A brief thought – err on the side of caution

I am off to a doctor’s appointment in a few minutes, but wanted to capture a brief thought. I am reading several school boards in Florida will be ignoring Governor DeSantis’ rule that there will be no mask or vaccine mandates. In response, the governor has said he will hold back pay of superintendents who violate his rules.

The lesson that continues to be failed to learn by governors like DeSantis and Abbott over in Texas among others, is with respect to community health, we must err on the side of caution. With respect to children’s health, we must err on the side of caution.

Of course, they took their lead from the former president who put people in danger after he knew of COVID-19 danger inviting them to events, calling it a hoax, and naysaying its severity. And, these were his biggest fans.

Now, we have a rising COVID Delta variant that is plaguing the unvaccinated, primarily. The risk of exposure exists now as much as ever. We must be mindful of these risks.

The military is mandating vaccines, but over 1 million military members have already been vaccinated, which us a huge start. Speaking of military, I have quoted my veteran US Air Force brother-in-law who simply said, “You are not being asked to storm the beach at Normandy. Wear a mask. Get a vaccine.”

This is not a civil liberties issue, this is a public health issue. We must err on the side of caution. It is only your health and that of your family.

16 thoughts on “A brief thought – err on the side of caution

  1. It doesn’t help the cause of addressing Covid and the growing list of VOCs when misleading practices are pushed. Vaccination is the key to reducing both the spread and severity from symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Masks are a primary example.

    Back when the virus was thought to transmit by droplets, masks made sense. They captured most droplets. (And that’s why there was all kinds of deep cleaning put into practice.) Notice we no longer do this.

    But now that we know the virus is transmitted by aerosol and stays airborne for many, many hours, we know masks are useless. Yet look at how masking and vaccination is linked with almost every public service announcement and infectious disease spokespeople…. as if both masking and vaccinations are equivalently useful! They’re not.

    Only vaccination is useful and look at how it’s being presented: as if this will get rid of the danger of Covid. It’s won’t. All of us are going to either get Covid or be exposed to it at soome point regardless of vaccinations by others. And we be exposed whether we wear a mask or not. The only thing we can do that will dramatically improve our chances to get through Covid relatively unscathed is vaccination.

    That’s the whole ballgame. Even people who have had Covid can be re-infected by a VOC (variant of concern) and still suffer the full range of symptoms a second and even third time. Masking makes not one iota of difference. What makes the ONLY difference is vaccination. And that difference is staggering. That’s the message that needs to be consistently pushed: do your civic duty and get vaccinated if, for no other reason than it allows you full access to all public services, transportation, and venues.

    We make this job harder than it needs to be by first by pretending masks play any role at curbing the spread or protects the vulnerable (the virus is small enough to pass through almost any mask with any number of layers commonly used both inhaling and exhaling) and pretending mandating vaccinations is some of kind of huge problem when it’s not. In fact, all of us are subject to all kinds of vaccination mandates to do all kinds of things already or gain access to all kinds of services. One more vaccination makes no difference to these requirements but has profound public health benefits right here, right now, and for all the right reasons.

    • Thanks for your comment. I will still where a mask when I feel it is needed as I did today. And, I am vaccinated. I will encourage others to do so, as well.

      • Me too. I don’t mind doing so if it’s a policy or whatever. But linking the two – masking and vaccinations – is ammunition once again for those disagree or deny or don’t understand reality. And it’s depressing to realize how many people fall into that category. We shouldn’t help them by making links that are unnecessary but now deeply polarizing and political. Health care should be about health and care and not some vehicle for people to moralize or politicize partisanship.

      • In my view, masks are not useless if this is airborne. And, maybe I am being anal, but we still use anti-bacterial soap and socially distance. Again, my thesis is err on the side of caution. I do not want to be overconfident and dead. Again, thanks for your comment. Keith

  2. I fully agree, Keith. Like you, I am fully vaccinated but still wear a mask when out in a public venue, which is very rarely. Reading Tildeb’s comment … I do not recall reading that masks are “useless” at any point. I think masks are protective both for the wearer and those around him, and I think frequent use of hand sanitizer and washing hands is also crucial. As you say, better to err on the side of caution.

    • The virus when aerosolized is under .5 microns in size. Some studies have this under .1. Even an N-95 mask is the first level to provide some protection filtering out such small particles. Most masks being used, however, do not filter the virus of such small size either when inhaling or exhaling. All a mask below that of a N-95 does is decrease by filtration the number of droplets. A droplet could contain literally millions of virus and so reducing this droplet count seems like a good idea. It’s something, anyway. But here’s the thing: what matters most is not the number of droplets impeded by a mask nor the number of virus on a droplets; what matters most when considering transmission is when a virus is so small that it becomes aerosolized, and so an aerosoolized virus is all about concentration, about how much virus is in a chunk of air being breathed in or out. A mask of less than N-95 filtration does not affect this concentration level at all nor remove any virus either breathed in or out because these simply pass through the material. At best, lower filtration level masks like the kind mandated temporarily captures droplets. That’s it. It does not affect concentration levels one iota. Masks, to be clear, do next to nothing to change the viral load present in concentration except by impeding the mass transit vehicles of droplets and this is temporary when the droplets evaporate and the virus once again becomes aerosolized. Masks less than N-95s give the appearance of doing something whereas vaccinations DO something. That’s why attaching the two together is a disservice when trying to convince the public to get vaccinated; it links something ineffective and almost useless with something that is the only real and lasting protection for the public (unless we want to bundle Junior into a hazmat suit to attend daycare). This gives the appearance of being a con job for both and that’s far more dangerous to public health than not wearing a mask indoors where concentration levels can rise quickly depending on air exchange and render masks useless in fact. By giving the appearance of doing something, wearing masks can lead to higher risk of transmission by gathering masked people indoors (like a classroom) and claiming it is relatively safe because masks are being worn. This is simply not true.

      • I will still be wearing a mask, even though I am vaccinated. And, I will encourage others to do the same as I have done here. Apparently, masks, distancing and anti-bacterial cleaning did keep many safe before the vaccines, although I am firm believer in the vaccines. Thanks again for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.