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Flip flopping definitely doesn't help, but right now, there are a few studies that say it MAY increase infection, but if you read in detail why, it still makes sense to wear masks. I wouldn't be surprised in a few months that there will be research that shows that wearing masks outweighs the risks of not wearing mask.
Flip flopping is to be expected as more data comes into play. There is intuitive sense that wearing a mask should reduce; however, the risk is that people assume they are completely protected and then go into crowded social situations where one person is infected and it turns out it's not effective.

This isn't much of a study, but it tried to see if masks would prevent the patient from transmitting the virus. The result is no: New study questions the effectiveness of masks against SARS-CoV-2.
But it isn't much of a study... still, there's going to be conflicting data for the time being.

The danger is that masks aren't effective specifically for COVID-19, we open up, and then get a second wave of infections. Other studies may have used viral surrogates, so there is always a danger that it's not applicable to COVID-19.
 

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Flip flopping is to be expected as more data comes into play. There is intuitive sense that wearing a mask should reduce; however, the risk is that people assume they are completely protected and then go into crowded social situations where one person is infected and it turns out it's not effective.

This isn't much of a study, but it tried to see if masks would prevent the patient from transmitting the virus. The result is no: New study questions the effectiveness of masks against SARS-CoV-2.
But it isn't much of a study... still, there's going to be conflicting data for the time being.

The danger is that masks aren't effective specifically for COVID-19, we open up, and then get a second wave of infections. Other studies may have used viral surrogates, so there is always a danger that it's not applicable to COVID-19.
The biggest danger is that people aren't physically distancing with or without mask. From what I have seen so far, many people are not physically distancing properly. Most people are not wearing masks of any sort. People just seem oblivious on what is going on or what they should do. I have also noticed that those that are wearing masks (not all of them) seem to be much more aware of their surrounding. It seems that those that are wearing masks are more conscientious of what's going on. This is totally anecdotal, but I have taken the time to observe people while I am out and about and I even take the time to sit in my car and watch how people are behaving waiting in lines.

Here's what I have observed so far in my unscientific observations:
  • People don't know what 6 feet is even when it is marked on the floor. Wear I have seen the dots or 'x's to stand on, people often not leave a full space of six feet. The will stand somewhere in between the two dots and think just because there is a dot in front of them, they are okay. For example, I have stood just in front of a dot, the person is just on the other side of the dot. So now I always stand just behind a dot even if it takes two dots.
  • People don't know what 6 feet is when it's not marked. I have told many people to stand behind their cart and take a step back (if it's a small cart)
  • Non mask wearers seem to be more likely to not properly social distance in general. That could be because there are more non mask wearers around, or that people who choose to wear masks are much more cautious.
  • People that are from cultures or occupations that wear masks (I can only tell by visible features, so there may be some assumptions here) seem to distance a lot better.
  • Seniors are awful with their masks, but seem to be fine okay with physical distancing. I see so many seniors with masks, but they are not wearing them properly.
I have more observations, but I wonder if this will change as more people start wearing masks. In terms of kids, I have seen very few kids wear them. In fact, the kids that I see out in stores, which I don't think they should be (if there are two adults there) are running around. My kids stay at home unless I need them to be there, and when they are out, they need to wear masks. We have gone outdoors and I made them wear masks just so they can practice putting them on, breathing in them and taking them off. They hate it, but we bring masks anytime we leave the house just in case.

There is conflicting data, but from what I have seen in other countries and studies a mask just makes sense.
 

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The biggest danger is that people aren't physically distancing with or without mask. From what I have seen so far, many people are not physically distancing properly. Most people are not wearing masks of any sort. People just seem oblivious on what is going on or what they should do. I have also noticed that those that are wearing masks (not all of them) seem to be much more aware of their surrounding. It seems that those that are wearing masks are more conscientious of what's going on.
It's a cultural thing. People in North America don't want to be told what to do. So even if you have the government recommending, or mandating mask usage, the same people who don't physically distance, won't be using masks. There's little that can be done unless people themselves decide to wear masks.
 

