Commentary

Fumbled messaging

With more than 85 percent of Americans now reported to be masked up – a staggering degree of cooperation on anything in a democracy – and COVID-19 raging at record levels anyway, isn’t it time someone asked a key question about the country’s face-covering policy:

When did medical standard for mask use get overtaken by the National Football League (NFL) standard for mask use?

If you have watched the NFL, America’s most watched TV by a long shot,  you’ve been flooded with NFL examples of how to use a mask:

  • Put your fingers all over your mask all the time.
  • Never wash your hands.
  • Take your mask off when you go on the field to enter a scrum of puffing, panting people.
  • Put your mask on when you return to the sidelines so you can ignore social-distancing to rub shoulders with teammates.
  • Pull your mask down if you want to yell at someone so you can extend the range of droplets, or what used to be called spittle, possibly containing COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
  • And after the game, cross the field to make sure to shake hands or hug those not in your COVID-19 protective “bubble.”

This has been the most visible example provided Americans through the fall on how to use a mask, and it is a bad one.

Does it matter?

Nobody really knows because not that much is known about the efficacy of masks in general, despite the claims made by modelers as to what a difference they make. But what is known is that masks are a potential tool in the battle against the pandemic.

And when it comes to tools, it matters how they are used. You can use a sharp knife to dice an onion in under a minute or to accidentally cut off your finger.

Pandemic fatigue

When medical leaders decided it was time for Americans to mask up to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they offered masking guidance. It didn’t sound or look at all like the high-visibility masking demonstrations put on by the NFL.

“Here are a few pointers for putting on and taking off a cloth mask,” the Mayo Clinic, one of the countries foremost medical institutions, offered back when health officials were still debating whether masks would make a difference in slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before and after putting on and taking off your mask.
  • Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
  • Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
  • If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
  • If your mask becomes wet or dirty, switch to a clean one. Put the used mask in a sealable bag until you can wash it.
  • Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
  • Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.

“Sanitize your hands” after touching your mask? You certainly didn’t see any NFL coaches or players doing that on TV, but have you seen anyone doing it?

“Remove the mask…without touching the front of the mask or your face?” Right. Standard operating procedure for most people now is to grab the front of the mask, pull it off, and stuff it in their pocket when leaving an indoor space where masks are required.

“Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask?” Certainly there are conscientious Americans, mainly those most worried about catching the disease, who sanitize their hands after removing the mask, and a lot of people who wash their hands once they get home.

But on an hourly to daily basis, there is probably about as much hand washing after mask touching going on in the country in general as on the NFL sidelines. Go watch the employees of your local supermarket. You will see them regularly pulling their masks up and down.

Nobody is doing any hand washing after, and then there’s that last dictate on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE):

“Regularly wash your mask with soap and water.”

There doesn’t appear to have been any research done in this country on how well people are complying with that recommendation, but officials in the United Kingdom looked at the issue in August and concluded only “32 percent are washing their mask after every use, the correct procedure. And even among these people, only 41 percent are washing them at 60 degrees or higher – lower temperatures are not enough to kill viruses like COVID-19.

“This means that, overall, just one in eight (13 percent) of those who wear washable, reusable face masks are actually maintaining them in a way that is helpful to stopping the spread of coronavirus.”

If the Brits are to be believed, this would indicate 87 percent of those wearing washable face masks are doing so for no reason other than virtue signaling or simply to get along with their fellow citizens.

Good, old USA

There is no reason to believe the situation is any better in the U.S. than in England.

The NFL turned masking into a virtue-signaling charade. Given that the players and opposing teams are up close and personal on the field, panting and puffing on each other, what exactly is the point of their wearing face masks while sitting quietly on the sidelines?

Since all are tested regularly for COVID-19, why not dump the mask show, run a public service announcement during games explaining why no one is masked, and then offer advice on how to properly use PPE?

