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European health officials: Masks are useless, maybe a health problem

They must be white supremacists! Leading health officials in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden continue to state that there is no scientific evidence masks can prevent transmission of COVID-19, while there is ample evidence that their improper use can lead to many other heath issues.

Others, echoing statements similar to the US Surgeon General from early March, said masks could make individuals sicker and exacerbate the spread of the virus.

“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [Holland]. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”

The point here is that research into the ability of masks to block transmission of a virus like COVID-19 is presently very unsettled and unclear. However, the evidence that masks, when used improperly (as almost everyone does) can be unsanitary and actual transmission points for disease is well documented.

Under such conditions it is unconscionable for governments to mandate their use.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • janyuary

    Here on “left coast” in my small burghs, real life finds stores where the mask rule is your choice, and get-togethers where mask wearers begin to feel conspicuous.

    News/popnews media focus on the staged BLM “issue” and ignore any news about C19 except as it relates to an increase in cases (!!!!) therefore necessary shutdown. Comments posted to local news media sites are strictly edited by owners, and/or self-censored through the amazing “downvote” — that is, upvoting “Boo!!! Waahhh!!! I disagree!” Enough “downvotes” on some forums will even disappear a comment, hence our choice of what to read and what to express is winnowed before it reaches our eyes.

    It’s as if I’m commanded to navigate my world on instrument only, ignoring what I see with my eyes around me, when it’s plain those instruments are busted.

    The thing about illusions, such as the one that news media consumed by choice in this nation projects, is that they shatter when reality hits the fan. The C19 thing is only one of many such long-placed illusions, I think. The other is that a large plurality of Americans have zero political representation at the ballot box.

  • janyuary

    Edit: The media projects a political illusion that fails totally to note that a large plurality of Americans have zero representation at the ballot box. But it is true just the same.

  • Cotour

    The storm approaches.

    And it ain’t going to be pretty.

    But it must be.

  • mkent

    …there is no scientific evidence masks can prevent transmission of COVID-19

    The European health officials may say that, but it’s not true.

    The two research groups, from Florida Atlantic University and the University of Arizona, evaluated commercially manufactured masks against homemade coverings made from cotton, silk and other fabrics.

    The Florida Atlantic group focused its research on how well different mask materials block the travel of respiratory droplets. It found that commercially produced cone-type masks reduced the average forward distance of respiratory droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or speaking very effectively, to 8 inches. The most effective homemade masks they tested were made from stitched layers of cotton quilting; these reduced the forward travel of droplets even more, to just 2.5 inches.

    The University of Arizona team’s research centered on how well different types of masks could protect wearers from coronavirus after a short 30-second exposure to a highly contaminated area, as well as after 20 minutes. Most protective were N99 and N95 masks – with a “protection factor” of 94-99% – followed by surgical masks and, somewhat surprisingly, vacuum cleaner filters inserted into pockets in cloth masks. These reduced infection risk by 83% after 30 seconds, and 58% after 20 minutes.

    Both groups found that wearing any type of mask is far more protective than none at all. Without face masks, respiratory droplets were projected as far forward as 12 feet – with an average distance of 8 feet – and stayed airborne for up to three minutes. They also found wearing a mask reduced infection risk between 24-94% after 30 seconds of exposure to droplets or by 44-99% after 20 minutes, depending on the type of mask worn. In general, the masks’ protective effects decreased as exposure time increased.

    Masks are not perfect protection, but they make a major difference.

  • LocalFluff

    Masks reduce the number of virus one inhales. But whether one inhales 10 or 100 virus while shipping doesn’t really matter. The immune system can take care of that. It does matter for health care professional treating people with symptoms. They say that the first week with symptoms of flu, a single individual produces 100 billion virus (that’s a dozen per human being in the world). And it does matter whether you inhale a thousand or a million virus.

    The plural form virii is wrong. The Romans used the word virus for something that is everywhere and unavoidable. Like air, it’s meaningless to use plural airs.

