My Position on Wearing Face Masks During the COVID Pandemic

Full Disclosure: Throughout the pandemic, I have sold disposable and reusable face masks to retailers.

If you want to wear a mask, have at it. There is a measure of protection to be gained by wearing quality masks. Medical professionals and surgeons wear face masks for good reason.

The highest preventative use of wearing a face mask is to discourage the mask wearer from touching their face with their hands. I know this, because I am in the mask business, and buy masks from domestic and overseas manufacturers who know what masks are good for.

What Dr. Fauci said in March 2020, is rational medical common sense:

While masks may block some droplets, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences.

Dr. Fauci downplayed masks at that time because the scientific community knows full well masks are not a silver bullet. This is why WHO, Trump’s Surgeon General, and Dr. Fauci all were not gung ho on wearing masks at the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID exploded in the USA in March 2020, and since then, the nation has gone overboard on mask guidance and mandates. Getting back to red state vs. blue states. Red states tend to be more supportive of freedom and the individual making their own decisions, while blue states are more attracted to driving mandates.

Like with no Federal mandate on vaccinations, outside Federal jurisdiction, there will be no Federal mandate on wearing masks. Up to states, cities, and businesses to determine if they want to drive mandates.

I don’t care if you wear a mask, and I don’t think young children should be wearing masks. I’m mostly opposed to ridiculous, unscientific mask fearmongering that does NOT serve the public good and infringes on individual freedom.

Want to buy a mask?

Photo Credit: AP

The CDC Overreacted

Was challenged yesterday to make sure I got my facts right on this CDC guidance story. Here’s some backup, where you can take a deeper dive into the data:

From Erick Erickson

Turns out the panic from the CDC that got cities across America to reimpose mask mandates turns out to be highly misguided. It turns out the data from Provincetown, MA is strikingly good for vaccinated Americans. The CDC overreacted.

From Ingu Yun

This CDC report is not a controlled study. This was an exceptional circumstance in an exceptional location.

Photo Credit: News4Jax

Sunday Morning COVID Theater

On Friday CNN wrote “A new study shows the Delta Covid-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected — illustrating a key motivation behind the federal guidance that now recommends most fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors.

The study, published by CDC Friday, describes 469 Massachusetts residents who were infected in a July outbreak in Barnstable County, which includes the summer vacation destination Provincetown. No deaths were reported among them.”

Here’s how this is playing out:

Photo: Shutterstock

Delta Variant Trends: Just the Facts (w/ Chart)

New Mask Guidance from CDC

In what is now considered to be a huge failure for the Biden Presidency:

From CNN:

“The CDC is also urging vaccinated people in certain areas of the country to resume wearing masks because of Covid-19.

The new guidance comes about two months after President Joe Biden declared it a “great day in America” when the CDC revised its mask guidelines for vaccinated people and reflects a psychological setback.”

America, Vaccines, and What the Data Tells Us

Emperor Hirohito and General MacArthur in Tokyo, Japan in 1945. Photo: U.S. Army

In August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing up to 250,000 people, effectively ending World War ll.

Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, and brought a terrible war to much of Asia and throughout the Pacific. It is said up to 30 million Asians may have died at the hands of the Japanese leading up to and during the second World War.

Soon after Japan’s surrender, General Douglas MacArthur would rule the Japanese for the next five years as the United States transitioned the once hostile war driven Third World nation into a world class First World nation.

MacArthur brought Americanism to Japan, giving the Japanese a humane Constitution, ending enslavement, police oppression, thought control, centuries of a brutal feudalistic government, and lifting the nation out of the ashes of their own self inflicted defeat for a second chance.

Know what else USA did for Japan? We vaccinated the nation in a massive way.

In his book Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote, “Diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid—diseases which had all but disappeared in the United States by 1920—were still epidemic in Japan in 1945. Tuberculosis was almost a national scourge. I sought immediately to improve this situation. With the help and co-operation of American medical authorities, the Japanese people were given what amounted to a mass inoculation and vaccination. In three years, we vaccinated 70,000,000 for smallpox and succeeded in curbing the disease which had been rampant.”

People forget, or never knew there was a time when horrible diseases afflicted the world causing massive sickness and death.

When we talk about legit heroes that humanity has mostly forgotten about, and most will never know what they truly did for us in their contributions in discovering vaccines, there is Pasteur (France), and Jenner (England), and in America, Maurice Hilleman developed vaccines for measles, hepatitis, chickenpox, and mumps. And of course Jonas Salk announced a polio vaccine in 1953.

