Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

CDC study: Masks do nothing to stop COVID-19 infection

A new CDC study shows that masks appear to have zero effect in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

An underreported, recently-published CDC study adds to the pile of evidence that cloth masks or other forms of mandated face coverings only contribute negatives to our COVID-19 problem. The study also displays — despite the constant accusations of widespread misbehavior from public health officials — that Americans are adhering to mask wearing, but mask wearing is not doing us any good.

The CDC study, which surveyed symptomatic COVID-19 patients, has found that 70.6% of respondents reported “always” wearing a mask, while an additional 14.4% say they “often” wear a mask. That means a whopping 85% of infected COVID-19 patients reported habitual mask wearing. Only 3.9% of those infected said they “never” wear a face covering.

The graph below from the study is damning. It shows that wearing a mask made no difference between those who got the disease (left column) and those in the control group.

CDC study graph: masks made no difference.

In either case, the number of cases remained the same no matter how much you wore the mask.

I suspect however that a larger study will find more infections among full-time mask wearers, especially if that study delineates between those medical professionals who are trained to wear the mask properly and with care, keeping it anti-septic, and the general public who fingers their mask continually and then sticks it in their pocket between uses.


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  • Joe

    What the public is told to wear (cloth) and what healthcare workers who treat CV patients are required to wear are completely different. The reason is largely political and intended to cause harm to the people who have not gotten infected with CV and immediately blame Trump. Magnifying CV fear far beyond rational reasoning is the weapon of choice to get Democrats elected and radically change our government.

    We will never see a CDC study showing what healthcare workers who treat CV patients were wearing when they got infected, if any got infected.

    I am now ironically aware of why the Democrats and WHO organization are now turning full circle away from mask wearing and lockdowns. To me, it is because of their desire for a smooth transition of power post-election. If the Democrats lose, I believe they will return to mandated mask wearing, lockdowns, and riots until they get their way. Either way, I predict up to 450,000 people will get arrested post-election from the ruckus fallout from the election.

  • mrsizer

    then sticks it in their pocket between uses

    Hey! That’s me! I realize how stupid it is, so I see no point in even attempting proper procedure.

    Here’s a mask test: Find a smoker; have him exhale smoke into your face. If you smell smoke, your mask is not working since virii are smaller than smoke particles.

  • mrsizer: You would be much better off throwing the mask away entirely, and telling anyone that insists you wear one that you have medical reasons that forbid you from wearing one. You won’t be lying, because wearing an unsanitary mask greatly increases the chances of catching any number of diseases, not just the Wuhan flu.

    This is what I do. And I have found almost no cases where it prevented my access to what I need or want. I have even found a doctor finally who recognizes the stupidity of masks, and does not insist his patients wear one.

  • Sam

    I’m consistently kicked out of convenience stores (by far my most visited stores in general, much less during The Troubles) despite me pointing out my medical condition and lack of legal mandate (Texas resident FYI). I don’t push the issue since said stores do not deserve my business, but it does frustrate somewhat. The hard-liners tend to be in the southern part of the state, where fear-mongering by democrats is depressingly effective on the largely hispanic, inordinately obese, Catholic population.

    It’s rarely an issue in the bigger, non-grocery stores, likely because the employees have been staring down the unemployment barrel most of the year. Or maybe the Karen meme has dissuaded direct confrontation.

  • Marcus

    By my reading, this study shows that a person’s self reported rate of mask wearing does not correlate one way or another with whether they will become infected with the coronavirus. It doesn’t directly say anything about whether mask wearing does or does not reduce the spread of the virus. My understanding is that the use of masks by infected people does reduce the rate at which they spread the disease to others. This means that for most people the mask is doing nothing. Unfortunately since non-symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people can still be contagious, the only way to ensure that infected people are wearing masks is to have everyone wear one. It is counter intuitive, but if masks do work then if you are uninfected, not wearing a mask, and go into a crowd of people wearing who are all wearing masks you would be less likely to catch the disease than if you are uninfected, wearing a mask, and go into the same crowd of people but with the crowd not wearing masks. It would be a mistake to use that as evidence that masks do not work.