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I have been reading through many studies and protocols since January. From what I can infer, wearing masks properly will slow down the rate of infection.
I agree, I think most people agree.
I'd just like to point out, that in my observations, very very few people are using them properly.

I've yet to notice a single person make a proper mask adjustment/application/removal in public.
To be fair, I've only been out a few dozen times, but virtually nobody is doing it right.

Even with gloves, I've gone to Canadian tire, they're making a show of wiping down the registers and surfaces, but nobody is wiping the PIN pad.

The big problem with masks & gloves is that they need to be used properly and consistently, or they're at best not helping, more likely they're offering a false sense of security.
 

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People who wear a mask protect me from their droplets that carry the virus and can travel quite a distance beyond 6 feet.

How they put the mask on and off doesn't change that.
 

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I agree, I think most people agree.
I'd just like to point out, that in my observations, very very few people are using them properly.

I've yet to notice a single person make a proper mask adjustment/application/removal in public.
To be fair, I've only been out a few dozen times, but virtually nobody is doing it right.

Even with gloves, I've gone to Canadian tire, they're making a show of wiping down the registers and surfaces, but nobody is wiping the PIN pad.

The big problem with masks & gloves is that they need to be used properly and consistently, or they're at best not helping, more likely they're offering a false sense of security.
Once again, a mask protects others, not the wearer. Yes, it is a good idea to wear one when you cannot maintain 2 metres distance. It will protect others if you are infected but asymptomatic and so do not know you are infected. That is the purpose of a mask.

ANY sense of security a mask gives the person wearing it is a FALSE sense of security.
 

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People who wear a mask protect me from their droplets that carry the virus and can travel quite a distance beyond 6 feet.

How they put the mask on and off doesn't change that.
Correct sags. Wear yours when you are near me and I will wear mine when I am near you. That's their purpose.
 

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Once again, a mask protects others, not the wearer. Yes, it is a good idea to wear one when you cannot maintain 2 metres distance. It will protect others if you are infected but asymptomatic and so do not know you are infected. That is the purpose of a mask.

ANY sense of security a mask gives the person wearing it is a FALSE sense of security.
Again you're wrong.
Masks work quite well, when worn properly. That's pretty much undeniable.

Improper use of PPE causes a false sense of security, but proper use actually makes things better.
 

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Now Tam has flipped on travel restrictions and closing borders.

She was clearly wrong in her recommendations.
I wasn't questioning her before, thinking maybe her expertise and access to better information gave her insight that the general population lacked.

Looks like she was wrong. I think we have to seriously question if she is the right person for the job.
 

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Again you're wrong.
Masks work quite well, when worn properly. That's pretty much undeniable.

Improper use of PPE causes a false sense of security, but proper use actually makes things better.
NO, I am not wrong. A mask worn by the general public will have very little affect in protecting the wearer from the virus and that is who we are talking about here, the public.

A medical mask worn with other PPE equipment like a face shield, gloves, gown, etc. is worn to protect a healthcare worker as much as it is POSSIBLE to protect them and yet as we see, some still get the virus.

The public and the healthcare worker get the virus from close contact with an infected person. A mask alone will do very little to stop that. So when Dr. Tam says, wear a mask when you cannot maintain distance, she is NOT talking about protecting yourself, she is talking about protecting others in case you are infected. That is ALL she is talking about.

We have a poster here who tried to tell us that a homemade cloth mask with 2 layers of 'blue shop towels' was 94% effective in protecting the wearer. That is simply absurd. But it is typical of the mistaken belief people have as to what the purpose of wearing the mask is.

The best protection for yourself is to maintain your distance at all times. End of story.
 