  • mkent: The research you cite might be right, but I have also cited numerous other studies that came up with the opposite conclusion, that the masks were ineffective. Thus, whether masks help remains an unsettled question.

    The risks from the misuse of masks is not unsettled, as I have also cited repeatedly. However, if you wear your mask properly all power to you. You might protecting yourself better, and it is your choice.

    However, considering the uncertainty of the science, as well as the negatives for those with other health issues, by what right do you or anyone else have to force me to wear a mask, against my personal judgement?

    This has always been my main point. There are issues here, pro and con. In such a situation the decision should be left to the individual.

  • Edward

    You are comparing molecules to droplets: “The Florida Atlantic group focused its research on how well different mask materials block the travel of respiratory droplets.

    Even the conclusion was the same bogus comparison: “They also found wearing a mask reduced infection risk between 24-94% after 30 seconds of exposure to droplets …” Their conclusion was about exposure to droplets, not to the molecular virus itself. You still have not provided evidence that masks make a difference in actual infection, even under laboratory conditions, much less under actual, real world conditions, where germs and viruses accumulate on the masks with each (mis)use.

  • LocalFluff

    The virus resides in droplets. It’s pretty quickly destroyed when outside of water. So a mask that blocks droplets does help against virus. And wearing a mask is not dangerous in any way. It is only silly. Like wearing a tin foil hat as protection against asteroid impacts. To think that after billions of years of evolution together with out virus friends, a piece of paper on our face would do anything good, that is demonstrating total stupidity. Those wearing it are as ridiculous as they look (I suppose some are forced to do so).

  • Edward

    LocalFluff wrote: “It’s pretty quickly destroyed when outside of water.

    It isn’t the lack of water that destroys the virus. It is UV light, which is not found in quantity indoors, which is where we are most supposed to wear the masks. So, indoors, viruses survive rather well, thank you very much. We touch a contaminated surface, then touch our mask. We aren’t supposed to touch our faces, for fear of contracting the virus, but somehow it is acceptable to breath in viruses for hours on end.

    The worst part is that even our leaders do not think that masks protect us in any way at all. They have insisted that we wear them only to remind us of the panicdemic that they have imposed upon us. This is their own rationale; it is what they told us. Even the experts were unable to find any evidence that masks have any positive effect. We are supposed to wear masks only because they say so, as though we are their children.

    No critical thinking allowed on our part. Truth does not matter. Do as they say, or they will sic the police on us.

  • wayne

    In general, Pollen is 10-40 microns in size. “Smoke” is in a range of 0.01 to 4 microns. Bacteria is in the range of 0.3 to 5 microns, and finally, viruses are in the range of 0.005 to 0.3 microns.
    –cotton weave cosmetic-masks just do not filter down to the virus range. And make no mistake, the vast majority of these ‘masks’ are labelled by FDA regulation as “cosmetic masks, “not for medical use.” These are costumes. (and a lot of them as well, aren’t even woven material, they are literally pressed fake fabric, like the way drier-sheets are manufactured, a purely ‘non-woven’ material. Your Egyptian cotton sheets might have a 500 thread-count (and have you ever tried to breath through 500 thread-count material?) but these chi-com produced ‘masks’ are pure junk.
    –the only thing these ‘masks’ do, is to hinder casual hand-to-face-contact.
    And if you have one of those home-made cotton masks– unless you change into a fresh one, every single time you contaminate the thing you are wearing, its all worse than useless.

    To the mask nazi’s–

    “I know you don’t want to hear me crying.
    And I know you don’t want to hear me deny,
    That your satisfaction lies in your illusions,
    But your delusions are yours, and not mine.”

    The appropriate Guns n Roses Tune

  • Cotour


    My friend vehemently stands by the “Fact” that the hydroxy causes heart failure, even though there are doctors all over the world and patients that testify that it has worked for and saved their lives.

