Masks outdoors --- necessary?

cramer said:

The CDC is expected to announce updated guidelines for FULLY VACCINATED Americans at 12: 15 p.m. today. 

"I can again safely say that really, really soon we're going to be seeing some guidelines that are going to be coming out from the CDC about the wearing of masks and vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals," Dr. Anthony Fauci, Mr. Biden's chief medical adviser, told a virtual event hosted by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health on Monday."

"The risk of infection outside is really minimum. If you're vaccinated, and you're outside, it's even less," added Fauci."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-guidelines-face-mask-outdoors-vaccinated-live-stream-2021-04-27/

eta - Fwiw, I've been a hawk on wearing masks. I haven't even hugged my grandchildren yet even though I'm fully vaccinated,

 The problem is that the unvaccinated will likely unmask too, since the peer pressure to mask will be gone.


"Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear masks outdoors if they’re walking, running, hiking or biking alone, with members of their household, or if they attend small outdoor gatherings, federal health officials announced on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped short of telling those people that they could shed their masks altogether in outdoor settings — citing the worrying risk that remains for transmitting the coronavirus, unknown vaccination levels among people in crowds and the still high-caseloads in some regions of the country."

"But the C.D.C. is maintaining advice on other safety measures, saying vaccinated adults should continue wearing masks and staying six feet apart in large public spaces, like outdoor performance or sports events, indoor shopping malls and movie theaters, where the vaccination and health status of others would be unknown. And they still should avoid medium and large gatherings, crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, officials said."

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/27/world/covid-vaccine-coronavirus-cases

eta - Pretty much what I've been doing and what other posters have said they're doing. 


I find it interesting that the NJ camp guidelines for this summer will be more strict this year. I had heard that NJ camps were very successful in keeping camp covid transmission extremely low without masks if the campers stayed in small groups. Now even with many counselors vaccinated it seems like masks will be required all of the time. 


I wonder if it's because the big camp outbreaks in 2020 appeared related to singing/chanting -- which is a common part of camp experiences.


Pragmatically speaking — my kids aren’t vaccinated yet, so there is still some risk I could get a milder post-vaccination case and pass it to them (or a really unlucky bad post vaccination case myself).  If people give up masks in areas that are too crowded for easy six foot distancing (including local sidewalks), I’m less likely to be there, and more likely to keep spending my dollars via online ordering or parking lot curbside pick up, rather than at local stores and restaurants. You want me spending money in our downtowns, then keep masking there as I begin to re-emerge. 


sprout said:

I wonder if it's because the big camp outbreaks in 2020 appeared related to singing/chanting -- which is a common part of camp experiences.

 There were only 14 cases in NJ day camps last year. 

"While Gov. Murphy kept overnight camps in New Jersey closed last summer, he has praised New Jersey day camps, which operated with only 14 positive COVID-19 cases statewide. Most of those who tested positive were staff members and there were no camp closures or outbreaks."

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2021/03/new-jerseys-camps-can-open-children-will-need-them-more-than-ever-before-opinion.html



cramer said:

sprout said:

I wonder if it's because the big camp outbreaks in 2020 appeared related to singing/chanting -- which is a common part of camp experiences.

 There were only 14 cases in NJ day camps last year. 

"While Gov. Murphy kept overnight camps in New Jersey closed last summer, he has praised New Jersey day camps, which operated with only 14 positive COVID-19 cases statewide. Most of those who tested positive were staff members and there were no camp closures or outbreaks."

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2021/03/new-jerseys-camps-can-open-children-will-need-them-more-than-ever-before-opinion.html

Last year's (2020) NJ guidance allowed campers not to wear masks when more than 6 feet away from others, and some other exceptions:

Face masks, Infection Control and Social distancing strategies (2020)
A. Face coverings and gloves

Staff and campers shall, at minimum, wear cloth face coverings when social distancing of 6 feet between individuals and/or assigned groups cannot be maintained, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health. Additionally, staff and campers are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings unless
(1) doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, (2) the individual is in extreme heat outdoors, or (3) the individual is in the water.

Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.
https://www.state.nj.us/health/ceohs/documents/phss/Youth_Day_Camps_Standards_COVID-19.pdf

However, most NJ camp directors may have just imposed full-time masks anyway... because keeping kids 6+ feet away from each other is not an easy task. The day-camp my child attended in NJ required full-time masks, and her sleepaway camp in PA required a negative Covid test, and full time mask wearing except when swimming or sleeping.

The news-worthy major outbreaks occurred at camps outside the state, one of which had counselors wearing masks, but not the kids. The writeup indicates that this sleepaway camp had 'cohorts', but it appears after just a few short days of camp, at least 44% of the camp attendees tested positive.  

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6931e1.htm


terp said:

I would also say that wearing a mask outdoors is counter productive.  It limits the sunlight hitting your skin. Which is good for the immune system.  Also, breathing fresh air is also good for you.  And, no I'm not going to cite peer reviewed studies to support these obvious truths.

hahahahahaha

what about clothes?


seems to me that until the pandemic is really under control, just wear the freakin mask.


Formerlyjerseyjack said:


 Since you are low to the ground, I hope you are wearing reflective clothing while biking.

 Thank you jerseyjack, I am.  Also that's why I don't ride on the streets, only on paths where cars are not allowed.


drummerboy said:

terp said:

I would also say that wearing a mask outdoors is counter productive.  It limits the sunlight hitting your skin. Which is good for the immune system.  Also, breathing fresh air is also good for you.  And, no I'm not going to cite peer reviewed studies to support these obvious truths.

hahahahahaha

what about clothes?

I wear sunscreen and a hat to prevent the sun from hitting my skin.  Skin cancer is a real thing.  And so is taking a vitamin D supplement to make up for keeping the sun from hitting my skin.

And I'm not going to cite peer reviewed studies to support the obvious truth that the air that comes through the mask I've been wearing is not unhealthy.


drummerboy said:

seems to me that until the pandemic is really under control, just wear the freakin mask.

 one of the things I'm considering is continuing to wear a mask when I go out so that I won't forget to have it with me. I don't want to walk out of my house and travel all the way to the grocery store and realize I don't have my mask.  And those are the kinds of places where we still need to wear masks.  

there's still a lot we don't know.  For instance, do vaccinated people carry the virus and spread it?  Probably not, but do we know for sure?  So if we don't know, what's the big deal with wearing a mask at the Stop & Shop even if we're vaccinated.  The inconvenience is incredibly slight, and if it means I don't carry the virus to some other person, why not do it?

that's how science is supposed to work -- hypotheses are revised when we have more information.  So of course in retrospect someone can say that we didn't need to wear masks outdoors this past year.  But we didn't know that for sure a year ago.  And when there's uncertainty, and the remedy is a very slight inconvenience, why would we not employ that remedy? 

It might make sense for us to wear masks in indoor public spaces during winter months all the time.  Masks, social distancing, hand washing and vaccinations seem to have kept the flu from spreading this past year.  And if all it took was wearing a mask while shopping or going in public buildings to avoid the flu, why not wear one?


ml1 said:

drummerboy said:

seems to me that until the pandemic is really under control, just wear the freakin mask.

 one of the things I'm considering is continuing to wear a mask when I go out so that I won't forget to have it with me. I don't want to walk out of my house and travel all the way to the grocery store and realize I don't have my mask.  And those are the kinds of places where we still need to wear masks.  

there's still a lot we don't know.  For instance, do vaccinated people carry the virus and spread it?  Probably not, but do we know for sure?  So if we don't know, what's the big deal with wearing a mask at the Stop & Shop even if we're vaccinated.  The inconvenience is incredibly slight, and if it means I don't carry the virus to some other person, why not do it?

that's how science is supposed to work -- hypotheses are revised when we have more information.  So of course in retrospect someone can say that we didn't need to wear masks outdoors this past year.  But we didn't know that for sure a year ago.  And when there's uncertainty, and the remedy is a very slight inconvenience, why would we not employ that remedy? 

