Look, it’s really simple: coughing into the air infects people. You’re supposed to put a barrier between your cough and everybody else, like a handkerchief. If you were the clever inventor type, you’d come up with the idea that tying a handkerchief around your face would intercept your coughs even if both hands were full or if the cough was very sudden. You’d have invented the face mask.
All this is obviously true and needs no verification. If using a Kleenex or a handkerchief is a good idea, a mask is an even better idea. But here’s a summary that shows that it’s true.
Hence, lots of people who can’t get commercial masks or have been shamed into not wearing them are using improvised masks: everything from bandannas to custom-sewn masks like the ones shown above.
In fact, our local hospital, Good Samaritan, is accepting donations of homemade masks. They like the commercial ones better, of course, but it’s a case of “any port in a storm.” They’re solidly behind the idea of not dying, you see. We can learn from their example.
So wear your masks when you go out.
Masks Protect You and Others
As it turns out, a mask—even an improvised mask— is more than just a pre-positioned handkerchief to protect others: it helps keep you safe as well. That’s good news for all you sociopaths out there: even if you won’t lift a finger (or a Kleenex) to protect others, the mask protects you.
So why are the CDC, etc., saying “masks don’t work but our health-care workers really need them or they’ll die?” My guess is that they’re stupid, they think we’re stupid, or both. Doesn’t matter; it’s not our job to fix their brains for them. Anyway, you should look for original sources and see what the hands-on people have to say, not the talking heads.
More About Stupidity
Our so-called leaders and experts, especially the suit-wearing and microphone-talking kinds (not the real experts, who we don’t see very often: “those that can, do”) are constantly make all the fundamental errors of reasoning that are available to them. Here are just four:
- Black-and-white thinking. “Every little bit doesn’t help: it’s all or nothing.” They apply this reasoning to masks but not to Kleenex. Oddly, no one claims that coughing into a Kleenex traps all the viruses, but they know it helps a lot. But they can’t apply this reasoning to masks.
- Appeal to authority. “If the FDA hasn’t approved it, I’m really scared.”
- The best is the enemy of the good. We’d rather use the best masks. If we can’t get them, we use the second-best masks. If we can’t get those, either, we use the third-best masks, and so on. Strangely, this is too complicated for some people.
- Projecting their own panic. People who are overwhelmed and panicky sometimes latch onto the panic itself as the larger problem, since their brain has shut down when thinking about the real problem. Panic, like hoarding, is more of a nuisance-level symptom than a real problem. But some people find it easier to blather on about panic than face the real issue.
Wear Your Damned Mask (or Something)
Soon we’ll be awash in classy commercial masks. Wouldn’t it be nice if we and our loved ones are all still alive when this happens? So wear a mask, or a bandanna, or something whenever you’re in public. Starting today. And spread the word.