    So I took 5 minutes to find out what is what with this issue, and this is what I found: Hydroxchloroquine does in some instances apparently cause heart failure. Out of a little over 1000 patients studied there were apparently 140 or so that did develop heart failure………….AFTER THEY WERE ON IT FOR ALMOST 3 YEARS STRAIGHT!

    If you are familiar with this issue Hydroxy has been used for many many years treating and even preventing malaria, and it is also used in treating rhumetoid arthritic, among other health issues. Apparently very successful when it is used in treating Covid in conjunction with azythromiacine, zinc and vit D3. And as I understand it you are taking it for 2 or 3 weeks and not 3 YEARS!

    This is what I found and sent to him:

    “In this study there does seem to be some heart failure in rheumatoid arthritic patients that were on Hydroxychloroquine……..after being on it for almost 3 years in this study. Anyone taking it for Covid is on it for 2 or 3 weeks along with azythromiacine, zinc and Vitamin D3. Kind of like comparing apples and water melons, no?

    I shaketh my head. Hydroxy therapy $60 or so dollars (Off patent), the “New” Covid drugs, $5000.00 per treatment? More? And I need to explain this stuff to you? This should have been the first thing you questioned: How much will it cost and who is receiving it?

    (And me and “King Cheto” are the morons here?)

    “According to Sorour, both groups demonstrated similar RA duration, proportions of patients who were positive for rheumatoid factor and/or cyclic citrullinated antibody (CCP), BMI and smoking status. The duration of hydroxychloroquine use prior to index date was 2.8 years among those who developed heart failure and 2.6 years among those in the control group.” ”

    And what does he have to say? Mind you he is an ivy league educated lawyer. Calls me names, calls the president names and calls those who have taken it successfully and who testify that it indeed saved their lives morons and idiots.

    And that is the state of intelligent conversation in America today.

  • Trent Castanaveras

    Re aerosol/droplet transmission of covid-19:

    The sparse data suggests it’s not much of an issue. Primary infection route is still thought to be hand to body orifice, usually by touching the face and mouth.

    I’m really looking forward to the papers published in the near future that may give some better data results.

  • Trent Castanaveras

    On the viral transmission note, and public requirements:

    Why aren’t we required to wash our hands whenever entering a public building, store, restaurant, what have you? Hand washing has solid data backing it being effective against all bacteria and viral transmission. Wouldn’t that be a prudent route for public mandates, rather than the murky and anecdotal references to face mask effectiveness?

    From the publication: “Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.”

    This seems like a ridiculous gap in our “fight” against infection.

  • Andrew_W

    Cotour: “Apparently [Hydroxychloroquine is] very successful when it is used in treating Covid in conjunction with azythromiacine, zinc and vit D3. ”

    Square dancing is also very effective in treating covid when used in conjunction with azithromycin, zinc and vit D3 – just as long as a steroid is also used.
    [Table 1, second to bottom line].

    Trent Castanaveras: “Re aerosol/droplet transmission of covid-19:

    The sparse data suggests it’s not much of an issue. ”

    But your link says:

    According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and
    contact routes.

  • Cotour

    Andre W, thanks for that I forwarded it to my friend. We will see what his assessment is.

    I found this and am interested in your feed back on it:

    New Zealand has isolated itself basically from the world and they have “Defeated” Covid (?). Tony Heller.

    New Zealand now has NO immunity from this newest virus, Covid, nor any other new virus that may come to visit the world. Not good.

    So is it worth destroying an entire economy and relieving the population of their freedoms and rights? I have to say no.

    Nature does not care about such things as borders and politics and is coming for you one way or another, so its best to be prepared.

    New Zealand has long term weakened itself and this is all a function of the Liberal mind set.

    We wish them all the best, but I do not see other way than a proven vaccine that may or may not arrive in reasonable time any way around this. And then the government is gong to have to mandate that everyone take it. And that again is a slippery slope where the population and their Rights have been usurped and they are in real terms just the property of the state.

  • Trent Castanaveras


    Oddly enough, those words do not appear anywhere in the article itself, or at the WHO site that the article references. Perhaps you are referencing a different article?