I am near 100% pro-vaccination. Provided the vaccine has been thoroughly tested, is FDA approved for safety, and the vaccine rollout is rational.

COVID-19 is a serious, contagious disease, and legit pandemic. Science and medical doctors know who are most susceptible to the worst risks of COVID. They are the elderly, diabetics, and people who are overweight.

COVID vaccines are still experimental vaccines, not approved by the FDA. At this time, maybe up to 80 million adult Americans are choosing to not get vaccinated because they have legit safety concerns, and are exercising their Constitutional right to not get vaccinated (on a Federal level), and it’s driving the establishment crazy.

As President Biden’s approval #’s are dropping, government wants to censor people accused of vaccine misinformation, which is not what America is about. Maybe this why Biden’s polling tanked this week.

When someone in the media says 1 million people have died because of COVID vaccines, that is inaccurate, and reckless, but it is still protected free speech. The claim should be disputed, and definitively proven wrong. So how many people have died from directly COVID vaccines in America? No one knows for sure, but numbers of 4000 to 9000 deaths (and higher) are out there.

There is data available on the vaccine rollout from VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).

The Oregonian on May 26, 2021 citing the VAERS database: “If you select “COVID-19 vaccines” and “deaths” in the database today, you will get just over 4,000 results.” Link

I went to VAERS and downloaded 2021 vaccine data and counted up 418,781 reports of side effects reported from COVID vaccines.

Ray Sahelian M.D. a well respected medical doctor is monitoring VAERS, and writing about his observations on the COVID vaccines. Dr. Sahelian has legit concerns about the vaccines, and the unknowns which he writes extensively about on his website.

Dr. Sahelian writes: “I have reviewed thousands of case reports on the CDC VAERS vaccine injury reporting government website; reviewed the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca side effect reports during the trials; read countless news articles and published medical articles; and also read countless case reports on several online groups where people mention their reactions to the Covid-19 vaccines. I have a good understanding of the types of side effects that are occurring.”

America is in the middle of an experimental vaccine rollout as the Delta variant is seeing a surge, but at this time, case positives are rising, while data on hospitalizations and fatalities are less severe. Why is this? Not sure, but if trends hold, might be because millions have been vaccinated, and many of the highest at risk have been vaccinated too.

America brought to market multiple vaccines in record time, and mobilized to deliver an impressive war effort level rollout, but the vaccines are still not FDA approved and vaccine hesitancy is a logical outcome.

Add to this, a recent poll (conducted on 7/12-7/13) by the Trafalgar Group (considered a very good poll) said that 71.4% of “American voters believe taking the COVID vaccines should be a personal choice, not mandatory.”

Fortunately, the United States is a Federalist government with laws that protect us from more irrational lockdowns like other nations are doing again. Some states may drive new mask mandates. Others won’t.

Where do I stand on COVID vaccines?

Do I think people will drop dead from vaccines? A tiny percentage could be at risk. There are side effects. Some unpleasant, and severe. Not everyone experiences side effects.There are long term unknowns. But for people who’ve been vaccinated, and who got past the first 2-4 weeks without severe reactions (or worse), it is expected you have immunity to the worst effects of COVID.

The COVID vaccines should be FDA approved, ASAP!

Sunday Morning Talking Points: A COVID Vaccine Reality Check

Photo Credit: WedMD

On Friday, even with the success of 68% of U.S. adults getting vaccinated, but not actually meeting their 70% goal, the Biden Administration dinged itself when calling for censorship of misinformation on social media; which is seen as an incredibly inappropriate for any American Presidential administration to do.

President Biden would say of social media platforms, “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.”

Via USA Today, “In a statement, Facebook, said that the company won’t be “distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts.”

First. The free flow of information is a huge component of America’s First Amendment. You simply can’t stop this. Sometimes government experts (with a political agenda) are wrong, and too arrogant to correct the record. Sometimes alternative voices make good points that need to be heard.

Anti-vaxxers are protected by the First Amendment. Doesn’t mean they are always right, but sometimes they aren’t wrong. Vaccinations are a deeply personal issue to millions of Americans, many with children. There is clear court/legal precedent on how vaccines work in USA, and the Federal Government can NOT force Americans to get vaccinated.

I support most standard vaccinations and know (because I study history), if we didn’t have vaccinations in USA, we would be a third world nation with a high mortality rate from many horrible diseases. We often take for granted how important vaccinations are to the human species.

The reality check here is about 30% of the adult population are not interested in taking COVID vaccines (at this time) and for most, that decision is probably solid.