    The study does indirectly suggest that mask wearing is effective. It found that “Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill.” So the people that came down with the disease were more likely to have been in at least one location with other people where mask usage is low.

    Please do not pretend to have a medical issue in order to avoid wearing a mask. Doing so makes it more difficult for people with real medical issues to be believed and treated appropriately and respectfully.

    I’m not afraid of the virus, but I wear a mask as a courtesy to those around me. I don’t wear it to keep myself safe, but because even though the likelihood is low, I could be infected without knowing it. My wearing a mask may also play a small part in encouraging someone else who is infected (knowingly or not) to also wear a mask.

  • Marcus

    Sadly I believe many medical people and politicians are happy for people to get the misunderstanding that cloth masks are protective for the people wearing them. I believe they tolerate/encourage this misunderstanding because they believe that self preservation is a stronger motivation for people than protecting others, and if they can get more people wearing masks in general, the spread of the virus will slow. But then there are some that notice the discrepancy and decide that they can’t trust the scientists/politicians and decide to fight the mask mandates…

  • Bernard

    You get an A for effort, Marcus, but your efforts are largely wasted here. There is no convincing this crowd of anything about which they have already made up their minds. You can post study after study and present data until you are blue in the face. They will counter with misinformation, misinterpretation, and the fallacy of composition by pointing out some prior error made by those espousing mask wearing.
    It is still good to have your statement up, though. People who are not regular members of this crowd may come wandering through here. It is nice that they can also see the truth amidst the lies.

  • Cotour

    “By my reading, this study shows that a person’s self reported rate of mask wearing does not correlate one way or another with whether they will become infected with the coronavirus.”

    The manner in which the vast majority of the public in the real world wears their masks in the public setting is shoddy at best. And in many, maybe most instances, in a public setting, ridiculous and purely symbolic.

    And as an example, the public in the real world are happy to wear their mask, walk down the street and social distance, and then then meet up with their friends at the local diner, sit down, remove their masks without a concern. Full immunity achieved by sitting at a table?

    Masks do work to varying degrees. They work best for professionals who are specifically trained in their proper use in their professional setting. And then the quality of their effectiveness declines precipitously in the real world when casually used by the every day man and the every day woman.

    And that is the reality of the mask issue in America and I have to assume in the world today. (See: Sweden)

    So, if you choose, wear your mask in appropriate settings, stay generally away from others, wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes, don’t touch your nose and live a long and happy life. And if you do for some reason become infected even though you have done your best to not become infected, even though you were “properly” wearing your mask, go to the hospital or see your doctor because the therapies and medicines are much better understood now and you, depending on your age are projected to more than likely fully recover and live that long and happy life.

    Live long and prosper.

  • John

    Yes the masks stop the contagion from getting out! They’re for everybody’s safety, we’re all in this together!!!

    But if you don’t wear a mask and the contagion does get out, masks can’t stop it from getting in!


  • Cotour

    With the demonstrated manner in which the general public operates their mask protocol, “IT” is without doubt “Out There”.

  • David

    Marcus and Bernard, please keep up the effort. Intelligent reasoned discussion is needed on this and oh so many other issues of science not only here, but in all discussion sites. Regardless of the political spectrum they draw.

    Mr. Zimmerman, the last time I posted was two years ago and in that post I insulted you on a personal level with a name calling. I want you to know that I apologize for that. I was hurt by your suggestion that I was somehow a supporter of a coming “dark age” in reason which you could not know, but was deeply hurtful. I have spent my life in pursuit of science, reason, and pursuit of knowledge.

    I do not if I am welcomed back and even if so, that I will comment again. Typing only gets more painful with the passage of time. If I were, I’d probably focus on climate, as my background and knowledge are considered by some of some use. However, if you still dismiss out of hand the work of NOAA as unworthy, then that makes it an easy choice.

