraq offensive.

Covid 5,581 vs Iraq War 4,431.

Vietnam

Going further back in time to a period in which I was a young adult, the Vietnam war resulted in 58,220 deaths from a range of causes:

That’s a lot more than the 18 – 29 year olds [5,581] who’ve died from Covid thus far, but the Vietnam war went on for roughly ten and a half years – from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 – and the youngest soldiers to die were only 16 while the oldest was 62:

I don’t want to create shifty numbers by counting those Covid deaths under 19 or those in the 40 to 64 year old age brackets. Instead, I’ll just add the 18-29 year old group to that of the 30-39 year olds – i.e. 5581 + 16,343.

Why? Because 18 to 39 is a realistic age range for people fighting in wars, and if I’m going to compare Covid deaths to military deaths then I want it to be as accurate as possible.

So, combining those two age groups gives a total of 21,924 Covid deaths. Divide 21,924 by 2 [ie the two years of the pandemic], and you get an average of 10,962 Covid deaths per year.

If you now divide the total number of Vietnam deaths [58,220] by 10.5 [i.e. the number of years of the war], you get an average of 5544.762 deaths per year.

Covid = 10,962 deaths per year
Vietnam = 5544.8 deaths per year

Korea

Further back still, US forces suffered a total of 36,913 military deaths in Korea from 1950 to 1953:

Although the Korean War never officially ended, active fighting only lasted for three years so I’ll base my calculations on the 3 year number. If you divide the total number of deaths in Korea [36,913] by 3 [ie the number of years], you get an average of 12,304 deaths per year.

Covid = 10,962 deaths per year
Korea = 12,304 deaths per year

For the first time, we get a war that’s been more deadly than Covid, but we had to go back almost 70 years to do so.

And finally we go all the way back to World War II.

World War II

In World War II, the US lost 407,300 military lives from December 11, 1941 to September 2, 1945. That’s a period of almost 4 years. If we divide the total number of military deaths [407,300] by 4 [i.e. the number of years of the war], we get an average of 101,825 deaths per year.

Covid = 10,962 deaths per year
WWII = 101,825 deaths per year

Another war that has beaten the number of Covid deaths…or has it?

What if I add up all those military deaths and average them over the total number of years in which wars were fought?

The screenshot above is from an Excel spreadsheet I created. The Covid deaths by age group are eight days out of date but they were the only ones I could find so I inserted a more up to date figure in the final Totals row.

To me, two things almost leap off the page:

  1. there have now been almost twice as many Covid deaths in the US as all military deaths combined [since 1941],
  2. the military deaths in the US took place over a period of 45 years. The Covid deaths occurred in just two years. And the pandemic isn’t over.

If the US lost this many people in a war, the nation would be in mourning for a century. Why do these Covid deaths not inspire the same sense of horror…and respect?

A lot of people say that restrictions cannot last forever. They say that people have to be given their personal freedoms back.

I say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Personal freedoms are not a right. They cannot exist without a society to support them. The social contract says that individuals give up some things in order to receive the protection of the ‘group’.

What kind of protection? Education, healthcare, law enforcement, a justice system, public transport, roads, jobs, homes, high tech gadgets, nightclubs, parties, power, food, clean water to drink and flush indoor toilets…

Now think about what would happen if all electricity stopped being produced for two weeks. Would you survive without light, aircon, heating, food delivered to supermarkets, rubbish removed from the streets, street lighting, access to hospitals, public transport etc etc.?

Some of you would, 99.9999999% of us wouldn’t.

All the protections I’ve listed plus thousands more are our reward for contributing to society and abiding by its rules. If we don’t want to abide by those rules we are free to find a desert island and live like savages.

If we can’t survive on our own, we have to accept that personal freedom, individual freedom can only exist within the context of a society of some sort. But that freedom must be earned.

How? Through social responsibility towards all members of society, even those you don’t personally care about.

Why? Because everyone will get old and sick eventually. If you want to be cared for when your time comes then you have to pay your dues now.

And finally a word about restrictions. Wearing a mask to protect yourself and others is not fun, but it’s miles better than dying of Covid. It’s also preferable to having your economy collapse because everyone is off work being sick.

Good hygiene is something everyone should practise all the time, not just when a pandemic hits. Not washing your hands after pointing percy at the porcelain, or wiping your bum, or picking your nose is disgusting. Only creeps do that. Yuck.

Keeping your distance from others so as not to spread the virus may not be ‘fun’. In fact, it can crimp your social life if clubbing or getting pissed at the pub are your favourite things in life. But keeping your distance from others won’t kill you. It could kill me, and dying is no fun either.