Tools are useless if you don’t know how to use them properly, and the NFL had done nothing but set a bad example for how to use face coverings. Maybe we can blame former President Donald Trump for this, but weren’t there any other adults in the room to suggest to the NFL a better approach?

Is there a Mayo standard that isn’t violated in the NFL’s high-visibility display of how not to use masks? Is there any reasons to be believe masks used badly do much to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which is in places spreading like wildfire.

One in three residents of Los Angeles Country is now believed to have been infected, according to the LA Times. This despite the fact masks have been the order of the day in California since mid-June.

Since then, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, has increased from 171,000 to 3.2 million in The Golden State, according to the Worldometer tracker. 

Public health officials have warned “pandemic fatigue” has caused “an increasing attitude of apathy or resistance toward adherence to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs),”  specifically social distancing and visits to potential SARS-CoV-2 hotspots like bars and restaurants.

Is the same fatigue undermining whatever benefits masks might bring? Has the NFL’s example been adding to a very laidback approach to the use of masks that have made them more ornamentation than PPE?

The questions are hard to avoid, and now California may be dealing with a new, homegrown, more infective strain of SARS-CoV-2 as was recently discovered in the United Kingdom, according to Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Alaska has already welcomed the British variant of the virus. The California variant can be expected any time. The virus has been rapidly evolving since it first appeared in humans in late 2019. It clearly isn’t going away.

If America is going to stay masked up, it clearly wouldn’t hurt if the NFL, and other sports for that matter, provided a better example of how to do it right.

 

 

 

14 replies »

  1. To bad Medred doesn’t follow masking science like he does with humpy *science*. I mean really man, you’ll put things together like Tucker Carlson in order to get incite. For Christ’s sakes, for example, Vietnam is not a small country(97M) and they have 1,767 cases and 35 deaths. Why not examine THAT and the reasons therefore? We already know the US is full of you’s and Bryan’s and perhaps you change jar getting filled is enough for you but you do not follow your too many times stated idea of what a journalist is.

  2. I say its time for a much much stronger bill of rights. Helping to extend the understanding of the liberty our government is charged with enhancing and protecting. Alaska should lead the way . It should be a citizens rights sanctuary state . Infringement on our bill of rights should be met with sharp teeth and distinct punishment for offenders.

  3. What an amazing week to be alive in America.
    Millennial “gamers” taking on Wallstreet in “The Big Short Squeeze of 2021”
    Never before have I seen AOC & Ted Cruz agree on the same issue!!
    Leave it to the freedom of stock traders to unite a bipartisan movement in America.

    • Steve, actually ted and a couple other republicans has tried out reach a couple times. Even trump at one point. I don’t find the short squeeze important at all . A distraction to be ignored unless it causes ethics reform throughout government, its not worth anyone’s time. Keep your eye on the ball . Its only benefit is if it could somehow stop in fighting. Personally I think the gamers should bring it all down unless government reforms itself. Now theres a pipe dream. My guess is they are mostly their for their own profit. Pretending to be rebels. Time will tell . My guess is they won’t be successful and they will just prompt more government regulation and protection of banks and to big to fail bs . Reducing one more weakness in government armor. Reducing our ability to fight back . Almost like a vacine against liberty. Yah cant go half way. Yah gotta go all the way together. Or nothing at all . It just reduces chance for surprise. Yah who am i to talk . Nobody. So ignore me . Feel free to get distracted on free endorphin , mental candy high. Thinking something is happening when its just entertainment to distract the masses from important issues like government and judicial reform. Its all just trash and our heroes are exiled or in prison and we live under facade of liberty thats a growing police state. A technological prison getting stronger every day. Its time we had true ownership of the land we live on and the sky within 1,000 feet overhead. When it becomes legal to destroy surveillance drones , and enforcers of patriot type acts go to prison then weve got time to be entertained by rebel gamers.

