Jenkins: Anti-maskers not only wrong, they are dead wrong

Here is a question: Why are there so many wackadoodles fighting any suggestion they should wear a face mask while in public places to help slow the spread of COVID-19?

Some people wear them in crowded public areas because they should, and they know they should as the COVID-19 pandemic again ramps up, threatening to inundate hospital critical care units with burgeoning numbers of new cases daily. Many do not — including at least one Alaska legislator, for crying out loud — because they are, well, openly, unapologetically meshuggeneh, with many believing the push for us to wear masks is a secret government mind-control effort in which, at the end, we are reduced to drooling, mask-wearing toadies.

It should be noted anti-maskers do not seem to mind requirements for shoes and shirts in stores and restaurants. Nor do they much seem to mind anymore that you cannot simply light up a cigarette anyplace you choose or break out a bottle of booze for a quick snort, or that they must wear a seatbelt when they get behind the wheel. Maybe, over time, they simply have become accustomed to those rules. Not so with wearing masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The mere suggestion sends them into a chest-thumping tizzy.

If you look, there are shelves of dueling studies to support each side of the question, but a team of researchers led by Texas A&M University recently studied infection rates in China, Italy and New York City before and after masks were mandatory.

Wearing masks in public “corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission,” the researchers concluded in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and, along with social distancing, quarantine and contact tracing, is the most likely way to stop the pandemic, prior to development of a vaccine.

That means nothing to the anti-maskers. The government, they will tell you, is out to break our will, make us comply, bury our freedoms. Nobody trusts government less than I. It’s in my DNA to question government motives, but even I do not think for a moment it is out to shred the Constitution by urging, even requiring us to wear face masks in crowded circumstances that prohibit social distancing.

Most of us have heard the supposed negatives about masks: They do not work. They are a bother. You cannot breathe well — and, yes, some people should absolutely avoid them like the plague. Largely though, much of the pushback about wearing masks sounds more like teenage posturing: howls about rights, but the barest whispers about responsibilities.

“This is a free country,” the mask fighters will tell you righteously. “It should be my choice. Even government doctors say they will not help.”

It is easy to understand the ongoing confusion about masks. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, early on gave the anti-mask crowd ammunition for its war on good sense.

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Fauci told the nation on March 8. Now, he says he said that to head off an anticipated drain of personal protective equipment for first-responders. Fauci’s concerns about shortages proved correct as beleaguered staff in some hospitals took to wearing garbage bags when their personal protective equipment ran out.

What does Fauci say now?

“There’s no doubt that wearing masks protects you,” Fauci told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week. “Anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it’s giving out free masks or any other mechanism, I am thoroughly in favor of.”

Seward is requiring them. Valdez is requiring them. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz rightly has ordered people wear masks in public areas indoors such as in restaurants, grocery stores, salons and public transportation. It largely is unenforceable, of course, but more people seem to be wearing them. A growing number of states are requiring citizens to wear masks in public places. Alaska does not require them, but Gov. Mike Dunleavy is urging masks be worn where circumstances warrant.

That we have not taken to masks across Alaska like ducks to water to blunt spread of the virus — especially by those who may be asymptomatic and not even know they are infectious — is a mystery. Even if not the perfect solution, masks surely do some good. Whatever happened to helping our neighbors? Why not selflessly wear a mask if it could, might, maybe keep somebody else from getting COVID-19, or give you and yours a better shot at staying healthy?

If you are shying away from masks because some wackadoodle says they are part of a government plot, pay no attention to them.

They are, as usual, dead wrong.

10 Responses to Jenkins: Anti-maskers not only wrong, they are dead wrong

  1. Fishing for Food July 17, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    The author is Dead Wrong. There are credible studies that were conducted in Asia where the donning of face masks is quite common, done before the current Covid panic, that indicate wearing a face mask leads to a 10% to 20% higher risk of contracting influenza & other respiratory infections. And what is Covid 19? A strain of influenza. Face masks are cooty traps,

    Reply
  2. Marilyn July 16, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Wackadoodle and Proud of It. Tired of basement dwellers trying to shame the rest of us who have a life.

    Reply
  3. Fred Flintstone July 16, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Review the photo that shows people waiting to speak before the Assembly. How many masks are not covering noses?

    Masks don’t work if you don’t wear them right. They don’t work if you’re constantly touching your face to realign them. Masks do not filter out virus particles, they just send them sideways more and forward less. You don’t wash and sterilize yours every time you use it? For shame.

    Oh, what’s that you say? Mask shaming is bad? I agree.

    Reply
  4. Jon G Sarber July 16, 2020 at 7:56 am

    The author is wrong. People can have a reasoned argument about the use of face masks. They may actually not only fail to prevent the spread of disease, but may actually contribute to the spread of respiratory diseases. Multiple medical professionals have published papers that are critical of mask usage by untrained people. The best resource that is critical of mask use is the CDC! In the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, dated May 2020. Six doctors from the University of Hong Kong, who have studied the CV19 pandemic as well as all influenza pandemics going back to 1918, conclude that mask use by untrained individuals not only does not work to stop the spread of respiratory illness, mask use actually helps it spread. Read for yourself at the link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article

