Author Topic: Masks  (Read 10450 times)

Offline Mikes@Micro

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Re: Masks
« Reply #75 on: June 16, 2020, 12:23:42 AM »
It's not fatally flawed.  The authors interpreted it one way, and you (admirably) found another way to interpret it.  You should always be reading this way, asking "what did you base your conclusions on?" and "is there another interpretation for your data?"
It's true that another problem with this study is that they don't know how people behaved -did they actually stay home when the government required it, did they wear masks, etc.
 
There was no need for the government to tell me to stay home, and no need to tell you to stay home.   But you know that fool who lives on the next block over...?  I'm glad the government told him to stay home.
Sadly many of the fools down the block did not listen and many who stayed home on their own are still not going out.
Based entirely on what I am seeing in my community, it seems people made their own decisions and stuck with them nothing to do with govt regulations.
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Offline junion

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Re: Masks
« Reply #76 on: June 16, 2020, 08:33:22 AM »
Stay-at-home occurred in NYC and rest of the country, and the flattening of the curve is seen in both (A and B in the graph avromie7 posted) but mask-wearing had only been implemented in NY, and the steep decline is shown only in NYC (A, not B).  It is difficult to disentangle how much each contributed, just from looking at these graphs.
You mean to tell me that only people in NY were wearing masks. I dont think that is true. Perhaps, the reason why it kept on going up outside of NY was because people were less cautious as it wasn't going around much there.

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Re: Masks
« Reply #77 on: June 16, 2020, 08:44:23 AM »
Sadly many of the fools down the block did not listen and many who stayed home on their own are still not going out.
Based entirely on what I am seeing in my community, it seems people made their own decisions and stuck with them nothing to do with govt regulations.
You obviously live in a community very different than mine. In my community almost no schools closed until they were forced to by the government, barely anyone wore masks in stores until they were mandated, few even heard of the concept of social distancing until it was required, etc.
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Online yuneeq

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Re: Masks
« Reply #78 on: June 17, 2020, 08:58:56 AM »
Well, Dan asked for a summary of the article that @aygart posted, but it's disappeared.  And while I wrote a summary, this (better) summary with pictures has been published, but I'll paste mine anyway. Is this too long?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2020/06/13/face-masks-may-be-the-key-determinant-of-the-covid-19-curve-study-suggests/#44ac7f116497

Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19, by Renyi Zhang and others, PNAS, published June 11, 2020

Short summary: Why did COVID-19 stop spreading so much faster in China than in Italy and the US?  And why did new cases plateau so much earlier in NYC than in the rest of the United States?  In both cases, the authors conclude that the onset of mandated face coverings made the difference, preventing tens of thousands of infections. 

Longer summary:
In China, the early response to the outbreak was SD, masks, extensive testing, and contact tracing, all put into effect simultaneously.  In China, the number of new cases increased for about 3 weeks after the lockdown, and had reached a plateau about a week after that. 

In NYC and Italy, the early response was hand washing, SD, stay-at-home, but masks were not required until a month had passed.  In these places, the number of new cases increased rapidly for about 4 weeks after the early SD requirement, and began to decrease only later, after the face covering requirement was implemented.

In the rest of the US the early response was hand washing, SD, stay-at-home and masks were not required, and the number of new cases were continuing to rise steeply (at the time they looked, May 9). 

The timing of these events suggests that mask-wearing was critical in decreasing the spread of coronavirus, quickly in China and after a delay in NYC.

A second piece of evidence they bring is from plotting the total cases in NYC, using a statistical technique called linear regression.  Their graph shows that if the original policy (SD, stay at home) had continued, the number of cases would have been much higher than it actually was.  The pivot point occurred on April 17, when masks were first required, and the caseload started to decline. 

Similarly, their comparison of new infections in NYC compared to the US as a whole (minus the NYC cases) shows that corona cases declined steeply after the April 17 mandated face covering, while new cases remained high during that time throughout the United States. 