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Now Tam has flipped on travel restrictions and closing borders.
In hind-sight, we should have closed earlier. The question is how early and to what degree? Keep in mind that most of the early infections came from the USA, not China. Canada’s early COVID-19 cases came from the U.S. not China, provincial data shows

So, should we have completely shut the border from January until now except for returning residents and essential traffic? Keep in mind, we would have to maintain the shutdown until other countries get their situation under control. Could we have stopped people from going on spring break? How do you think the USA would have taken it if we decided to shut the border back in January when they still thought it was a joke?

The other question is how would people take it if the situation in Canada didn't develop as it did? Would people blame the government for taking it all out of proportion as we would have had fewer cases than we do now?

We've been doing the social distancing for the past 2 months, you think we would have been fine doing for the past 4 months, if the situation wasn't a serious as it is now?
 

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NO, I am not wrong. A mask worn by the general public will have very little affect in protecting the wearer from the virus and that is who we are talking about here, the public.
Actually you're purposely conflating 2 different points.
1. I agree a mask worn by the general public will have little affect diesease spread.
I've been saying this for weeks.

2. A properly handled and work mask can help protect yourself and others.
I've been saying this for weeks as well.
Which is also true, if it helps protect yourself and others, it's not a "false sense of security"

You seem to be very confused on what my science and fact based position is.
I've been very consistent, but apparently it is confusing to you.
It's simple, PPE helps when worn properly, most people don't wear it properly, and in such cases it offers little to no benefit, or even increased risk/harm.


Which is why I think that they have to be clear and consistent on their public health position. Otherwise people won't understand the message. Which again is my primary complaint with the Government messaging.
 

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Now Tam has flipped on travel restrictions and closing borders.

She was clearly wrong in her recommendations.
I wasn't questioning her before, thinking maybe her expertise and access to better information gave her insight that the general population lacked.

Looks like she was wrong. I think we have to seriously question if she is the right person for the job.
Once again, hindsight is 20/20. I don't know why people can't seem to understand that all the health professionals were giving their best advice AT the time they were giving it.

I totally agree that we were too slow to close down travel. But at the time, the SPEED of the spread of this virus was an unknown. It basically went from zero to 100 in a couple of weeks. Now we know that, then we did not.

I do think we could have closed down travel at least one or two weeks earlier. We here were talking about it before the March Break. Allowing people to leave on March Break was perhaps our biggest mistake but Dr. Tam is not the one who made that decision is she. Politicians made the decision and while yes she was giving them input, so were airlines and vacation companies, travel insurance companies, the public's expectations, etc. etc.

I get annoyed when I see a reporter asking Dr. Tam why Quebec is opening schools and Ontario is keeping them closed for example. Her advice to both provinces is the same, but the decision is up to the Province, not her and yet if you pay attention you will hear Quebec reporters asking her the question pretty rudely as if it were her fault and her decision.

We've seen parents now going back to work complaining they can't find childcare and we've seen parents going back to work saying they don't want to go back to work and have to risk their kids in childcare. You can't win in this kind of situation. You're dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

People always want to blame someone for the past and neither you or I have a high enough profile to be blamed that's all. I trust Dr. Tam's advice ahead of any other person giving advice. I hear her now saying, 'yes, it will help reduce spread if you wear a mask' but at the same time I also hear her saying loud and clear, 'IF IF IF you cannot maintain your distance'. I know what the important part of that message is. Keep your distance before all else.
 

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Actually you're purposely conflating 2 different points.
1. I agree a mask worn by the general public will have little affect diesease spread.
I've been saying this for weeks.

2. A properly handled and work mask can help protect yourself and others.
I've been saying this for weeks as well.
Which is also true, if it helps protect yourself and others, it's not a "false sense of security"

You seem to be very confused on what my science and fact based position is.
I've been very consistent, but apparently it is confusing to you.
It's simple, PPE helps when worn properly, most people don't wear it properly, and in such cases it offers little to no benefit, or even increased risk/harm.