More to the point, dying is permanent. No coming back from the grave. No miraculous resurrections. Dead is dead is dead. Forever.

By contrast, missing out on your social life is temporary. Equating the two is like saying that stubbing your toe is as bad as having the whole leg amputated.

With the greatest respect, grow a pair and grow the fuck up.

Meeks

p.s. most of my data came from Statista.com or Wikipedia. Information on the oldest and youngest Vietnam death is from : https://www.uswings.com/about-us-wings/vietnam-war-facts/


BA.2 may be worse than BA.1

Bananas in Pajamas? No, BA.2 is a sub-variant of Omicron and it’s mooted to be even more infectious than other variants. Now there’s research coming out of Japan that suggests it could also be a whole lot more virulent:

‘When the researchers infected hamsters with BA.2 and BA.1, the animals infected with BA.2 got sicker and had worse lung function. In tissues samples, the lungs of BA.2-infected hamsters had more damage than those infected by BA.1.’

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/17/health/ba-2-covid-severity/index.html

The CNN article contains a link to the actual journal article so I clicked it. Doing so gave me access to the PDF of the research. I understood the abstract, kind-a, and the discussion, kind-a, not much in the middle, but what impressed me was the dogged persistence of the researchers. Every time their experiments came up with unexpected results, they changed the focus of the experiments to investigate the new leads…like detectives.

That dogged persistence, and the quality control the Japanese are known for, convinced me that this is no error-riddled study dashed off between breakfast and lunch. And that makes their conclusion even more chilling:

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.14.480335v1.full.pdf

If the Japanese research is confirmed, BA.2 could become our worst nightmare at a time when most states here in Australia are easing up on restrictions and opening their borders.

In NSW :

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-17/nsw-eases-covid-19-restrictions-face-masks-to-be-scaled-back/100839260

In Victoria, some restrictions on density and QR codes will be eased but ‘… mask requirements are to remain in place for the time being.’ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-17/victorian-government-covid-restrictions-new-deaths-cases/100838490

Thank you, Dan Andrews. At the rate that BA.2 is spreading, there should be definitive data available long before we throw caution to the winds.

“It looks like we might be looking at a new Greek letter here,” agreed Deborah Fuller, a virologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who reviewed the study but was not part of the research.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/17/health/ba-2-covid-severity/index.html

Since the beginning of February, 2022, Denmark has removed all pandemic restrictions. Denmark also happens to be the only country in Europe where BA.2 is well and truly the dominant strain. This is a graph of the death toll in Denmark:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/denmark/#graph-cases-daily

If you click the worldometers link and hover your mouse over the very end of the line on the graph, you will see that the data is for February 18, just two days ago. Only time will tell exactly how virulent BA.2 really is, but I’m not dumping my mask any time soon.

My thanks to Mole for bringing the Japanese research to my attention…our attention. Stay safe my friends.

Meeks


Covid19 – no herd immunity any time soon

The numbers are in: neither natural infection NOR vaccination will provide herd immunity in the near future.

Why? Because herd immunity implies permanent immunity, and it ain’t happenin’. BOTH types of immunity wane within a matter of months, not years.

Antibodies are produced after your body either fights off a natural infection or is immunized via vaccine. The numbers show that well over 90% of people 18 and over [in the UK] have already produced antibodies against Covid. As the vaccination rates are nowhere near that high, those figures must include people who have developed natural antibodies as well.

Yet infection rates are soaring.

Clearly herd immunity has not been achieved. Herd immunity describes what happens when a virus can’t spread because it keeps bumping up against people who are already immune to it. Those people provide a barrier between the virus and those who are not immune…the fresh meat.

We’ve known about the vaccines’ immunity waning since early 2021 when information started coming out of Israel about Pfizer, but we haven’t had definitive proof that natural infection waned as well. Now we do. Both types of immunity:

  • reduce the likelihood of death and/or severe disease,
  • but neither will last forever,
  • and neither will permanently stop the spread of infection:

In the video, Dr John shows that both UK health and the CDC in the US have admitted that herd immunity is most unlikely, at least in the near future. Covid19-Delta has become ‘endemic’ amongst all populations. We can hold it at bay, but strategies based on the concept of ‘herd immunity’ will fail.