Why would masks have such a dramatic effect?

Back in March, experts thought that the virus is communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.  These droplets are pulled down by gravity, so are usually found within 3 feet of a sick person, so we were advised to stay away from an obviously sick person and to wash our hands and keep them away from our face to avoid transferring a virus-containing droplet to our mouth, nose or eyes.  Masks were recommended only for the sick person themselves, to prevent their expelled droplets from contaminating others (WHO, April 6).

But later in April, scientists learned that there’s another way that virus can be expelled, in the form of much smaller particles, called aerosols, especially by people talking loudly or singing. 

You can visualize the difference by spraying a window cleaner and an air freshener on a mirror.  The window cleaner forms small droplets that soon start rolling down, attracted by gravity.  The air freshener forms an aerosol of tiny drops that remain where they fell on the mirror.  In fact, we spray air freshener into the air knowing that these miniscule particles – and their pleasant odor – will remain suspended in the air for quite some time.

The realization that viral particles were found in aerosols convinced the experts that the virus could be inhaled by someone who was more than 3 feet from an infected patient, or even in a room where an infected person had previously exhaled, and this led to expansion of the advice to wear masks: 

•   The knowingly infected should wear masks to avoid spreading their droplets and aerosols, which can contain virus. 
•   The unknowingly infected (that is, presymptomatic, when viral expulsion seems highest) should similarly wear masks to avoid spreading the virus. 
•   The healthy uninfected should wear masks to avoid inhaling the aerosols of the two previous groups. 

They conclude that “wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probably fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.”

My comment:
Finding that the number of cases in NYC began to decrease around the same time as mask wearing was required is not sufficient to conclude that mask wearing was responsible for the decrease.  Did people actually obey the mask-wearing regulation?  Were there other events that occurred around that time that contributed to the decline in new infections?  This paper provides evidence that mask-wearing is important, but it's weak evidence, and the argument could be strengthened by other research.

So much fake news in this “research” even if I want to agree with the premise.

Masks were never required in NYC. Aerosolized spread was known from February, not April. Couldn’t read further.

Edit- Apparently mask coverings were mandated in NY but not in all situations. My mistake.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 09:03:11 AM by yuneeq »

Offline biobook

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Re: Masks
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2020, 02:47:51 PM »
Masks were never required in NYC. 

Edit- Apparently mask coverings were mandated in NY but not in all situations. My mistake.
Yes, at least according to the article, "All New Yorkers were mandated to use face covering in public starting on April 17, when social distancing was not possible."

Aerosolized spread was known from February, not April.
Again, from the article: "Recent experimental studies have examined the stability of SARS-CoV-2, showing that the virus remains infectious in aerosols for hours (12)"  Reference (12) was published in the April 16 issue of NEJM, though online March 17.

So much fake news in this “research” even if I want to agree with the premise.
...   Couldn’t read further.
I would call it "weak evidence" (and did, in the last line). "Fake news" seems to imply deliberate misinformation, which was not my intention, and probably not the authors' either. 

Online yuneeq

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Re: Masks
« Reply #80 on: June 17, 2020, 06:41:02 PM »
Again, from the article: "Recent experimental studies have examined the stability of SARS-CoV-2, showing that the virus remains infectious in aerosols for hours (12)"  Reference (12) was published in the April 16 issue of NEJM, though online March 17.

I don't care if they didn't read about it until June, this was already known in February.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-21/how-the-novel-coronavirus-can-maybe-infect-you-quicktake
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/how-covid-19-is-spread-67143
https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180116.shtml

The arrogance of American researchers is astonishing, judging by the amount of "new discoveries" for things we already knew about for months (or years, in the case of masks). Puts into perspective how useless most of their COVID research is when they are always 2-3 months behind.

