Flip flops from experts about facemasks and other COVID-19 recommendations

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?

I wear N95 masks often at work, and I do not believe for one second that this guy was significantly deprived of oxygen by wearing one for a few hours. .

But why wear a mask while you drive…by yourself. The damn virus isn’t coming into the car thru the vents!


He may have had some medical condition that interfered with his breathing to begin with, which was why he was wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask while driving by yourself in a car makes no sense. A mask only makes sense if you are near other people, especially in a confined space.


Exactly. Let’s see if the national media start to broadcast warnings.

Perhaps if Trump emphasizes the importance of wearing face masks, they would publicize the crash just prove him wrong . . .

Almost every prediction made regarding this virus has been overblown or false. Keep your eye on Georgia. We should know by the first week of May.

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My daughter is an RN in a hospice facility and I asked her about this. She wears an n95 mask all day, except of course when she has lunch. In fact, she has marks around her nose and cheeks that are still there the next day. She doesn’t think the mask was the problem with the person in the article. Unless…it’s a knock-off mask.

Probably there is another reason that driver passed out. Have used cloth masks on the job, and even those who say they’re uncomfortable or have difficulty breathing adjust. One thing they do, which I don’t know that there’s any way around, is fog eyeglasses & make vision a bit strained.

Oh look more nonsense about how this isn’t really a big problem at all.

I admire that the state of Georgia gave small businesses the choice to reopen.

Does it mean business owners will? Or that customers will come?

No. But at least they’ve been given the option.

That’s only a week away.
It’ll take at least three weeks.

There’s more to the story that’s for sure.

…maybe so you don’t totally infect your car? Will others drive or ride in it?

Georgia is now the national experiment.

Quite so. :woman_shrugging:

He was wearing a mask in his car by himself. If other people were in the car I would understand but by himself is strange.

Stop freaking people out telling them they need an N-95 mask. Problem solved.

A cotton mask will catch and absorb the water droplets containing the virus just fine especially with 2-3 layers.

Save the N-95’s for the HCW’s and FR’s dealing with confirmed CCPV patients with intimate contact required.

Media induced panic.