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The vital importance of wearing masks

Monday, May 4, 2020

* From a team of scientists writing in the Atlantic

Research shows that even a cotton mask dramatically reduces the number of virus particles emitted from our mouths—by as much as 99 percent. This reduction provides two huge benefits. Fewer virus particles mean that people have a better chance of avoiding infection, and if they are infected, the lower viral-exposure load may give them a better chance of contracting only a mild illness. […]

Every infectious disease has a reproduction rate, called R. When it’s 1.0, that means the average infected person infects one other person. The 1918 pandemic flu had an R of 1.8—so one infected person infected, on average, almost two others. COVID-19’s rate, in the absence of measures such as social distancing and masks, is at least 2.4. A disease dies out if its R falls under 1.0. The lower the number, the faster it dies out. […]

Models show that if 80 percent of people wear masks that are 60 percent effective, easily achievable with cloth, we can get to an effective R0 of less than one. That’s enough to halt the spread of the disease. … Mask use in combination with physical distancing is even more powerful. […]

For example, in Hong Kong, only four confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, despite high density, mass transportation, and proximity to Wuhan. Hong Kong’s health authorities credit their citizens’ near-universal mask-wearing as a key factor (surveys show almost 100 percent voluntary compliance). Similarly, Taiwan ramped up mask production early on and distributed masks to the population, mandating their use in public transit and recommending their use in other public places—a recommendation that has been widely complied with. The country continues to function fully, and their schools have been open since the end of February, while their death total remains very low, at only six. In the Czech Republic, masks were not used during the initial outbreak, but after a grassroots campaign led to a government mandate on March 18, masks in public became ubiquitous. The results took a while to be reflected in the official statistics: The first five days of April still saw an average of 257 new cases and nine deaths per day, but the most recent five days of data show an average of 120 new cases and five deaths per day. Of course, we can’t know for sure to what degree these success stories are because of masks, but we do know that in every region that has adopted widespread mask-wearing, case and death rates have been reduced within a few weeks.

More here and here.

According to Worldometers, the Czech Republic’s COVID-19 death rate is 23 per million people. The US death rate is 209 per million. Illinois’ is 204.

This is exactly why Rep. Mark Batinick pushed so hard for a mandatory mask requirement.

* But

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday that his order requiring state residents to wear face masks went “too far.”

DeWine announced April 27 that face masks must be worn in stores — but after some Ohioans found the order “offensive,” he reversed himself the next day.

* Also

An emergency proclamation issued Thursday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, requiring the use of face masks in stores and restaurants was amended Friday after threats of violence.

“In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse,” Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement.

“In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm. This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of Covid-19.”

* Meanwhile, in Illinois…


* Public Radio

A spokesperson for the ACLU of Illinois said courts have ruled that laws can be set in the name of public health, which makes Governor J.B. Pritzker’s order on face coverings enforceable.

Ed Yohnka said precedent has been set with vaccination requirements at public schools being imposed because they are considered to be for the good of public health.

“The important thing is that businesses and others can enforce the order, but they ought to do so with a recognition that there’s a lot of different kinds of face coverings, and that it shouldn’t be a reason for police interaction. And it shouldn’t be a reason for discrimination,” Yohnka said.

But

Meantime, grocery stores cannot force people to wear masks while shopping, said Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association

“Obviously they’re gonna be complying with the request. They are gonna have to put up signs to ask people to comply. There will be some issues in terms of enforcement. I think there’s confusion. Some people thought that think that we can deny access, we can’t do that legally. So we’re not gonna be able to be the police in this matter. But local law enforcement certainly can,” Karr said.

A store is private property. There are, of course, reasonable public accommodation laws on the books, but anyone who believes they have a right to walk onto someone else’s property and not obey the owner’s rules is just not thinking right.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

43 Comments
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    This complaining shouldn’t even be a thing. Show some basic decency and respect for the workers and your fellow shoppers.


  2. - Masking - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    Can’t figure out IRMA’s position. I’m with Rich. It’s private property. A rule that applies equally to all customers seems to be easily justified.

    I think a lot of this is overblown and I want to see businesses begin reopening. But a big part of that is businesses being able to open on their terms that their employees and customers feel comfortable with.