Which is why I think that they have to be clear and consistent on their public health position. Otherwise people won't understand the message. Which again is my primary complaint with the Government messaging.
Read the Mayo link. The ONLY type of mask that provides significant protection to the wearer's mouth and nose is an N95 type mask. They are NOT intended for the general pubic. There is still a shortage of them for healthcare professionals and NO member of the public should be taking up that supply. Are you trying to suggest all the public should be taught the proper way to wear an N95 mask? Where would they all come from?

Nor does even an N95 mask ALONE provide as much protection as maintaining distance does even without any mask at all. I am not conflating two different points, I am saying there is only ONE point being discussed in this thread and it is not how effective is a properly handled N95 mask by a healthcare professional. The subject here is the purpose of a mask of any kind being worn by the PUBLIC.

The false sense of security comes when the public thinks as many DO, that wearing any kind of mask including a home made mask protects the wearer SIGNIFICANTLY. It has them thinking that they don't have to maintain distance IF they were a mask. That it is an ALTERNATIVE and that thinking is WRONG.

We don't need the public to learn how to put on and remove an N95 mask properly, we STILL need them to learn to maintain distance. Every time I look at the news on TV, I see people ignoring distancing. In Toronto I heard this morning, people are looking for (and finding) 'blackmarket' haircuts. That's more important to them than the risk of getting the virus.

People are stupid and people LOOK for a 'way around' all kinds of things every day. Let them even THINK that wearing a mask whether rightly or wrongly put on/off and they will JUMP on that answer as the answer they WANT to hear. Now they are hearing it. 'You can ignore distancing if you wear a mask.' That's what they hear and so that's what they will do.

I do agree they should be clear and consistent with the message but we live in the real world and the pressure being applied on all sides must be tremendous. So someone says, 'well, will wearing a mask hurt?' and the answer of course, is, 'well no, it could reduce spread but it is no replacement for distancing.' That answer is correct but people take the first part and ignore the second part because they WANT to and then say, 'the message wasn't clear.' It was as clear as a window pane to me.
 

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Read the Mayo link. The ONLY type of mask that provides significant protection to the wearer's mouth and nose is an N95 type mask. They are NOT intended for the general pubic. There is still a shortage of them for healthcare professionals and NO member of the public should be taking up that supply. Are you trying to suggest all the public should be taught the proper way to wear an N95 mask? Where would they all come from?

Nor does even an N95 mask ALONE provide as much protection as maintaining distance does even without any mask at all. I am not conflating two different points, I am saying there is only ONE point being discussed in this thread and it is not how effective is a properly handled N95 mask by a healthcare professional. The subject here is the purpose of a mask of any kind being worn by the PUBLIC.

The false sense of security comes when the public thinks as many DO, that wearing any kind of mask including a home made mask protects the wearer SIGNIFICANTLY. It has them thinking that they don't have to maintain distance IF they were a mask. That it is an ALTERNATIVE and that thinking is WRONG.

We don't need the public to learn how to put on and remove an N95 mask properly, we STILL need them to learn to maintain distance. Every time I look at the news on TV, I see people ignoring distancing. In Toronto I heard this morning, people are looking for (and finding) 'blackmarket' haircuts. That's more important to them than the risk of getting the virus.

People are stupid and people LOOK for a 'way around' all kinds of things every day. Let them even THINK that wearing a mask whether rightly or wrongly put on/off and they will JUMP on that answer as the answer they WANT to hear. Now they are hearing it. 'You can ignore distancing if you wear a mask.' That's what they hear and so that's what they will do.

I do agree they should be clear and consistent with the message but we live in the real world and the pressure being applied on all sides must be tremendous. So someone says, 'well, will wearing a mask hurt?' and the answer of course, is, 'well no, it could reduce spread but it is no replacement for distancing.' That answer is correct but people take the first part and ignore the second part because they WANT to and then say, 'the message wasn't clear.' It was as clear as a window pane to me.
Jumping around quite a bit, but I'll comment.
I'm glad you agree masks work.
N95 masks are intended for the general public, if you're doing any woodworking, or drywall you should definately wear one. I have several dozen masks, and other respirators for various types of work.