What does that mean? It means that:

  • Covid19-Delta is here to stay.
  • Getting sick or getting vaccinated will only be a ‘Get out of Jail’ card for a short time – 4 to 6 months.
  • The fully vaccinated will require boosters for the foreseeable future.
  • The unvaccinated will continue to be at risk of serious disease and death because they will NOT be protected by the immunity of the herd.
  • Not immune people can be both the UNvaccinated and the FULLYvaccinated. The difference is that the FULLYvaccinated are much less likely to die.
  • Not keeping up with boosters is likely to dump people into the as-good-as-unvaccinated group when it comes to infection, hospitalisation and death.
  • Masks in high risk settings are likely to remain necessary.
  • Lockdowns in areas of high infection will become necessary as hospitals are overwhelmed.
  • Social unrest is likely to escalate.

It is disappointing. Very. Disappointing.

It’s also scary because the people who have been brainwashed into believing Covid is just some kind of global conspiracy will say “See, I told you it was all a con. They said the vaccines would make us safe and now they’re saying they won’t.” Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers will say “See, vaccines don’t work!”

The truth is rather more nuanced. Vaccines do make us safe, but not permanently. I think of it as a maintenance issue. When we first get new brake pads fitted to our cars, they work perfectly. With time and wear and tear, they work less and less well. If we don’t have them replaced, they’ll eventually wear out completely and then we’ll have a potentially fatal accident.

Sadly, that may be too logical an argument for those who’ve lost faith in public institutions. And science.

I’ve often wondered what it must have felt like in the past, when civilizations unravelled, when dystopia happened for real. Now I really don’t want to find out.

Meeks


Retail therapy at last!

Yes! I went shopping today. For the first time in over eight months. And yes, it was exhilarating. šŸ˜€

My little shopping expedition was also hot and sweaty because I decided to be daring and go for a walk first. Bad move. I parked at Bunnings and walked to Autobarn, a short hop…by car. What I’d forgotten was that most of the way to Autobarn was uphill, and guess who’s a wee bit out of shape?

By the time I’d walked back to Bunnings [wearing my surgical mask and one glove], I was literally dripping with sweat, and the inside of the mask felt like a wet towel. That said, the outside of the mask was quite dry, proving that it really does catch all those potentially toxic exhalations.

Anyway…one of the first things I saw inside Bunnings was a customer with his mask down under his chin, mooching around with a takeaway cup of coffee in his hand. After all the fear and stress of the last eight months, I totally lost it and told him off. He came back with ‘oh but you’re allowed to not wear a mask if your eating or drinking’. I politely suggested that he ‘eat or drink’ outside.

I know the restrictions have been eased, but this prick was deliberately abusing the privileges we’ve been given. I am so sick of selfish morons trying to find loop holes in rules designed to protect everyone. We’re virus free for the moment, but as South Australia discovered, all it takes is ONE idiot. Ahem…

Smarmy piece of shit aside, the whole setup at Bunnings was brilliant. One door to go in, a different door to go out, physical distancing lines painted on the floor leading to the checkouts. Staff all wearing masks and directing ‘traffic’. I felt quite safe, which is saying something. And I loved being able to select things for myself again. Online shopping is okay, but unless and until they make online shopping a virtual experience, it’s just not the same as being there.

Oh, and in case you’re all wondering what I actually bought? Well…I bought a trickle charger for the batteries that drive my fire-fighting pumps, a new 30 metre garden hose, a timer-tap so I can’t forget to turn off the tap, and a small sprinkler head to water the new veggie box.

Nothing exciting, I know, but I feel great anyway, and in a day or two I’m going to go out again to buy…bread. A beautiful Vienna with a crisp crust and a fluffy white interior:

The vienna has to be unsliced, of course, so we can pop it into a hot oven for a minute [to decontaminate] before slicing and smothering with fresh, cold butter….

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make us happy. šŸ™‚

cheers
Meeks


Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in….

The lyrics come from a very famous Fifth Dimension song, but this is not a post about music.

The Fifth Dimension

It’s a post about Covid-19 and an update on its spread, and how to live with it. And guess what? Sunshine really does make a difference, in ways that are not immediately obvious.

First up I’m going to start with some research conducted by the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, Geelong, VIC, Australia. As some of you know, my state of Victoria is at the centre of the largest outbreak in Australia. And we’re not over it [completely] yet.

What the Australian study did was to measure the infectiveness of the virus – ON SURFACES – in a rather unusual way. As the UV in light is known to kill viruses, the researchers conducted their study on the virus in the dark. They also controlled the temperature of the environment in which the virus was studied. Their results are interesting to say the least.