It might make sense for us to wear masks in indoor public spaces during winter months all the time.  Masks, social distancing, hand washing and vaccinations seem to have kept the flu from spreading this past year.  And if all it took was wearing a mask while shopping or going in public buildings to avoid the flu, why not wear one?

If you think you are protecting people, I think that's great.  However, I question that with little proof drastic measures were put in place supposedly for 2 weeks, but went on for over a year in most states.  The burden of proof should be on the authorities imposing measures on the populace.


And, unfortunately this is how science works today.


terp said:

If you think you are protecting people, I think that's great.  However, I question that with little proof drastic measures were put in place supposedly for 2 weeks, but went on for over a year in most states.  The burden of proof should be on the authorities imposing measures on the populace.


And, unfortunately this is how science works today.

 How, exactly, do you think respiratory illnesses spread? Given your commentary over the past year, you seem to be operating off a pretty different set of assumptions other people on this, and it might be helpful to see those premises explicitly laid out.


PVW said:

terp said:

If you think you are protecting people, I think that's great.  However, I question that with little proof drastic measures were put in place supposedly for 2 weeks, but went on for over a year in most states.  The burden of proof should be on the authorities imposing measures on the populace.


And, unfortunately this is how science works today.

 How, exactly, do you think respiratory illnesses spread? Given your commentary over the past year, you seem to be operating off a pretty different set of assumptions other people on this, and it might be helpful to see those premises explicitly laid out.

 I think the CDC and Fauci either do not understand this virus or they have some kind of an agenda or both.  Remember that months ago I was chided for saying masks outside were largely symbolic and really pointless.  Now, the CDC seems to be coming around.  Of course, they would like to hold people's freedoms hostage in order to convince them to get vaccinated.   

Anyhoo, even MIT is saying that distancing indoors is pointless especially given that people are wearing masks.  Outdoors seem silly as they say the best thing you can do to mitigate the risk indoors is open a window or have a fan blow the air around.


I would also add that the thread that got suppressed for not being scientific was really suppressed for being anti authoritarian.   This is the same reason people like Martin Kullderoff are being censured and smeared.  Good times...


The MIT link isn’t working. And nobody wants my can to blow air around.


they are seeing VERY low infection and transmission rates among the vaccinated.  being female, i always have a purse...even though I keep my phone, keys and wallet in my pocket!  There is always a mask in my purse and another one in my car....plus I always grab a 'regular' mask before I go out...so even if I forget 1 mask ....I always have 2 more available.


terp said:

 I think the CDC and Fauci either do not understand this virus or they have some kind of an agenda or both.  Remember that months ago I was chided for saying masks outside were largely symbolic and really pointless.  Now, the CDC seems to be coming around.  Of course, they would like to hold people's freedoms hostage in order to convince them to get vaccinated.   

Anyhoo, even MIT is saying that distancing indoors is pointless especially given that people are wearing masks.  Outdoors seem silly as they say the best thing you can do to mitigate the risk indoors is open a window or have a fan blow the air around.

 Speaking just for myself, the chiding I've done has been because I get the impression that your positions here are purely ideological rather than reflecting any attempt to be empirical or engage with the situation critically. As best I can tell (and correct me if I'm mistaken), you are against all restrictions -- against any mask mandate, against any requirement to social distance, against any limiting of occupancy capacity in buildings. The sources you cite in support of your position seem pretty opportunistic rather than consistent. Take your MIT link here, for instance -- if we accept this study, then the conclusion would be that many of the guidelines for being indoors are too lax.

So you cite this piece to support your position on masks, even though it undermines your position on social distancing. From how I've perceived your posts, this feels like a general pattern, and its that which I've "chided" you for.

But perhaps I've misunderstood you in an important way? Are there any restrictions or mandates that you do support in response to covid? And if not, then I remain puzzled as to how you believe covid spreads, or if that's simply not an important question to you.


terp,

How can you cite thefederalist.com with a straight face? And I read the piece and the headline is quite misleading, to say the least. You seem to have lost your critical reading skills.

ETA: I don't agree with the CDC giving Kulldorff the boot, at least for the reasons given in the article. 