    To all, I wish good health, understanding, and most important, to keep open minds in all areas of science. And one more thing, love of all mankind and this jewel of a planet that is our only home.

  • Cotour


    You posted here 2 years ago and have not posted again until now because you felt “deeply hurt” because in the course of a heated discussion the Zman asserted that you were a supporter of the coming dark age. You read those words, typed on a screen, and were so personally upset that you left the discussion for 2 years?

    Have you been ruminating over this all this time? Are you really that sensitive?

  • sippin_bourbon


    Don’t assume people are faking a condition to not wear a mask. There is a wide age group here, by my observations.

    Bernard: Again, not contributing to the discussion. Can you Google “ad hominem?” Or is it your goal to just troll?

    David, welcome back. Look forward to elevated debate.

  • SonOfATrumper

    Thank you Marcus! I came here to say this after convincing my dad that he was misinterpreted the data.

  • Harvey

    I beg to differ. The following sentence is in the Discussion section of the report: “Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection.” That says to me that not using a mask may very well be a risk factor for infection. Do you think that the authors included that statement because they didn’t think that masks work?

  • David Scott

    Is there a link to the CDC report? I shared this w RN daughter and she says CDC website does not show this study.

  • Max

    Zero hedge;

    “Eight months later, here we are. The Head of the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO has basically confirmed an IFR of 0.14%, approximately the same as the seasonal flu.”

    “While it is crucial to continue reporting the facts and sharing them as widely as possible (which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the censorship of alternative and social media), it is important to accept what we are up against. What we are up against is not a misunderstanding or a rational argument over scientific facts. It is a fanatical ideological movement. A global totalitarian movement … the first of its kind in human history.
    It isn’t national totalitarianism, because we’re living in a global capitalist empire, which isn’t ruled by nation-states, but rather, by supranational entities and the global capitalist system itself. And thus, the cult/culture paradigm has been inverted. Instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it.”


    “”Even the World Health Organization is coming out against lockdowns. Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, says:
    We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method… We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus. The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it””

  • Edward

    I have even found a doctor finally who recognizes the stupidity of masks, and does not insist his patients wear one.

    That is wonderful news. What a miracle to find someone reasonable during these fearful times.

    Bernard wrote: “There is no convincing this crowd of anything about which they have already made up their minds. You can post study after study and present data until you are blue in the face.

    Actually, the studies performed prior to the Wuhan Plague had become political show that masks are not effective at preventing the spread of diseases. Other studies show that mask use during surgery may not be as effective as is believed. Lysenkoism has taken over, ever since Wuhan became political. Either way, hand washing has been shown to be effective inside and outside of hospitals and medical offices, but hand washing is not the mandate, masks are.

    From the study’s Summary:

    Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity. Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.

    Harvy noted: “The following sentence is in the Discussion section of the report: ‘Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection.’ That says to me that not using a mask may very well be a risk factor for infection. Do you think that the authors included that statement because they didn’t think that masks work?

    No, I don’t think that the authors think that masks work. Their data shows that the higher-risk places are those places where people spend time together, whether or not they wear masks. Places such as shopping centers are where people only brush past each other, or places such as offices are where people can easily socially distance. The recommendation is for mask use when social distancing is not practiced, and since the data and chart in the study show that these places are where infections are most passed we can see that masks do not work.

    Their figure shows that restaurants are the fourth most risky place for contracting Wuhan Plague. It also shows a generally higher risk “among subset with no close COVID-19 contact.

    The high report number for those who had visited restaurants could be due to the high popularity of these facilities over other places. The risk rate should not be confused with the number infected there. Other factors that could contribute to infection are the number of objects at restaurants and other places that are touched by multiple people. A restaurant is a place where such non-mask factors are likely higher than at other places, such as shopping centers, such as (from the report):

    Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation (7). Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance.

    Interestingly, the control group consisted of people who were symptomatic but tested negative for Wuhan virus. This is not so much a study of whether masks work as it is whether masks are better against Wuhan vs. regular flus.