  3. - FormerGOPer - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    I’m sure many of the people who believe their rights are being violated would be the first to call the cops if a nudist was walking down the street.


  4. - Perrid - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    At Walmart the other day, May 2nd, they had a worker in the front area, with the carts, telling people they couldn’t come in if they didn’t have a face covering. IRMA’s statement seems to suggest that that was (somehow) not legal? I don’t understand that. The old “No shirt, no shoes, no service” line would apply just the same here, right?


  5. - Anotheretiree - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    I felt early on this was also airborne spread. The Diamond Princess passengers kept getting infected even though they were cabin isolated. My only complaint with Fauci and company was their discounting masks early on. I thought people in Asia were on to something with their mask wearing. Mask wearing is a way out of the economic damage from the shut down.


  6. - Nick Name - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    This is what decades of immersing yourself in right wing media does: it turns you into a thumb-sucker about “My rights!” No sense whatsoever of our obligations to others, or of the common good.


  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    ===if a nudist was walking down the street===

    I cannot believe that made it past my comment screens. lol


  8. - Pundent - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    =My only complaint with Fauci and company was their discounting masks early on.=

    Part of the problem is that we keep referring to these as “masks” which has a specific connotation. And “masks” are generally unavailable and that was the prime motivation for Fauci and others not requiring them. We should have been referring to them as face coverings all along. Even better we could have used the DPA to address this problem. Ramping up large scale domestic production of masks should not be a problem in this country. I’d like to see them as readily available at the entrance of stores as disinfectant wipes. I’ll continue to wear my own bandanna and mask religiously. It’s the least we can do.

    What’s occurred in Ohio and Oklahoma is tragic and likely the result of a belligerent minority who’s being allowed to place the greater health of the state at risk.


  9. - Dave Dahl - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2NaHBVVYzY


  10. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    Federal and state assistance programs and discrimination laws, rules and regulations and the liabilities that come with those laws, rules, and regulations are not put on hold because of the pandemic. It appears IRMA and the Governor’s Office have attempted to implement a balanced approach that recognizes a retailer’s social responsibly under the current pandemic with the legal responsibility under the aforementioned laws, rules and regulations.

    It is up to local officials and consumers to do their part as well. I will not hold my breath.


  11. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:47 pm:

    Also, do what Ron Burgundy suggests and businesses won’t be put in a bad situation.

    =Show some basic decency and respect for the workers and your fellow shoppers.=


  12. - Thomas Paine - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    If you can refuse someone service for not wearing a shirt or shoes, you can refuse them service and ask them to leave for not wearing a mask. if they refuse to leave, it’s trespassing.

    i can understand retail staff not wanting to enforce it. if I were Jewel, etc, i would use paid security. Tell people they can leave quietly and if they want to fo get a mask and come back, great. But if i am going to have to call the police we are also banning you from the store permanently.


  13. - Pyrman - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Business’s that don’t urge/force mask wearing won’t get my business now or in the future.


  14. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    ==if a nudist was walking down the street==

    Beat me to it. Why am I forced to wear clothes by all of these businesses?


  15. - Excitable Boy - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    - lotta folks asking to speak to a manager to lodge a freedom complaint -

    You couldn’t make up a parody this good.


  16. - Twirling Towards Freedom - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    The irony of libertarians arguing that private property owners can’t set rules for entry to their own property is just too rich.


  17. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    “it turns you into a thumb-sucker about “My rights!” No sense whatsoever of our obligations to others, or of the common good”

    That about describes it. On top of that these are the “back the blue” types who hate authority now but scream law and order at POC (and they tell us they’re not racist).


  18. - Jocko - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Do these ’strict constitutionalists’ realize public health is at stake? I’m curious what their response would be if I brought in spoiled food or chose to publically relive myself in a place of business.


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    ==“In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse,” Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement.

    “In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm…”==

    Lock them up, lock them up…


  20. - fedup - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    anon 12:56 was me


  21. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    For those of you who think this is cut and dry, please consider the following:

    Pursuant to federal regulations, retailers cannot deny entry to consumers who are recipients of federal food assistance programs—such as SNAP or WIC. Nor can the retailer ask the consumer if they are recipients of a federal program. Therefore retailers could not know they are refusing a SNAP or WIC recipient.