    Reply
  5. Morrigan July 15, 2020 at 10:10 am

    Respectfully disagree.
    .
    Sure, masks do some good just like a chain link fence stops some mosquitoes.
    .
    Problem is no one knows where, or when, the authority to mandate “do-some-good” stops. No one knows which expert opinion will suffice as the magic word which grants Americans
    permission to resume pre-China flu lives. No one knows when such permission might be granted, if ever.
    .
    If one’s incapacitating fear of China flu is allayed by wearing a mask, then one should wear a mask. The problem with certain people is their entitlement to project their incapacitating fear(s)
    on others, by any socially extortive means necessary, in order to change others’ behavior.
    .
    Is it possible that mask mandates result from defective public-health policy?
    .
    If “doing some good” is what public-health policy is about these days, maybe people should be forced to wear gloves and hair coverings. Places where people gather (like Trump rallies)
    must have sound-level monitors to warn them when they’re getting too loud and therefore spreading pathogens.
    .
    We have lies, documented as such, fed us literally 24/7 by “experts”, mainstream media, and government: officials, big lies, little lies, kinda lies, partial truths, maybe a fact or two tossed in.
    .
    Government officials even told us, on April 7, what the Big Lie will be: regardless of what actually kills you, if you have China flu, your cause of death will be listed as China flu. Washington
    State Department of Health counts anyone who dies with China flu diagnosis as a China flu death. We have whistleblower reports of hospitals defrauding insurance companies by coding people who may have been exposed to China flu as actually having China flu. We have reports from Florida about hundreds of China flu testing facilities reporting 100% China flu positivity.
    .
    We see the Trump administration directed that China flu reports be sent directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, bypassing CDC.
    .
    We were misinformed about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and masks but we must accept less of one and more of the other because the argument of the moment says so?
    .
    We wonder why re-opening schools remains a dilemma of desperate proportions in the U.S., while the rest of the western civilized countries have no problem opening schools, but we must
    accept dictates from the same policymakers to wear masks?
    .
    Real Americans must change their way of life, –wear masks– to obey public-health policy predicated on deliberately falsified statistics?
    .
    We have a generation of cultural illiterates devoid of wisdom, courage and character to participate in a free society, incapable of comprehending the Constitution, flocking together in abject
    panic, assured by their masters that the Gospel of the Mask will save them and their neighbors from getting sick and dying, at least from China flu. They may not get the whole freedom and
    capitalism thing, but, like their global-warming counterparts, they can throw tantrums until everyone adheres strictly to their version of What’s Good For America… or else.
    .
    We watch a blooming waste, fraud, and mismanagement industry and an unaffordable, mushrooming government grow up around distribution of money meant for productive citizens going
    broke because of draconian China flu policy, but our only concern should be masks?
    .
    We watch how quickly, contemptuously “experts” dismiss the efficacy of herd immunity while –deliberately prolonging– the China flu episode by restricting peoples’ natural ability to build immunity against it through exposure to it. “Responsibility” at its best, yes?
    .
    We watch American governments deliberately kill elderly Americans by stuffing China flu sufferers in nursing homes. “Responsibility” at its best, yes?
    .
    We ask where were The Masks during these episodes?
    Bird Flu
    Swine Flu
    SARS
    cholera (think illegal alien relocation policy)
    AIDS
    ARCS
    Tuberculosis (CDC says Alaska ranks #1 among states for TB)
    Bubonic Plague (think Colorado)
    Ebola
    and of course regular ole winter flu types A&B
    .
    Question: What’s the difference between them and China Flu?
    .
    Answer: China Flu may be the last opportunity in this election year to unseat President Trump, destroy America’s economy, break Americans’ spirit, and re-educate Americans to the reality of post-Constitutional America.
    .
    Call it vigorous pushback, posturing, wackadoodlism, we choose not to be ruled by fear.
    .
    So, we’re glad to be counted among those who’ll be alive -and mask free- long after this crisis/hoax/fraud isn’t.

    Reply
  6. Jim Schradle July 14, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Again with the mask shaming. My camp says we need exposure to germs, bacteria, etc. to keep our immune systems strong. All the masking, distancing, sanitizing is creating an environment that encourages our immune systems to take a vacation. Later on we’ll start having problems with the common cold and end up like the Martians in “War Of The Worlds.” Let’s do something new. Let’s adopt healthy living practices through good diet, good exercise and enough sleep (Google is a big help for figuring out how to do this.) Let’s make a daily habit of boosting our immune systems (Google.) Then we can more readily meet these pandemics and as a bonus we’ll lower health care, pharmaceutical and insurance costs by cutting demand for said products.

    Reply
  7. Jerry July 14, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Absolutely not! You are dead wrong! Too many inconsistencies about masks. Firstly, they tell us it does more harm. Secondly, we should wear them, but if we do then do not take them off until you are home. Thirdly, we should wear them but free to take them off when not around others. Fourthly, I have been told to wear one at work when NO ONE is in the building! Fifthly, we had to wear masks in some locations but other locations it wasn’t required, but that changed. If a business wants us to wear one fine, but the mayor should not be mandating it! The death rate from COVID has dropped over the last 11 weeks, every single week. The CDC now says PIC is now below epidemic thresholds! We need to build up herd immunity to protect those vulnerable in our communities. Our rates are going up because so many more are testing and even two weeks in the masks have not slowed down the cases. Cases were not the important issue at the beginning and it should be now; hospitalizations and deaths are the concerns and both of those are low!

    Reply
  8. Randy July 14, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    As usual, although the author confirms that there are two sides to the story, he chooses to discard the side that he clearly despises while only quoting from those who support his beliefs on the subject. Typical “journalist” these days.

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth July 14, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    I agree with all. Fauci though has a hand in the early stages of this bizarre argument with his nationwide false claim. a nation already so distrustful of government, and constitutional rights being stripped left and right, mostly by the left – we were just ripe for petty argument and wresting back some semblance of control, over masks.

    PS – Governor Dunleavy’s Covid 19 talk and discussion last night was excellent.

    Reply
  10. RevBill July 14, 2020 at 10:59 am

    They ARE a part of the culture of fear that will vanish the day after the November election. OK to wear a mask but also let it be known that YOU know what’s going on.
    Emblazon your submission scarf (aka “mask”) with “666”. But don’t dare write “MAGA” on it lest you be assaulted.

    Reply

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