    If masks worked then there would be virtually no passed infections at locations where masks were used. Hand washing remains the best defense against the spread of disease.

  • sippin_bourbon

    CDC director says:
    “We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”
    -CDC director last month.

    They then publish a study showing that people wearing the masks get sick anyway, but hedge their bets with the statements about people should still wear them.
    The masks don’t protect you, but stop you from infecting others.

    They are talking out of both sides of their collective mouths.

  • m d mill

    Should doctors and nurses use low leakage electrostatic N95 masks in infection wards?…of course, because they greatly reduce inhalation of all virus particles.
    And would they greatly reduce risk in public places when worn by highly vulnerable groups during the PEAK of an outbreak?…of course. To infer otherwise would be inane.

    Would your chance of getting infected on a high density bus or subway car or airplane at the PEAK of a flu outbreak be greatly reduced if everyone there wore a good low leakage multi-layer cloth mask and simple cloth gloves, as opposed to nothing?…of course, because transmission and inhalation of small virus laden spittle particles into the air and on surfaces would be greatly reduced (as well as hand to object to hand transmission) from people who were highly infected but did not know it (or did not care). To infer otherwise would be inane.

    When most privately owned shopping/grocery centers voluntarily require masks (these SHOULD be specified as good low leakage multi-layer masks) of all patrons/employees the probability of getting infected there and then dying even during the PEAK of an outbreak is extraordinarily small, much smaller than death from other common means. VERY few infections occur between strangers when reasonable mask wearing is implemented, even during the PEAK of an outbreak–-see Taiwan, S. Korea, Hong Kong, and other “good-mask wearing” societies. Or you can wear an electrostatic N-95 mask and gloves yourself regardless of the masking of others [unfortunately N-95 masks are not now commonly available, which is the greatest failing, and most important response of all during an outbreak].
    An even better compromise is that good quality masks are perhaps required between 4 am and noon in VITAL public areas specifically for people who are concerned/vulnerable to infection, but not required after noon for those who are not concerned/vulnerable. Private restaurants/bars/beaches and all other non VITAL areas in particular could be open mask free anytime to anyone who wishes to go, as these are not VITAL activities which vulnerable groups must be allowed to access with low risk…Otherwise,let the patron be free to decide.

    Good low leakage multi-layer masks do work to reduce transmission rates significantly in all cases (which is why doctors and nurses use them in infection wards, obviously), and they are irritating , and any mandated usage should be discontinued after the local death rate drops below some REASONABLE threshold, all without need of any mandated lock-down/quarantines and the resultant economic/social devastation.

    This is a compromise between those who support total societal lock-downs, and those who argue for no extraordinary response at all, to a FLU that is about 10 times as deadly to vulnerable groups as common FLU viruses and may well substantially shorten the lives of nearly 300,000 Americans before it is all over.

    In short, asking a person to wear a good low leakage multi-layer mask while shopping or riding a bus for the benefit of particularly vulnerable groups during the PEAK of an outbreak is not a lot to ask during a particularly deadly pandemic…except to the mask phobic psychotics. But any such mandates should be removed as soon as possible.

    It is interesting that the mask phobic psychotics do not mind public decency laws that require bodies to be clothed at all times in public places (thankfully), but then go apoplectic when masking of our mouths may be required for a short time during a particularly deadly (for certain groups) pandemic.

  • m d mill: We can argue and argue and discuss the validity of mask use as much as we like. A civilized discussion might get us somewhere.

    Your comment here however devolves to an ad hominen attack on anyone who has doubts about masks. You try to outline what YOU see as reasonable mandates for mask use, based totally on your assumptions about the effectiveness of masks (despite the fact that the science remains entirely uncertain, even when masks are used properly).

    You then conclude that anyone who disagrees with you on this subject is therefore apparently a “mask phobic psychotic”. YOU of course are sane, therefore anyone who challenges what you say must be crazy and should theefore be dismissed, insulted, cancelled, and treated as garbage.