    However, following the “Q&A: How is COVID-19 transmitted?” link at the WHO site we get:
    “Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 spreads between people through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with infected people via mouth and nose secretions. These include saliva, respiratory secretions or secretion droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, for example. People who are in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person can catch COVID-19 when those infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose or eyes.”

    Any way you slice it, we need more data. As i said, looking forward to the papers published over the next few months/year.

  • Andrew_W

    Trent, sorry, I should have said the reference your source cites, at least, this is the page I get to by following the links:

  • John

    I’ll just leave this here. There are a few gems in the article:

    I give them credit for innovation in trying to quantify mask effectiveness. But a cell phone camera? Lol cutting edge.

  • janyuary

    This reminds me of discussing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

    Why don’t I know a single soul, after six months of my nation, my state, my county, my town, being “ravaged” by this “pandemic,” who has even been bedridden by it? Why don’t I know anyone personally, who knows anyone who’s been bedridden by it? Why is it the only reported dead are elderly or already sick? When in all other pandemics I’ve survived (many), I knew half a dozen bedridden at any given moment, but none who died?

    Trent, you speak of what seems like a “ridiculous gap” in any fight against infection.
    Any serious fight to protect Americans would entail immediate prohibition of all soft drinks, candy, and high sugar/empty calorie junk food. A serious effort would also entail a mandatory fitness regimen. Does one seriously need a flock of studies to confirm that eating smart and staying fit improves one’s immune system considerably? It’s common sense and observation.

    Any compassionate American who really wants to save lives would surely want to outlaw the driving of private vehicles and have people use public/professional transportation. It would prevent anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 deaths in America every year, and would stop half a million serious injuries. Those who insist on driving their own cars are so selfish! That is the inevitable direction this thinking, of “saving lives through prevention!!!” will lead. Better to be responsible for one’s own immune system AND FEAR and leave others to their own measures. But instead it’s droplets and particles.

    Fascinating to see angels and pins still operational in enlightened 2020.

  • Rose

    Cotour, regarding New Zealand (now at 100 days without community transmission), yes, their strategy will pay off best if an effective vaccine is developed.

    “And then the government is going to have to mandate that everyone take it.”

    Not necessarily. They could encourage NZ residents to voluntarily receive the vaccine by a certain date in advance of a planned reopening, figuring that satisfies the government’s responsibility. According to WavesNZ, a vaccine safety and efficacy warning organization, “New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world to be living in if you want to be able to choose what to do with you and your family regarding vaccines.”

    NZ could (and I expect they and many other countries will) require arriving visitors to have been vaccinated. I can’t be the only one here who traveled back when passing though immigration required the presentation a Yellow Card (Carte Jaune / International Certificate of Vaccination) documenting required vaccinations. I’ve got several old tattered ones stored away with my expired passports.

    “New Zealand has isolated itself basically from the world …”

    The US seems pretty isolated to me. I haven’t seen my Significant Other since February. We only expected to be apart for a few weeks, but with no legal travel between the US and the Schengen Area (and no prospects of change in sight), we have no idea when we will be able to reunite.

  • Cotour


    The New Zealand president has shown her willingness to “Manage” her populations ability to free choice by the choices she has made regarding the virus and her entire country’s real and true isolation. This is not recognizing that we live in and are a function of nature and when you intellectualize nature or your reality too much it comes with unsustainable conditions. In the end, long term, nature wins.

    If there is no viable vaccine then NZ is essentially eternally isolated? And when the vaccine kills its first statistical recipient, then what?

    So its always best to sway like a palm tree in a storm rather than attempt to resist the storm entirely. Its the difference between thinking you are in or have control, and then realizing that if fact its only influence that is what you in deed have. Manage that.

    And I understand NZ’s stance, but it comes at a very high long term price. They are now even more vulnerable to the virus because it was not allowed to be managed through the population and burn itself out. The Zman has been generally correct about this virus situation. There is a balance to be strived for between a politicians fiduciary responsibilities regarding health and the freedoms that they will be stepping on should they become too zealous. And IMO Trump has been stellar here.

