The law of unforeseen consequences appears to be at work in the recent push to use face masks:
A driver who police believe was wearing an N95 mask for “several hours” passed out Thursday while driving his car in Lincoln Park and crashed into a pole, according to a Facebook post from the borough police department.
The driver, who was not severely injured, was the only person in car and passed out due to “insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake,” police said.
At the same time, Pennsylvania and other states are requiring by law that customers wear a mask to enter a grocery store and other businesses:
The requirement comes from a recent change to the CDC recommendations:
We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. . . . a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Until a few weeks ago the CDC and other authorities were actively discouraging the use of masks. Consider this report updated in early March:
My observation is that experts claim “no evidence” as a reason to reject treatment and prevention options that they disagree with.
At the same time they are happy to require treatment and preventions options that likewise have “no evidence” for the benefits with COVID-19. Here are a few examples of recommended/required treatments and preventions that lack scientific evidence:
6-foot rule for social distancing
hand washing for 20 seconds
use of ventilators for treatment of severe pneumonia
Should we discourage and/or ban these recommendations because they have no scientific evidence of effectiveness with COVID-19?
Did CDC recommendations discouraging facemasks allow the disease to spread more rapidly?
The WHO is now saying there “no evidence of immunity for survivors” of COVID-19. In January they said that there was “no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no health care worker infections have been reported.”
Does “no evidence” merely mean simply that there has not been time or effort to scientifically prove what is likely to be true?
Or does it mean we should actively ban or discourage an alleged treatment or preventive?