PVW said:

 Speaking just for myself, the chiding I've done has been because I get the impression that your positions here are purely ideological rather than reflecting any attempt to be empirical or engage with the situation critically. As best I can tell (and correct me if I'm mistaken), you are against all restrictions -- against any mask mandate, against any requirement to social distance, against any limiting of occupancy capacity in buildings. The sources you cite in support of your position seem pretty opportunistic rather than consistent. Take your MIT link here, for instance -- if we accept this study, then the conclusion would be that many of the guidelines for being indoors are too lax.

So you cite this piece to support your position on masks, even though it undermines your position on social distancing. From how I've perceived your posts, this feels like a general pattern, and its that which I've "chided" you for.

But perhaps I've misunderstood you in an important way? Are there any restrictions or mandates that you do support in response to covid? And if not, then I remain puzzled as to how you believe covid spreads, or if that's simply not an important question to you.

 this is my perception as well.

When a deadly virus is spreading, with little definitive scientific knowledge of how, objecting to something as simple as wearing a mask seems like a trivial place to take an opposing stand.  And over the past year, as public health officials have learned more about the virus spread, restrictions get relaxed or removed.  So we had to wear masks for year.  Big deal.  Now that infections are on the decline, restrictions are being removed.  In NJ, by Memorial Day almost all the restrictions will be gone.  And we got there by collective action to avoid large indoor gatherings and get vaccinated.  We didn't get here by every person following their own personal definitions of "freedom" in the face of the pandemic.

Public health is one of those areas where black/white positions on "freedom" don't apply the way they do to other issues.  Another person's choice to smoke or drink or do any number of things in their own privacy means nothing to me.  But people who don't want to adhere to public health guidelines, or be vaccinated are making choices for other people who did not consent to those risks.  If too many people refuse vaccinations because "freedom", and we don't get to herd immunity, there will be outbreaks that sicken even people who were vaccinated, and people who couldn't be vaccinated.  


As a result of the efforts of people who did follow the requirements for social distancing and mask wearing, and also due to the distribution of vaccines, the measures needed to fight the spread of the pandemic can be lightened now.

Of course, there will always be those who claim they were right all along about none of the above being necessary.

terp said:

 I think the CDC and Fauci either do not understand this virus or they have some kind of an agenda or both.  Remember that months ago I was chided for saying masks outside were largely symbolic and really pointless.  Now, the CDC seems to be coming around.  Of course, they would like to hold people's freedoms hostage in order to convince them to get vaccinated.   

 


why collective action is what brings the spread under control.  Math.

The Math That Explains the End of the Pandemic

It is possible to bring Covid-19 case numbers down quickly via exponential decay even before vaccination rates reach herd immunity. We just need to keep transmission rates below the tipping point between exponential growth and exponential decay: where every person with Covid-19 infects fewer than one other person. Every single thing people can do to slow transmission helps — including wearing masks, getting tested and avoiding crowded indoor spaces — especially given concerns about current and future variants, since it could be what gets us past the threshold into exponential decay.

This is a discussion (masks in general) that got politicized by TFG. Anyone arguing against mask usage has just fallen prey to the manipulation and mind control of the radical right. It started with Trump's pathological need to downplay something that could make him look bad at the cost of thousands of lives.

Tucker Carlson and the rest of his alt-right ilk have a financial incentive to whip up anti-mask sentiment because it drives ratings (or clicks in the case of Podcasters like the unfortunate Joe Rogan). So many Republicans are so emotionally invested in believing that they weren't utterly foolish for supporting Trump. They desperately cling to anything that might vindicate them from their mistake.

That's the only reason this argument persists.  It's purely political. If there's the remotest chance that wearing cheap masks that do you no harm MIGHT prevent someone from getting infected with this wretched virus and ending up on a ventilator, why wouldn't you do it? It's pure selfishness nurtured in the slavish worship of a sociopathic demagogue.


ml1 said:

why collective action is what brings the spread under control.  Math.