And yes, there are some well respected, credible MDs who are COVID vaccine skeptical, and sometimes anti-vaxxers who, right or wrong, are out there driving caution, at times with rational insights, and at times with some kooky takes.

Why the vaccine hesitancy with this near 30% of adults? Here’s a few reasons:

1. These are still experimental vaccines. Not FDA approved. Vaccines were rushed to market without years of safety trials.

2. There are a statistical amount of side effects and fatalities attributed to COVID vaccines. Truth is, there are unknowns and some risks involved in taking the vaccines.

3. Children don’t need to be taking the COVID vaccine, and part of the reason those near 30% adults aren’t getting vaccinated, is because habitually wrong experts can’t admit this. Many parents simply do not want to inject their children with an experimental vaccine (not FDA approved). Nor does credible science say vaccinating children is needed. This isn’t polio, smallpox, typhoid, or diphtheria. It is rational to protect children!

4. With a near 70% success rate, some government officials are starting to come off as too aggressive in their push to drive up vaccine success statistics. One hundred years after the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, at a Federal level, those near 30% adults have the law on their side in choosing to not get vaccinated.

No one can deny that in the 2020 election season COVID was used as a political weapon, in an attempt to transform the nation. In 2021 a COVID fatigued nation (near 70% adults vaccinated) wants to move on.

Current COVID death toll is nowhere near 2020 levels, and hospitals not overwhelmed.

Everyone should take a chill pill.

These would be good reality check talking points for Sunday AM media interviews.

Mask Hypocrisy

In March 2020, Dr. Fauci said, “While masks may block some droplets, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences.”

Months later, wearing masks has become a political flashpoint issue as COVID cases have yet to recede in parts of the nation, but here is Dr. Fauci yesterday at a baseball game after throwing out the first pitch, now not wearing his mask, and not social distancing.

America has a Federalist government, meaning that the Federal government does not exercise central control over our 50 states, but works in conjunction with the states, who also have their own Constitutional and state level powers. In times of a pandemic, states do have police power, and can make their own decisions on mask mandates.

Federally, there is no national mask mandate, even though many want this in a bad way. It continues to be this writer’s opinion that COVID is a contagious virus, we know who is most vulnerable to COVID related illness and they should be protected, but for a nation the size of America where infections are not soaring everywhere, it is important to keep perspective and a cool head, and not impose mandates on everyone to be politically correct.

While caution is wise, the COVID-19 hysteria continues to be severely overhyped.

If you want to wear a mask, have at it. But please don’t be a hypocrite.

Fauci USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

Social Distancing: There are two sides to this coin

All in the family gif

Social distancing is a deeply personal and public issue, and our society and much of the civilized world has chosen to close down for safety reasons.

COVID-19 is a contagious disease. Back in January when Coronavirus became international news, people were thinking the disease had an RO of 3.8. Now it’s considered to be 2.0 to 2.5 RO. (RO is mathematical for determining how quick a disease spreads and reproduces itself)

There is some wisdom to social distancing. Obviously, with such a contagious disease, we want to avoid people who are sick. If you are sick, everyone agrees, quarantine yourself. Isolate the vulnerable elderly.

That said, and I know this is going to come off as controversial in a time when most states are shut down to some extent, but I’m observing when governments force social distancing on major cities, if enough people are infected in that city, forced social distancing can dramatically drive up case and death toll #’s as families huddle together, like we’re seeing in New York City.

Allow me to explain.

The current epicenter of Coronavirus cases in America is in Corona (Queens), NY. That’s an interesting enough coincidence, and it got me digging into demographics and trends.

Corona (Queens) was the fictional setting for the 1970’s television show ‘All in the Family’, which at the time was a cultural blockbuster hit, with over 60 million Americans tuning in to watch each week.

The opening credits of All in the Family had Archie and Edith Bunker singing the opening show theme as the camera hovered over New York City, eventually zooming into Queens, and ending at the Bunker House. Can see the opening theme on the below GIF. And as an All in the Family fan, I’ve been to the Bunker house that was used in the credits.

Two weeks ago I began arguing that the trends show Coronavirus clusters were showing up in densely populated residential areas. The All in the Family opening (into Corona) credits shows exactly what I’m talking about.

Higher case trends in the New Orleans region is another example. After mass crowds were shoulder to shoulder at Mardi Gras in February, the locals went back to their homes not far away and mostly spread the virus to family members.