      • DPR,
        If your long a stock or a futures contract, your theoretical bottom is zero, your ultimate max loss is known.
        if your short a stock or contract, your theoretical max loss is infinity(or margin call, which most likely has occured).So if your a hedge fund your portfolio isn’t 100% short, you have a mixture of shorts/longs.
        And if say you get $100million(s)margin call,of course you put up some of your precious 3-5% cash position, maybe beg for a line of credit(what is your collateral now).And the worse thing is to have to sell your longs.Then theres the redemptions(which means more cash, more selling longs, squaring your short trades regardless of price/loss)….
        The past 2 days markets action is interesting indeed, note also that the usual flight to quality (bonds),didn’t react like normal(as in strong price action).
        So you can see how the implications are merely bigger than David vs Goliath,apparantly the Robinhood trading platform had some sort of arrangement with at least one of hedge funds(allegedly),with regards to order flow (stock trade time and volume order books).
        I suspect hedge funds will probably be afforded some sort of “to big to fail/systemic risk”bs excuse,and the millennial traders will be shut out somehow, perhaps lack of access to certain trade data or semi timely hedge fund positioning.
        With these massive volume trades, hard not to think the attention of algorithms, and other hedge funds didn’t take advantage.Like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

        So I guess the point of all this is, if it was your $100million(s),this might make you squirm a bit, all hedge funds and even plain vanilla mutual fund managers are watching like it was prime time Tv.
        Like LTCM,but probably not near as important, this came out of left field.Hedge funds apparently weren’t “hedged”,with regards to risk control.

        David has brought down or severely wounded some Goliaths,most of the traders are probably in for the wrong reasons, and some will lose it all in these near failed zombie corps.
        Great diversion I think, and the story isn’t quite over yet I suspect.

      • Dave Mc , id have to study to be able to speak same language as you . I get your drift though. Thanks for insight. Perhaps you can start me with a beginners class. . What i do know is it doesn’t matter to a huge percentage of the population who dont have a dime for the stock markets. What does matter is their next days work , food on the table , medical and housing bills and the paycheck beyond as well as future freedom. Our politicians should be focusing on resolving vote anomalies, threats to civil liberties, transparency of government, deep government and judicial reform and not what some foolish kids are doing to gain money. Its just sickening how immature our politicians are . They are like dogs chasing squirrels and eating their own poop. Distracted at the slightest breeze . Thats best case . Worst case they are using it so we are distracted and buisness goes back to normal baby . Book deals , cheap sea side mansions, net flix deals , stock options, big guy payments, speaking fees , relatives getting paid to be on boards , oh yeah its self service time baby . Let it flow . They don’t even know what real socialism is or what a real republic is or what democracy could mean to the poor . All they know is if they can turn on Our tribalism genes no one cares about their corruption! Let them eat cake ! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!!!!!

      • DPR,if you want to understand why this potentially might be important, do the merest search of LTCM.Sorta like tip of the iceberg sorta thing.I dont think it will spiral out of control, but those in power who have been around (like say since ’98) will be looking for reasuring industry phone call answers.
        Groups of ordinary people(and probably more high tech/funded groups) have found a weakness to take advantage of.Thats the nature of markets, its war.
        Markets will do there best to preserve there interests and leverage(to the slight detriment most likely of the minions).
        What these basement traders did was really democratize trading, and that most likely won’t be allowed.Its not a matter of party, but power structure.
        If you think of it, the paper trade market (global stocks/bonds/future contracts)is the biggest marketplace in the known galaxy.
        Now,what were you saying about anything else?

    • Steve S, I love watching these Biden supporting Millennial “revolutionaries” going after Biden’s Wallstreet elite or Trump for that matter, cant have a spoiler now can we? .. Reminds me of Team Biden/Harris bailing out ANTIFA/BLM only to see them the day after the election screaming “f#@& Biden, he isnt our president”. It’s all so very dysfunctional.