    This is why our society increasingly can’t have a reasonable adult conversation. People seem compelled to throw emotional insult bombs about, because in makes them feel good while enraging others.

    I however won’t have it here. You have been commenting here for quite awhile and know the rules. You are suspended for a week.

    You will be welcomed back on October 21st, as I really am glad to hear your side of the discussion, in an adult and civilized manner. But be warned, if you decide to use name-calling as an argument again I will simply ban you forever.

  • Cotour

    The other day a woman came into my store. I have a sign hanging on a chain that blocks you from entering fully into the store, it says” WAIT HERE”. And as a general rule you just tell me what you would like and I get it for you. If you want to come in you can but only one person at a time. This system serves many purposes, I should have instituted it years ago.

    So this woman comes in, and I know she has a bit of a helter skelter life, she has two young girls that she is always pushing around in their double carriage as they hang out the sides like wild Indians that have just highjacked a stage coach. She comes in and askes for what she wants, and she is wearing a mask and I see that she put on in a helter skelter manner as she was walking towards the door.

    (How do women do it? I watch in amazement)

    Her mask put on in haste began very high on her left hand ear, it came down her face just under her eye and continued across part of her nose and continued down over part of her mouth and then it was kind of stuck on her face and went up to her other ear. She looked insane with the mask just plastered across her face at an extreme angle.

    I asked her: “That is an interesting way how your wearing your mask. But why wear it at all its not covering anything?”

    She smiled.

    And she obviously was just symbolically wearing the mask to come into the store because that is how things are. (Although since you are in a controlled situation and I have the doors open and the fans are on pushing the breeze out the door I have no concern about masks in my environment. And that is just how much of the general public wears their masks.

    So unless the authoritarian government is going to have Chinese style “Community monitors” out and about checking and inspecting and telling people how they are to wear their mask in the approved manner and having them arrested or fined for not doing so “Properly”, then its all just up to the public to take care of themselves.

    Lets not aspire to be Communist China.

  • Edward: Yes the news about my doctor situation is wonderful, but only to a point. The situation with seeing specialists remains murky, even though the new GP has even provided me a letter stating that masks are medically a bad idea for me personally.

    I also need to remain discreet about this situation, as insurance and health officials might very well stamp that boot down hard on my new doctor, should they get wind of his willingness to think independently.

  • Edward

    m d mill wrote: “VERY few infections occur between strangers when reasonable mask wearing is implemented, even during the PEAK of an outbreak–-see Taiwan, S. Korea, Hong Kong, and other “good-mask wearing” societies.

    Actually, these countries credit other means, such as early contact tracing, as the reasons for their success.

    This is a compromise between those who support total societal lock-downs, and those who argue for no extraordinary response at all, to a FLU that is about 10 times as deadly to vulnerable groups as common FLU viruses and may well substantially shorten the lives of nearly 300,000 Americans before it is all over.

    A compromise, maybe, but a poor one. The correct methodology is to protect the vulnerable. To isolate everyone has been shown to be seriously harmful to those who are not vulnerable. It has also been shown to be harmful to the vulnerable, too, but it is the best we can do, until we find better methods.

    Governments are not asking us to wear masks, they are mandating. Mask mandates assume that everyone is completely healthy, that no one has breathing problems, such as asthma, and that masks actually work. Although masks are supposed to stop spittle due to coughing, sneezing, and religious singing, masks do not stop all viruses that are exhaled. They stop no viruses during an inhalation. These are the conclusions from pre-Lysenkoian studies that date back to 1947. And we use them so poorly that we cause more harm than good by using them, especially when worn by the healthy,

    Meanwhile, the World Health Organization believes that the bad reaction to Wuhan Plague is causing more deaths due to starvation around the world than lives that it is supposed to be saving. This compromise is also a poor choice.

  • wayne

    Omega Man
    ‘News Report’

  • m d mill: I have reinstated you, allowing you to once again comment here. I hope you return, but the rules are very clear. Please follow them.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


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