    Under Illinois and federal law, pharmacies are prohibited from refusing service to a Medicaid or Medicare patient, such as prescriptions. As you know, pharmacies are located in many retail stores. Again, a retailer is prohibited from asking a consumer if they are a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary upon entry.

    Denying entry to anyone who may fall into a protected class—such as a minority, disabled individual, religious person—is an extraordinarily risky proposition from a legal exposure standpoint. And we have already established that there are not always reasonable consumers that present themselves at businesses during the pandemic.

    As of now, there has been no mechanism to relieve businesses from potential liability under the aforementioned laws and regulations.

    Also, in Michigan a Dollar General employee was shot in the face for denying entry to a consumer (I acknowledge this is an extreme example).

    So a retailers hesitancy may be warranted in this situation.


  22. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    The entire legal history of American jurisprudence is based on common sense.


  23. - burbanite - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:11 pm:

    Allin I disagree with your analogy. The customers would not be prohibited b/c they are Medicade or Medicare, they would be denied b/c they refuse to wear a mask. They do however need to provide for those who cannot wear masks b/c of medical conditions. You can’t discriminate against protective classes b/c of their status in the class. But that does not mean you cannot deny them for completely unrelated reasons. The only way it is problematic is if they deny poc color who don’t wear masks but not white ppl for example.


  24. - Pundent - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:15 pm:

    =Do these ’strict constitutionalists’ realize public health is at stake?=

    I think for these strict constitutionalists much of this is rooted in “you can’t tell me what to do.” I don’t think they weigh the consequences because they simply don’t care. They want to “end the lockdown” but don’t want to take any of the basic steps that would make that possible.


  25. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    Burbanite, you are beginning to see the frustration of businesses. A businesses can have their WIC, SNAP, and Medicaid contracts terminated for denying service to consumers for “unrelated reasons”.


  26. - In 630 - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    Ah yes, the “inconvenience is oppression” crowd


  27. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    “The irony of libertarians arguing that private property owners can’t set rules for entry to their own property is just too rich.”

    Some “libertarians” don’t understand the difference between liberty and anarchy.


  28. - revvedup - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    Ref the Menards protests for “freedom”. I was in a Menards in a Chicago south suburb this morning. Signs up OUTSIDE the building to notify people masks were required, as well as signs telling people they could buy a mask at the Courtesy Desk for $1.


  29. - Candy Dogood - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association===

    I imagine after this we’re going to see a new President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association that takes some time to actually research the rights of the members of the association to require a mask on their private property before making a confusing statement to the public that seems to be more based off of Facebook posts and claims made in right wing lawsuits.


  30. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    =The entire legal history of American jurisprudence is based on common sense.=

    If that was true you would not need attorneys.


  31. - Give us Barabbas - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    “Freedom” /= “convenience”.


  32. - Moe Berg - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    100% for masks whenever out in public.

    That said, there needs to be some education done for law enforcement and security guards based on Rep. Kam Buckner’s experience. Depending on one’s skin tone, one’s treatment may vary:

    https://twitter.com/RepKamBuckner/status/1257339203127578625


  33. - Burgee - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    Went to Walmart yesterday, many workers and customers wearing their masks but not covering their nose and many others merely on their chin. Followed that to Ruler Foods and several customers not wearing masks, one coughing, so I left. Later after dinner, went to Sonic for a shake and none of the staff were wearing their mask. They were out of ice cream so I went to Dairy Queen, only one of five visible staff wearing their mask over their mouth and nose. So four locations visited and none of them caring about the restrictions. I would imagine this is a consistent site around town. It’s unnerving that only 3 days into this revised order, zero locations visited could follow or enforce the restrictions.


  34. - Thomas Paine - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Allin -

    You are wrong.

    It is a violation of Illinois to bar someone from your store because they are gay.

    That does not mean you have to allow gay people to walk around shirtless and shoeless within your store.

    If you kick a person who is gay out of your store for violating your No Shirt/Shoes/Service policy, they are only going to have a claim if they can show people that aren’t gay are regularly allowed in the store barefoot.

    Retailers are a public accommodation covered by the Han Rights act, but Maskless Nitwits are not a protected class.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    I have to take a min (long, long minutes) to think about commenting.