The following is a direct quote taken from those results :

‘viable virus was isolated for up to 28 days at 20 Ā°C from common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and both paper and polymer banknotes. Conversely, infectious virus survived less than 24 h at 40 Ā°C on some surfaces.’

https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7

For a more in-depth explanation of the study and what it found, please check out Dr John’s video.

For me, personally, these results are both good news and bad because we’ve been ‘isolating’ dry goods bought from the supermarket in the boot of the Offspring’s car. As the boot is dark, I immediately worried about how effective this isolation had been, especially as it’s been a cold winter here in Melbourne.

Then I realised that as neither one of us has become sick, the decon in the boot probably worked. A little later I realised why. The car is parked in the open so, although dark, the temperature in the boot would probably drop to about 5C at night and heat up past 20C during most of the day [the virus dislikes extremes of heat and cold]. Phew. Plus…masks have been mandated for most of this second wave so the chance of someone sneezing on my shopping before it arrives is that much less.

Keep all of that in mind as I tell you about the pandemic in Japan. A study conducted on working people in Tokyo found that despite the tiny death toll – under 2000 for the whole of Japan – close to 50% of those tested may have already been infected by the virus. For more on this please see Dr John’s video here or you can go direct to the study here.

There’s a lot to explain so I’ll try to keep it to the most important details. Firstly, the study was conducted during the summer months and the low death rate is partially backed up by data from the Western world where infection rates have also increased but without a corresponding increase in the death rate.

Doesn’t make sense, or does it?

If dark and temperate conditions keep the virus alive, the conditions in summer would do the exact opposite because people spend much more time outdoors…in the sunshine…with good ventilation. So even when they are exposed to the virus, their VIRAL LOAD is likely to be much less. And viral load determines how sick you’re likely to get.

But still, even taking the sunshine and heat and ventilation and viral load into consideration, why would the Japanese results be so extremely good despite no major lockdowns?

In Japan, the answer seems to be mostly cultural:

  • Wearing masks is normal.
  • Bowing instead of hugging or shaking hands is normal.
  • Not shouting and speaking quietly is normal.
  • Opening windows [good ventilation] is normal.
  • Supervised 14 day quarantine is strictly enforced.
  • And finally, obesity is very low in Japan. Obesity has been shown to be a major co-morbidity with the virus – i.e. you’re likely to get much sicker if you get the virus and you’re obese.

Putting it all together, cultural good practice means that the viral load is kept very low. And that means that the people who are infected are far more likely to have few symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Thus, lots of spread, but most people do not actually get sick, and those who do are much less likely to die.

If this is all true, and I think it is, then we here in Australia are going to get a reprieve over the summer months. Unfortunately, it also means that the northern hemisphere is going to be hit hard, again, especially as Western cultural practices make the virus so happy.

I can’t do anything about the northern hemisphere, but I can ask the people here in Melbourne two very simple questions:

  1. Even if you don’t believe the pandemic is real, would it really kill you to wear a mask? Not just now, when the State government has mandated that all of us must wear one in public, but after? Couldn’t you err on the side of caution, if not for yourself, then for the sick, the elderly and the disabled?
  2. Could you really live with yourself if someone you loved died, or developed a long term health problem because you put your convenience ahead of everything and everyone else?

Wearing a mask is such a small thing when compared to the horror of watching someone die.

love,
Meeks


Masks – how NOT to fog up

Yes, I admit it, I wear glasses, and yes they do fog up when I’m wearing a mask, so I thought this method looked promising. I haven’t tried it, yet, so I’d love some feedback:

cheers
Meeks


I love you Warrandyte!!!

Almost exactly a month ago, I drove in to Warrandyte to pick up some necessary prescriptions from the chemist. A month ago I was the only person wearing a mask.

Today…every. single. person. I. saw. was. wearing. a. MASK!

Thank you, just…thanks šŸ™‚

love
Meeks


For Victorians Only

If you thought you were safe from Covid-19 because you live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, or out bush somewhere, think again. DHHS publishes a table of case numbers by local government area, but the table is waaaaay down the very bottom of the daily report. I’m ashamed to say I only found it today myself, so I thought it might help if everyone could check their own area.