      • Maybe, antifa and rebel gamers saw the democratic candidate was defrauded by Democratic party bosses aka Clinton soros and then they saw vote fraud in a national election with both parties conspiring against our nation and against transparent voting- purposefully installing a globalist , fake patriot act creator , 40 year corrupt Chinese puppet into to presidency by our corrupt fascist military police state while honest men are left to rot in maximum security prisons being called criminals for doing what’s right. Its no wonder antifa and the gamers are pissed . No one gives a darn about right and wrong or standing up for the repressed. Ya got pelosi Brennan and cabal calling 1/2 the nation terrorists and trying to expell members of congress just because their opinions are different and they arnt toadys to the political facade. All the while big tech conspires to destroy our first amendment and liberty in general. I have absolutely no sympathy for our corrupt system.

      • DPR, sing it… Communism is on the march. Compliments of a bought Congress and their Chinese masters..

  4. I have been singing there is more to the story since last March. What I found interesting during this whole China/Dem takeover is the viral genetic ethnic targeting of certain groups that is to come. Nuclear war? Nah, to passe, going hand to hand through inner cities? Nah, to messy and to much work. Grab a log for the fire and sit back and enjoy the show. After all “Orange man bad”. Haha

    “CBS News on Friday published details of an upcoming 60 Minutes segment on Chinese biotech firms reportedly attempting to harvest DNA from Americans using coronavirus tests.

    According to U.S. intelligence officials, a Chinese offer to build testing facilities in the United States in the early days of the pandemic was turned down based on their warnings about the security risks.

    The focus of the CBS story is the BGI Group (earlier known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), a Chinese biotech firm that offered to set up coronavirus testing laboratories in Washington, New York, California, and at least three other states. The company made some smaller-scale offers to assist with coronavirus testing.

    BGI produced millions of coronavirus test kits for sale around the world and was paid millions to build test labs in numerous countries, including key U.S. allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

  5. Saw a fellow the other day walking hundreds of yards from human contact dutifully wearing a face shield over a mask. Noticed he wore both a belt and suspenders.

  6. It’s easy to blame an inanimate object for our own failures, I do it every time I kick the wall or the end table. If we don’t use the tools we have correctly it’s not that the inanimate object is a failure as a tool, but that our use of it is. Players and coaches are tested daily or near daily, that is a demonstration of a tool being used correctly…their mask wearing is policy is clearly a demonstration of a tool being used incorrectly. If we had a test that the general public could take a couple of times a week and get quick results on then a lot of the spread could/would be slowed, but we don’t have that tool at our disposal right now since we don’t get paid millions and millions of dollars to run fast and jump high and catch balls or tackle other people.

    The employees of supermarkets have a higher rate of covid infection because they are at a place where more people go and are exposed more to the virus, the fact that some or most do not use the tools at their disposal in a proper manner plays a huge part in them contracting this virus.

    And it’s not just the NFL, it’s all over the TV…even the hospital/doctor shows fail horribly at it.

    • Steve o , you hit it on the head . Proper tools and proper methods. Ive seen no one wearing a mask designed to actually stop viruses. Not one . Every one uses multiple purpose poorly fitted masks that meet no reasonable definition of a seal . Until the proper tool is used you will not have success reducing viral infections to any measurable degree , period. Now methods . Yes you are right. The question is – are there any methods that could reliably and reasonably be implemented that would significantly increase mask performance? Not for normal people. I could do it . Most could not . It would take an ocd personality. Washing your mask doesn’t cut it . You would need an antivirus suit . Probably disposable. Sterilization chambers entering and leaving homes cars public places ect . Non removable gloves and masks at all times. Just to name a few . Until we recognize current masks are completely disfunctional and possibly spreading the disease do to un applicable design and unavoidable mis use then the virus will continue to spread until enough people catch it or vaccines. I like Mr Medreds honorable and objective thought increasing concept of never under estimate incompetence. Well Fauci is a fraud and we have no leadership competent enough to resolve the situation. Fake ineffective expediency to solve a real problem that only results in liberty erosion is not a solution. Only a fool or person with rose glasses trades liberty for something scientists say does not create a measurable successful result.

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