    To. The. Post,

    When I see those not wearing masks…

    I ask myself the following;

    Are they willing to infect loved ones, random people, friends, even unwittingly.. are they willing to be that infector to the innocent.

    Do they have family/friends in the health field, and how disrespectful are they willing to be to those working 12-14 hours, 6 days a week, not seeing anyone, as they, the doctors and nurses beg that people don’t spread this virus, especially asymptomatically.

    Do they understand science.

    I get so angry, I don’t want to scream, I try not to cry.

    If one doesn’t worry for family, friends, the public, the doctors, the nurses, essential workers… by not being at spreader… why are they purposely trying to defy to make a point?

    What’s the point, you can be a carrier?


  36. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    =Research shows that even a cotton mask dramatically reduces the number of virus particles emitted from our mouths—by as much as 99 percent. =

    So, they knew that. Had to know that. Yet, they told us that masks were ineffective. Don’t wear masks. Might even make things worse. Why?
    I’d love to know who was behind the “no mask” campaign.


  37. - RNUG - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    == As you know, pharmacies are located in many retail stores. ==

    Some pharmacies inside bigger stores have gone to drive-thru only. Which is kind of a pain because some medicines are too big to go through the drawer or tube, so someone has to run it out to you at curbside.


  38. - RNUG - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    == When I see those not wearing masks… ==

    I just do my best to avoid / distance myself from them.


  39. - Allin - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    =Some pharmacies inside bigger stores have gone to drive-thru only. Which is kind of a pain because some medicines are too big to go through the drawer or tube, so someone has to run it out to you at curbside.=

    My apologies. I did not realize there were an abundance of drive through pharmacies available in Chicago–much less pharmacies in some districts. But your sarcasm for issues facing low income individuals is quite endearing.


  40. - Techie - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 3:41 pm:

    This is a cultural issue. Many in the US have been so inundated with the message that all this country has ever been about is freedom, personal liberty, and resistance to tyranny that they take it to absurd and dangerous extremes. Freedom and liberty above all else, including the common good of preventing the spread of a pandemic disease.

    This blind idolization of the rights of the individual above all else is itself a virus in this country, and we’re seeing that it, too, has some rather negative effects.


  41. - MyTwoCents - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 4:06 pm:

    First of all, that chart in The Atlantic article needs to be plastered all over the place. Really simply highlights how covering your face can help us make progress on COVID.

    Secondly, I wish I could say I’m surprised by the lack of thinking of the “you can’t tell me to do anything” crowd but I’m not. It’s a pretty simple concept. If you want businesses to reopen, do your part by wearing a face covering.

    Finally, while I don’t have much to criticize the Governor for over how he’s handled COVID, this is one area where I wish he had been more aggressive earlier. Face coverings should have been part of his EOs since at least early April, if not from the start of the stay at home order. Not only could we be at a lower hospitalization rate by now (and hopefully had fewer deaths) but it would have been easier to get higher compliance. The longer the restrictions go, the harder it is to get large numbers of people to buy into new restrictions. Now fatigue is starting to set in. Hopefully what the Governor said in his press conference about the high compliance remains true. From my limited experience, I’ve seen almost 100% compliance from retail employees over the last 2-3 weeks and the vast majority of shoppers wearing some sort of covering. I’ll continue to cover up every time I go out because that is our best hope at saving lives and starting to reopen the economy.


  42. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, May 4, 20 @ 4:54 pm:

    ==So, they knew that. Had to know that. Yet, they told us that masks were ineffective. Don’t wear masks. Might even make things worse. Why?
    I’d love to know who was behind the “no mask” campaign. ==

    I think that initially, folks were looking at research on the effectiveness of face coverings to protect the wearer. On that side, the research is quite mixed. For the face covering to protect the wearer: it must have the proper filter; it must be properly fitted; it must be donned, worn, and doffed properly; it must not be worn too long. When it comes to the general public, the face coverings don’t work well protecting the wearer.

    The new focus is on how well face coverings work when protecting contagious people from spreading respiratory droplets. It turns out, they work pretty well.


  43. - Concerned - Tuesday, May 5, 20 @ 8:49 am:

    https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/data-do-not-back-cloth-masks-limit-covid-19-experts-say

    CIDRAP and the NAS published a paper saying just the opposite on mask effectiveness if youre curious


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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