Tuesday, 24 May 2022

“Coronavirus: can Hongkongers finally ditch their masks by summer? Not so fast, health experts say” | SCMP

Hong Kong: the most mask-compliant people in the world 
A depressing sight (click for article)
Personally I hate masks. I find it disturbing not to see the face of one's fellow human being. 
I don't say masks don't work. Just that the data shows they work marginally and not nearly as much as people think: per a Yale/Stanford study — the largest random controlled trial to date — there is an under one percentage point of difference between masking and not masking. 
So masking becomes a balance between benefits and costs. Problem is, the benefits are overplayed and assumed correct, while the costs are hard to define, but are nonetheless real — we know, for example, that children don't learn as well when they can't see their teachers' and classmates faces. And there's the CO2 problem which the above article mentions at the end. And what about my depression? I can't be the only one. 
Note the mission creep by the "experts" in this article. They are now saying we need to mask up to prevent the "flu and other respiratory diseases". We never did that before. No country did. The logic, such as it is, is that "if a single life is saved, it's worth it". No, it's not. That logic would have us stay at home. Stop driving cars. Stop any human interaction. It's all a balance and for me that balance is way over on the safetyism side, here in Hong Kong where we have the strictest mask mandates in the world. 
While I watch and track other countries like the US, Australia, the UK, where there are large-scale events with everyone maskless. Each weekend now I watch the Australian Rules football. Melbourne Cricket Ground with 90,000 happy, maskless fans. Oh glory! Unimaginable here in HK. Yet these countries figures for Covid hospitalisations and deaths remain low. 

Only here in Hong Kong (and China too, of course) do we maintain such tough restrictions. 
It's depressing.

ADDED: Lab studies of Covid virus-stopping power show: cloth masks stop 10-20%, surgical masks (the one most people wear), stop around 50% and N95 masks stop 90%. Then we have the following from professor Hui Shu-cheong:
Hui said healthcare workers usually needed to take a break after wearing N95 respirators for more than two hours as they might develop headaches due to breathing in carbon dioxide. That was also why the public and patients were not recommended to wear N95 respirators, he added. Link… 

i didn’t know, and I suspect most people don’t, that we are being discouraged from wearing N95 mask-respirators. And 50% stoppage of the most recommended mask, the surgical mask, is not enough to stop the spread, indoors, of a highly transmissible disease. Which is why “In Real Life” is different from lab results. Yes, masks work (in the lab) but not enough to stop IRL spread indoors. (Outdoor masking should never have happened).