The media doesn’t talk about this, but it’s become clear to doctors in NYC (who are learning more and more about Coronavirus each day), that the vast majority of Coronavirus cases are spreading at home, among families living together in those homes. Not just in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens), but overseas, in densely populated ares of Spain, France, Italy and China, where strict social distancing orders went in place in the last 1-3 months. These NYC doctors working at the big hospitals are seeing large amounts of sick patients each day, and are coming to their own conclusions on what the trends are, and how the virus is spread.

What we’re hearing now, is transmission of Coronavirus is more likely to happen when a person touches or is in sustained contact (15 to 30 minutes) with an infected person who has symptoms (fever, aches), or that infected person is 1-2 days away from getting sick.

Nothing new here, but the quickest way to get infected (if you’ve been in contact with an infected person is to touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth). So washing hands, and using hand sanitizer are highly recommended, and there is sound wisdom there.

Also, becoming clearer for some, that if you are sick, NYC doctors appear to prefer folks go to the hospital for evaluation if you have shortness of breath. Having a fever, and aches can be symptoms of COVID-19, but most people are not going to get sick from COVID, and more likely will have the cold or flu. Shortness of breath is when things are considered to be problematic. Also, for the statistically tiny % of the population that gets really sick from COVID-19, you really don’t want to be on a ventilator.

Rare for me to make such a statement, but if someone is that sick, options could be tough. Some may well consider taking something like Hydroxycloroquine that has some side effects, vs. going on a ventilator, and being heavily sedated for 7-10 days in a near coma. If a really sick person goes on a ventilator, and they are lucky, maybe they’ll come out of the experience not the same, but still alive.

Which brings me to the COVID-19 models, which are only as good as the best data, and the data has been lousy. In January, when ‘the experts’ thought COVID-19 was 3.8 RO, they were also saying 65 million people would die (globally). I documented this on Jan 25, and referenced that statistic for this post. Then last month, the experts said 1-2 million people could die, and showed those models to states and cities who hysterically shut down their economies, and now we’re near shut down as a nation. The Global death toll today is 82,191.

The most cited model now (IHME) projects (In USA, not globally) near 82,000 will die by August 4. Now everyone is dramatically scaling back their projections on death toll, hospitalizations, # of needed ventilators, to # of infected. Why? As I pointed out in my Detroit post on March 30, not every city is as densely populated as New York City. And, for a big region to see a spike in cases, need a lot of people infected in one densely populated area. That’s not happening everywhere.

I’m arguing, in a major city like New York City, after 1-2 months of mass transit closeness (subway, cab, uber, rail, etc), where people traveled together for sustained periods of time and got infected, once the state social distancing orders went into effect, masses of people were forced to stay at home in densely populated residential neighborhoods, with lots of families living together, and then things got really bad, really quick. Notice how NYC and Italy soon exploded in cases and death tolls when the lockdowns began?

Even as models are now scaling back the apocalyptic projections, the IHME model (subject to change based on new data) is saying this for peak dates, and death toll projections:

New York (Peaks tomorrow): Near 16,000 deaths by Aug 4.
New Jersey: (Peaks on April 11): Near 5300 deaths by Aug 4
Michigan (Peaks tomorrow): Near 2300 deaths by Aug 4
Louisiana (Peaked April 4): Near 850 deaths by Aug 4
Colorado (Peaked April 4) Near 300 deaths by Aug 4
California: (Peaks on April 13): Near 1600 deaths by Aug 4
Washington: (Peaked on April 2): Near 700 deaths by Aug 4

Model Link: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

We’re still in a national emergency, and will be for awhile, but trends, data and reality are going to become clearer and clearer in coming weeks, and millions of people are going to be asking tough questions about why this happened, and I’m arguing a day of reckoning for the experts could be coming.

So here we are now. Many businesses have shut down, 10 million (minimum) Americans are out of work, we’re likely into a severe recession (or worse), and many businesses (and retailers) have invested and implemented social distancing guidelines, and overhauled their operations for public safety, and that’s the way it needs to be for now.

But I’m arguing, by simple observation, that as the experts who predicted mass death are now scaling back their projections, and have to save face by saying social distancing is working (and it does to a point), on simple observation, forced social distancing IS also the spark that makes the pandemic explode in big, densely populated cities.

COVID-19 is a contagious disease. There are no easy answers.

There are probably going to be several more smaller COVID-19 peaks through 2021. And we need to reopen our economy, and be smarter about trends, why some big cities see explosions in cases and death tolls (and most don’t), transmission realities, and how to do social distancing reasonably, so we don’t have a multi-year year severe recession, or economic depression.

Gif: All in the Family Opening/Theme (Top)
Photo: All in the Family House, near 50 years later (Photo Credit: Me)
All in the family