    And I am sorry to hear of your inability to be with whom you desire, you are not alone there. I have a friend who’s daughter married a Chinese man in China, and he and his wife may never see her again given the virus and the general escalating political tensions between the U.S. and China.

  • Andrew_W

    Cotour, NZ has so far not suffered much economic loss, if a vaccine is never developed we certainly will have to go through the process of living with the disease, as will everyone else. I don’t think any country is near reaching the point of having gained the level of herd immunity necessary to prevent a surge in cases in the event of a return to “normal” living, from the evidence I’ve seen, I doubt the US and most other countries are more than a quarter of the way to that level of herd immunity.
    If natural herd immunity is possible – ie, immunity through exposure, artificial herd immunity through vaccines is also almost certainly possible.

    New Zealanders are happy with where we are at the moment, there’s no hostility towards government for being too dictatorial, indeed the current government is high in the polls and likely to get a comfortably win the election next month. Personally I don’t give them the level of adulation many others do because I think the success in eliminating the virus is down to kiwi’s sticking to the task and getting the job done – despite repeated examples of government mismanagement in the fight against the disease.
    The Labour Party is now planning to ride the popular support into the elections and keep policy to a minimum, a situation I think alarming as it amounts to the electorate handing them a blank check – no promises on what they will do – or (more importantly) what they won’t do for the next three years.

  • Cotour

    Wishing you and your fellow “Newies” (?) all the best.

    (Ah, Kiwis, not Newies.)

  • Andrew_W

    Ahh damn. Four cases of community spread in a household in Auckland, so far source unknown. No surprise given the repeated organizational and procedural mistakes by this government at the border.

  • LocalFluff

    The Swedish government’s chief epidemiologist Dr. Tegnell has had an internal email leaked. It says (with my translation) in a question to a retired professor of epidemiology:
    “For sure, it must be that when the immunity of a population increases, the spread of the virus decreases, the R value decreases. It can’t be that the spread suddenly ceases when herd immunity as been achieved? Is it possible to model the rate of decrease of the contagion? Please illustrate!”

    So, there’s nothing really wrong with what he claims, or supposes. But it sounds very uneducated! “Can it be modeled”? I thought that epidemiologist spent most of their time modeling things like this. But Dr. Tegnell doesn’t know.

    The Swedish government has done nothing about corona simply because it has no capability to do anything whatever happens. All politicians and heads of government bureaus are idiots. That’s why they were recruited, to make sure that they don’t get any idea or do anything. Most convenient for the boards that select them in order to eliminate rivals. Libertarians use to say, a bit jokingly, that the best government is one that doesn’t do anything. This is proof! Maybe an incapable government is the best government.

  • Cotour

    ” No surprise given the repeated organizational and procedural mistakes by this government at the border.”

    ” That’s why they were recruited, to make sure that they don’t get any idea or do anything. Most convenient for the boards that select them in order to eliminate rivals.”

    What do you get when you mate a Swede with a “Kiwi”?

    A very nice and respectful sounding American Liberal Democrat bureaucrat?

    Or is it an aspiring junior Nazi?

  • Cotour

    Aspiring junior Nazi’s?

    Still feeling comfortable with your government Andrew W?

  • Cotour

    With the best intentions of course. Intellectualizing nature and reality requires that extreme measures be taken to insist that your interpretation of reality be adhered to. (Mother nature does not play by those rules and will win in the long term)

    This is a short term solution to what can only be described as a long term problem. New Zealand is now going to be on a rolling eternal government imposed lock down. There is always going to be a chink in the intellectualized armor.

    Not good.

  • Andrew_W

    Given the mood of the country I’m optimistic we’ll knock this on the head quickly, we’re not going to have a civil war over this.

  • Andrew_W

    Cotour, just watched the youtube video, in linking to it are you demonstrating your love of satire or your naivety?

  • Cotour

    Since I am not on the scene in New Zealand, possibly both?