[Note: On the DHHS website, the table is sorted by number of cases. I copied the DHHS table and sorted it by locality to make it easier to find your own area]

New cases of Covid-19 by locality name

LGAConfirmed cases (ever)Active cases (current)
ALPINE10
ARARAT50
BALLARAT2411
BANYULE288147
BASS COAST61
BAW BAW93
BAYSIDE6326
BENALLA30
BOROONDARA15152
BRIMBANK730481
BULOKE00
CAMPASPE50
CARDINIA5324
CASEY296149
CENTRAL GOLDFIELDS10
COLAC OTWAY4646
CORANGAMITE10
DAREBIN19391
EAST GIPPSLAND21
FRANKSTON6218
GANNAWARRA20
GLEN EIRA9028
GLENELG65
GOLDEN PLAINS96
GREATER BENDIGO144
GREATER DANDENONG11884
GREATER GEELONG10429
GREATER SHEPPARTON171
HEPBURN20
HINDMARSH00
HOBSONS BAY13373
HORSHAM107
HUME728338
INDIGO00
INTERSTATE857
KINGSTON8242
KNOX5526
LATROBE134
LODDON41
MACEDON RANGES188
MANNINGHAM9340
MANSFIELD41
MARIBYRNONG205117
MAROONDAH4020
MELBOURNE542281
MELTON318195
MILDURA50
MITCHELL349
MOIRA110
MONASH11849
MOONEE VALLEY473227
MOORABOOL129
MORELAND429238
MORNINGTON PENINSULA8014
MOUNT ALEXANDER71
MOYNE10
MURRINDINDI20
NILLUMBIK5524
NORTHERN GRAMPIANS30
OVERSEAS50
PORT PHILLIP11142
PYRENEES00
QUEENSCLIFFE00
SOUTH GIPPSLAND94
SOUTHERN GRAMPIANS20
STONNINGTON15539
STRATHBOGIE20
SURF COAST144
SWAN HILL62
TOTAL77443995
TOWONG00
UNKNOWN4946
WANGARATTA20
WARRNAMBOOL50
WELLINGTON130
WEST WIMMERA10
WHITEHORSE9749
WHITTLESEA379245
WODONGA10
WYNDHAM756474
YARRA218126
YARRA RANGES5726
YARRIAMBIACK10

I live in the Shire of Nillumbik, and guess what? Yup, we have 24 active cases. I was shocked. This virus is spreading like a grass fire.

And now a basic little chart of how the new cases have been rising since May 1, 2020 [that’s when I started recording daily cases on my spreadsheet].

This is a link to the Daniel Andrews update posted 2 hours ago. In that update he confirms that one of the men who succumbed to Covid-19 overnight was in his 40s. Bear that in mind as you read the rest of this post.

And finally a plea : if you won’t wear a mask to protect others, please wear one to protect yourself.

Quite apart from the threat of fines, evidence is growing of long term health problems in many of those who get Covid-19 and recover. According to data from Italy, 87% of recovered patients in the study had some symptoms/health problems for up to 2 months afterwards. Only 13% reported no symptoms/problems at all.

The following graphic is a screenshot taken from the Med Cram video on ‘Long Haulers’ – i.e. those who continue to have symptoms after the virus is gone:

The next graphic is from the same Med Cram video:

Breakdown of data regarding Covid-19 ‘Long Haulers’

What the graphic shows is the breakdown of the data. These are the important bits:

  • 143 recovered patients were studied
  • all of the patients were sick enough to be admitted to hospital
  • the median age of the patients in the study was 56 [median means that there were just as many patients younger than 56 as there were older than 56. So it’s not an ‘average’]
  • 13% of patients studied had no symptoms/health problems after recovering from the virus
  • 32% had 1-2 symptoms/health problems for up to 2 months after recovering from the virus
  • 55% had 3 or more symptoms/health problems for up to 2 months after recovering from the virus.

So, if you get sick enough to be hospitalised, you’re going to feel pretty awful for quite some time afterwards. But who is this ‘you’?

To find out, I searched for ‘long haulers’ and ‘covid-19’ on Youtube. I found so much more than I ever expected. This video is about a 38 year old woman who’s been battling the after effects of Covid-19 for months:

This next video gives some info about how many ‘long haulers’ there are:

We have to rethink our response to Covid-19. It is not just a danger to ‘oldies’. It is not just a danger to people with co-morbidities. It is a danger to all of us, of any age.

Next time you go out, ask yourself if you want to become one of the ‘long haulers’. If the answer is no, wear a mask and stay away from those who don’t.

cheers
Meeks


Covid-19 and ventilation

Just a very quick update regarding the possibility of viral spread via air conditioning in close, confined spaces:

I remember some years back there were a spate of Legionnaire Disease outbreaks caused by contaminated air conditioning units. You’d hope that the technology has improved since then, but if it hasn’t, then shopping malls, supermarkets, trains, trams, buses etc could be pathways for the spread of this virus.