The Math That Explains the End of the Pandemic

Since this is not a politics thread, I will not mention the elephant in the room about why following the math is (illogically) disputed by some. 


mrincredible said:

This is a discussion (masks in general) that got politicized by TFG. Anyone arguing against mask usage has just fallen prey to the manipulation and mind control of the radical right. It started with Trump's pathological need to downplay something that could make him look bad at the cost of thousands of lives.

Tucker Carlson and the rest of his alt-right ilk have a financial incentive to whip up anti-mask sentiment because it drives ratings (or clicks in the case of Podcasters like the unfortunate Joe Rogan). So many Republicans are so emotionally invested in believing that they weren't utterly foolish for supporting Trump. They desperately cling to anything that might vindicate them from their mistake.

That's the only reason this argument persists.  It's purely political. If there's the remotest chance that wearing cheap masks that do you no harm MIGHT prevent someone from getting infected with this wretched virus and ending up on a ventilator, why wouldn't you do it? It's pure selfishness nurtured in the slavish worship of a sociopathic demagogue.

 I can understand not wanting to perform actions that have no benefit (like the airport security theater), and serve only to make us feel like we have control over danger when we don't.
But at this point in the pandemic, and certainly earlier, we didn't really know to what extent masks were effective.  And we do know that most masks do physically contain particles from our breath. That's pretty clear:

Face masks: what the data say

Will they prevent all viruses from spreading?  Will they prevent 100% of potential infections? Of course not.  But as the article I linked to above makes clear, just reducing the number of people each infected person transmits the virus to, can help to move us from exponential increase of cases to exponential decrease of cases.

And all we were asked was to wear a mask.  Get one that makes a statement.  Get one with a Gadsden flag or MAGA, or even better a **** Your Feelings mask. You can do your part and troll the libs at the same time.  Win-win!

As for me, I prefer a Mets mask (on sale!), or Stone Pony, or Smithereens as my fashion statements.   ;-)


terp said:

PVW said:

terp said:

If you think you are protecting people, I think that's great.  However, I question that with little proof drastic measures were put in place supposedly for 2 weeks, but went on for over a year in most states.  The burden of proof should be on the authorities imposing measures on the populace.


And, unfortunately this is how science works today.

 How, exactly, do you think respiratory illnesses spread? Given your commentary over the past year, you seem to be operating off a pretty different set of assumptions other people on this, and it might be helpful to see those premises explicitly laid out.

 I think the CDC and Fauci either do not understand this virus or they have some kind of an agenda or both.  Remember that months ago I was chided for saying masks outside were largely symbolic and really pointless.  Now, the CDC seems to be coming around.  Of course, they would like to hold people's freedoms hostage in order to convince them to get vaccinated.   


"Israel eased some of its COVID-19 protocols on Sunday, according to Reuters. The country has officially lifted part of its mask mandate, allowing citizens to freely enjoy the outdoors without face coverings.

This decision is a result of the vaccine roll out in the country. According to Reuters, about 81 percent of Israelis over the age of 16 have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (namely Pfizer/BioNTech), which has caused hospitalizations and cases to drop dramatically."

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/israel-lifts-outdoor-covid-mask-order


and one other question about masks -- if they are useless in preventing the spread of disease, why do health professionals wear them at work?  Superstition?  Wokeness?


terp said:

Anyhoo, even MIT is saying that distancing indoors is pointless especially given that people are wearing masks.

I was struck by the appeal to authority in attributing the study to “MIT is saying,” when it was the work of a pair of professors (both of them in applied mathematics and one of them in chemical engineering). For the record, since the study assumed a “well-mixed room,” they posted this clarification:

“The value of social distancing in limiting COVID-19 transmission by respiratory jets is made clear in the last section of our paper, ‘Beyond the well-mixed room.’”

http://web.mit.edu/bazant/www/COVID-19/Bazant-Bush_PNAS_statement.html


ml1 said:

and one other question about masks -- if they are useless in preventing the spread of disease, why do health professionals wear them at work? Superstition? Wokeness?

It’s because they ”do not understand this virus or they have some kind of an agenda or both” and were unwilling to wait until public policy could meet “the burden of proof” — always a reasonable standard.


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