    But you have to admit the wording in your presidents mandate is a bit strong and overreaching, no?

    She is going to mandate this virus right out of your country, and she does not care who’s door she might have to have broken down. Is it just me?

  • Andrew_W

    I think maybe it’s just you, if a fire starts in the kitchen you don’t let everyone carry on doing whatever they’re doing and wait to see if it gets any worse before deciding to do what you can to extinguish it.

  • Cotour

    But Andrew W, your fine with the unambiguous and essentially violent if they have to be wording in her pronouncement?

    Giving that kind of power to a police agency?

    No concern at all? Your fine with it? That is the slippery slope my friend.

  • Andrew_W

    But Cotour, we’ve been on that “slippery slope” before, when the virus was eliminated here last time restrictions were lifted, life returned to normal (except at the border).

  • Cotour

    Andrew, your president has created as I understand by decree very strong language regarding state police being able to break down your door if they decide they need to. Without any recourse for you.

    Am I correct about that?

    Everything is fine, until they think its your door that needs to be broken down and you hauled away.


  • Andrew _W

    I know there’s some measure that was passed along those lines, think it could happen at the direction of the Director General of Health. It hasn’t happened yet. The police can break down Your door if they have reason to believe doing so is necessary to save a life.

  • Cotour


    We will keep an eye on this. I believe the wording gives the police in the interests of controlling this virus they can on their own initiative break down your door.

    “Necessary to save a life” is a very broad term. Does she mean the life of a person in a home who is incapacitated? Or breaking down your door in the interests of saving the lives of everyone else in the country?

    These are foreign concepts to an American. And you can even see in the various states the degrees that governors are either all on board with such thinking or reticent to go any where near there even in this declared emergency condition.

    Words have meaning and when things get hot you all become endangered.

    In the interests of the greater good of course.

    What is the nature of man (Or woman) related to the abuse of power?

  • Andrew_W

    “Necessary to save a life” is a very broad term.
    When I said “your door” I meant “YOUR door”

  • LocalFluff

    “What do you get when you mate a Swede with a “Kiwi”?”

    Green sour blueberries. And very angry disappointed bears.
    Do you have bears on New Zealand? No, that’s too close to bear heaven, Antarctica with its fat slow penguines. When Thomas Cook discovered Hawaii, he asked the natives however they got there. They pointed at their canoes and westwards. “Yeah, sure!”

  • Andrew_W

    “WhenThomas Cook discovered Hawaii,”
    Spilt tea.

  • Cotour

    I am well aware that Rights are not absolute and these emergency conditions give governments, all governments, the ability to step on what ever Rights that they may deem necessary. I am unable to find the exact wording of your presidents mandate, but as I remember it it was direct and unambiguous.

    Here we see a story about Covid and how New Zealand “Beat” it. New Zealand more side stepped Covid and Covid is waiting outside the door. All the doors. And its patience is endless. How long is the president willing to hold you all hostage in your own best interests?

    If their is no acceptable vaccine you may have to stay in this condition for 5 years? 10 years? What are her metrics for an acceptable vaccine? What is the acceptable statistical vaccine death rate in the population?

    If nothing else New Zealand is in an interesting position related to this particular virus. What about the next one?

    Its a path choice, I will respect that.

  • LocalFluff

    Okay, JAMES Cook, whatever. I’ve been overwhelmed by travel advertising.
    (Is the cook the captain??)

    I used to follow Trump’s campaign and policies. But today was the first time since the corona panicdemic that I’ve seen one of his press conferences. The so called journalists are wearing diapers on their faces! Hahaha! My fashion advice is that they put tomatoes on their noses to finally look exactly like the clowns they are.

  • Andrew _W

    Thanks for that read Cotour, it does capture the kiwi way of thinking. I keep looking for an excuse to mention Lincoln’s “a house divided” speech.

    Localfluff, “Kiwi” is based on the flightless bird that eats roots, shoots and leaves. . . (A joke) not the fruit.

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