COVID-19 has certainly exposed one of two things. Either some of the dumbest people in the country are leading our states, or they are so hyperpartisan they will beclown themselves to toe the Democrats’ preferred narrative on the virus. The latest ridiculous instructions come from Gavin Newsom’s office:
Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don't forget to keep your mask on in between bites.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) October 3, 2020
One of the primary reasons that masking is controversial is because people don’t know how to use then. Apparently, this lack of knowledge goes straight up to the governor’s office in California. As a former healthcare worker trained on how to don and doff personal protective equipment (PPE) properly, this is painfully stupid.
First, let’s look at the World Health Organization’s recommendations on how to manage a mask appropriately:
How well do you think these steps will be adhered to if diners remove and replace their masks every time they take a bite or a sip? For that matter, how often are the recommendations adhered to when masks are worn in public at all? I see more masks being worn below the nose than being worn properly inside stores that require them.
Repeated donning a doffing also increases the number of times a person touches his face, another excellent transmission route for any number of germs, including COVID-19. That is why the WHO has this to say about any widespread mask use in the community:
Plus, the WHO admits that there is no evidence widespread community mask use reduces transmission:
There is a hypothesis that viral dose at exposure, or how many viruses enter the body, may affect the illness severity with COVID-19. This may be an argument for high-risk individuals wearing masks in enclosed spaces with less ventilation, like retail outlets. Since most counties in California prohibit indoor dining, this is not even a factor.
All studies to date show there is a very low risk for outdoor transmission. One study in China of over 7,324 cases in 120 locations identified only one instance of outdoor transmission.
Strikingly, only one instance of outdoor transmission — involving two men talking together in the village of Shangqiu, Henan province — was found “among our 7,324 identified cases in China with sufficient descriptions.”
This is reinforced by the experience of the Lake of Ozarks and Sturgis motorcycle rally. After a jam-packed summer, the three-county resort area in Missouri experienced 1,443 cases, which was a lower transmission rate than the rest of the state over the same period. Likewise, Sturgis had an infection rate of 0.09%, with nearly a half-million attendees.
One death was reported related to the South Dakota motorcycle rally. Following the Labor Day weekend, 13 deaths had been reported in the Missouri counties surrounding the resort area. It is not clear if any are tied directly to the resort venues. This also followed the busiest summer in the resort facilities in 20 years.
So, Governor Newsom’s office wants you to use masks in an environment where they are not really needed for young, healthy individuals. Even better, they want you to use them in a way that no one who understands the proper use of PPE would recommend. Constantly handling masks makes them virtually useless and possibly contaminates them.
The WHO places far more emphasis on distancing and basic hygiene for healthy individuals. In fact, they warn that the widespread use of masks may reduce these other effective mitigation steps. There is a high degree of likelihood that you would be better off using an appropriate hand sanitizer several times during an outdoor dining experience. Enjoy your meal and your companions.
Governor Newsom has lost his mind. But what else would you expect from a governor who can’t keep the lights on and decided to ban gas-powered vehicles? Clearly, he still engages in magical thinking.