As far as "will wearing a mask hurt", I disagree.
Used improperly masks can increase your risk of exposure, that's why you should have training in how to wear PPE.


Back to the basics, I don't think widespread mask usage will offer much benefit for the general public.
I think a properly worn and used mask reduces risk and is not necessarily a "false sense of security". It is simply a measure that can somewhat reduce risk. Just like air bags in a car really do reduce risk, they aren't a replacement for seat belts, or a license to drive irresponsibly.
 

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Jumping around quite a bit, but I'll comment.
I'm glad you agree masks work.
N95 masks are intended for the general public, if you're doing any woodworking, or drywall you should definately wear one. I have several dozen masks, and other respirators for various types of work.

As far as "will wearing a mask hurt", I disagree.
Used improperly masks can increase your risk of exposure, that's why you should have training in how to wear PPE.


Back to the basics, I don't think widespread mask usage will offer much benefit for the general public.
I think a properly worn and used mask reduces risk and is not necessarily a "false sense of security". It is simply a measure that can somewhat reduce risk. Just like air bags in a car really do reduce risk, they aren't a replacement for seat belts, or a license to drive irresponsibly.
Fine MrMatt but none of that contradicts what I said about the general public using any excuse they can find to 'get around' something. Just let them THINK a mask will make them invulnerable and they'll jump all over that thought. That is what is now happening with many people I'm sure.
 

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As far as "will wearing a mask hurt", I disagree.
Used improperly masks can increase your risk of exposure, that's why you should have training in how to wear PPE.


Back to the basics, I don't think widespread mask usage will offer much benefit for the general public.
I think a properly worn and used mask reduces risk and is not necessarily a "false sense of security". It is simply a measure that can somewhat reduce risk. Just like air bags in a car really do reduce risk, they aren't a replacement for seat belts, or a license to drive irresponsibly.
Shouldn't one of the approaches be to teach people to properly use the mask then? When people read that using masks can increase infection, it makes people question if they should wear masks at all. The key piece of information missing is IF the PPE is used incorrectly, then it increases the risk. The proper use of PPE will reduce spread. To me, part of the approach is to teach people to use PPE correctly and not scare or confuse them in not wearing it at all.

That's like saying driving a car will lead to death. Driving a car the wrong way will lead to higher risk of death.

It's the same thing with the false sense of security. Masks are about #4 to reducing COVID spread. Used in conjuction with the first 3 safety precautions, it increases protection. No one is saying use it as the first line of defense.
 

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Shouldn't one of the approaches be to teach people to properly use the mask then?
Yes, that's why so many problems need information or training programs, but people are too busy and don't listen.

Also I think people will be insulted and react negatively to being told they don't know how to wear a mask.
They have to be careful with this, that's actually why I like the "handwashing" with dye and gloves. They spin it as an "interesting" thing.

But again, yes, people should be shown how to wash their hands, how to estimate 6', and how to wear a mask.
 

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Yes, that's why so many problems need information or training programs, but people are too busy and don't listen.

Also I think people will be insulted and react negatively to being told they don't know how to wear a mask.
They have to be careful with this, that's actually why I like the "handwashing" with dye and gloves. They spin it as an "interesting" thing.

But again, yes, people should be shown how to wash their hands, how to estimate 6', and how to wear a mask.
It has been very interesting on how to get the information out. Before my mother's care home was locked down, they were requiring visitors to take 'hand washing' lessons from the nurses. I was a little insulted, but went along with it. They showed me how to wash using soap and water, the foam hand sanitizer and the gel one. I had to sign a form saying did all three under the supervision of a nurse. I was pretty good at it, but even there I learned a few things. Though initially I thought how silly, I am really glad they did this. I went and made my kids, father, and extended family do the same.

There are a lot of steps for handwashing and mask wearing. I wish people would just stop arguing on whether they should wear masks or not, and take time to learn how to do it properly.
 
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