If true, the wearing of masks becomes even more important.

cheers
Meeks


Covid-19 – To mask or not to mask?

I had no intention of posting today, but I believe this video by Dr John Campbell is so important, everyone should see it. And then perhaps we should demand that our governments do something useful to reduce the rate of Covid-19 infection. But first the video:

If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ve cherry picked what I believe are the most important points. First up, a study that shows we’ve been under estimating the distance the virus can spread:

According to this data, the 1.5 metres advocated by most governments is not enough, even just for breathing, especially in confined spaces like public transport.

Next up is a study using hamsters. And yes, they can get Covid-19 just like us. What the researchers did was to set up two cages, side by side. One cage was ‘masked’ and infected hamsters were placed inside [cage on the left]. Non-infected hamsters were placed in the second cage [cage on the right]. Then, a fan was used to blow air from the infected [but masked] cage across to the uninfected cage. This is what you see in the top row of the dinky graphic below:

The result was that only 15% of uninfected hamsters became infected. Remember that their cage was not masked.

The second row of the graphic shows a similar setup, except that this time, only the cage of uninfected hamsters is masked. The result is that 33% – i.e. more than double the previous number – of the hamsters were infected, despit their cage being masked.

The reason? Because ordinary masks aren’t fine enough to filter out the tiny droplets of the infection.

Now let’s extrapolate to you and me. If I’m infected and you’re not, but you are wearing a mask, there’s still a 33% chance that I’ll infect you just by talking to you, or by leaving droplets of infection on surfaces you may touch. But if I’m the one wearing the mask, almost all of the virus I breathe out will be trapped inside my mask, so it can’t reach you.

Now, if both you and I are wearing masks, the likelihood of infection plummets. You can find Dr John’s very good explanation at 13:26 of the video.

Still not convinced? Then look at the countries that have done best during this pandemic. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand etc have all managed to protect both their people and their economies from the ravages of Covid-19, yet they don’t have vaccines or special treatments. All they have is what is available to us as well – good hygiene, social distancing, and a culture that’s okay with wearing masks in public.

If 80% of people wore masks [of any sort, even home made ones] in public, we could stop this pandemic in its tracks and reopen our countries safely. Instead, here in the West, we’re reopening on a wing and a prayer. We hope that people will continue social distancing and doing the right thing…pfffft.

Just last night I heard a really loud party going on here in Warrandyte. If the volume of screams and laughter were anything to go by, the party goers were drunk, and having a very good time indeed. Of course they were social distancing…yeah, right.

We’ve proved, time and time again, that we can’t be trusted to do the right thing. Yet governments are basing their hopes on us, and a dinky app that will, supposedly, make it easier to track infected contacts? Puleeze.

I believe that mask wearing has not been mandated because:

  • making self indulgent people wear masks would be like herding cats, and
  • the governments of our countries actually want us to keep infecting each other…just not too much. They don’t want our hospitals overwhelmed, they just want enough of us to get sick so we develop ‘herd immunity’.

But…

‘Researchers think that the R0 for COVID-19 is between 2 and 3. This means that one person can infect two to three other people. It also means 50% to 67% of the population would need to be resistant before herd immunity kicks in and the infection rates start to go down.’

https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-is-herd-immunity#1

The trouble is, even the places with the highest rates of infection so far, the so called ‘hot spots’, have nowhere near the 50-67% infection rate needed for herd immunity. For example, New York has an estimated infection rate of only 13.9%. https://www.chron.com/news/article/Cuomo-13-9-percent-tested-positive-COVID-19-15221278.php

This means that people will have to be infected for years in order to reach herd immunity. Years of continued deaths, years of the vulnerable having to live in a bubble because every single person they meet could be a spreader. Years of the hospital systems having to cope with an ongoing pandemic…and that’s the best case scenario.

The worst case scenario is that the virus will quickly slip its leash and spread like wildfire through the uninfected parts of our populations. Given how little immunity those populations currently have, that means pretty much everyone. At once. As Italy proved, no health care system can cope with such a demand.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We could follow the example of our Asian neighbours and wear masks until an effective vaccine can be developed. Once there is a vaccine, reaching that magical 50-67% required for herd immunity would be a snap. We could all be protected, and no one would have to be sacrificed ‘for the economy’. This is the Plan B our governments want to ignore.

So the question is this, are we okay with the arrogant assumption of government that they can ‘control’ this virus? Or would we prefer to wear masks until plan B can take effect? I know which plan I prefer.

Meeks


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