Offline biobook

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Re: Masks
« Reply #81 on: June 18, 2020, 02:29:43 AM »
I don't care if they didn't read about it until June, this was already known in February.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-21/how-the-novel-coronavirus-can-maybe-infect-you-quicktake
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/how-covid-19-is-spread-67143
https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180116.shtml

The arrogance of American researchers is astonishing, judging by the amount of "new discoveries" for things we already knew about for months (or years, in the case of masks). Puts into perspective how useless most of their COVID research is when they are always 2-3 months behind.

I gotta hand it to you, @yuneeq! How do you keep up with this?  I can barely keep track of the papers I read last week, let alone remember what happened in February.

I suspect that you and I agree that (a) masks may be helpful, (b) this paper doesn't add much, and (c) it isn't worth discussing further. 

I'll just take a moment to point out why the researchers said that aerosol transmission was shown in April, while you "knew" it in February.  It's because scientists prefer to cite a published paper, rather than the sources you listed. 

Feb 19. Global Times.
China’s health agency says that aerosol transmission occurs, based on a statement by a health official at a press conference.  No data or explanation was given, nothing in writing.

Feb 21.  The Scientist
The article says that aerosolized transmission “was discussed by a Shanghai official in early February”, so this might be referring to the above report, but then quotes an Australian virologist who says that there's no evidence that aerosols spread covid.

Feb 20. Bloomberg
This quotes a WHO report saying aerosol transmission “can be envisaged” as occurring during certain medical procedures, and should be studied further.  No data to show it occurs.

March 17. NEJM online
April 16. NEJM
This is the reference [12] cited in the article I reviewed, that showed coronavirus in aerosol, and seems to be the first published research.

after March/April Bloomberg, update to Feb 20 article
This page currently says “Researchers who aerosolized it intentionally found active virus can float in the air for as long as 3 hours.”, and links to the NEJM April article, so this sentence could not have been in the Feb 20 version.

Of course, many people had read the earlier news articles, and it was being discussed and even acted upon in February.  But scientists have long used the date of publication as "discovery" date, so attributing the discovery of aerosolized transmission to March/April seems appropriate.

Online yuneeq

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Re: Masks
« Reply #82 on: June 18, 2020, 11:28:43 AM »
I gotta hand it to you, @yuneeq! How do you keep up with this?  I can barely keep track of the papers I read last week, let alone remember what happened in February.

I suspect that you and I agree that (a) masks may be helpful, (b) this paper doesn't add much, and (c) it isn't worth discussing further. 

I'll just take a moment to point out why the researchers said that aerosol transmission was shown in April, while you "knew" it in February.  It's because scientists prefer to cite a published paper, rather than the sources you listed. 

Feb 19. Global Times.
China’s health agency says that aerosol transmission occurs, based on a statement by a health official at a press conference.  No data or explanation was given, nothing in writing.

Feb 21.  The Scientist
The article says that aerosolized transmission “was discussed by a Shanghai official in early February”, so this might be referring to the above report, but then quotes an Australian virologist who says that there's no evidence that aerosols spread covid.

Feb 20. Bloomberg
This quotes a WHO report saying aerosol transmission “can be envisaged” as occurring during certain medical procedures, and should be studied further.  No data to show it occurs.

March 17. NEJM online
April 16. NEJM
This is the reference [12] cited in the article I reviewed, that showed coronavirus in aerosol, and seems to be the first published research.

after March/April Bloomberg, update to Feb 20 article
This page currently says “Researchers who aerosolized it intentionally found active virus can float in the air for as long as 3 hours.”, and links to the NEJM April article, so this sentence could not have been in the Feb 20 version.

Of course, many people had read the earlier news articles, and it was being discussed and even acted upon in February.  But scientists have long used the date of publication as "discovery" date, so attributing the discovery of aerosolized transmission to March/April seems appropriate.

I don’t know if I can I find an actual study before that March study, but you’re missing the point.

“Back in March, experts thought that the virus is communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.”

If they were confident that COVID only spread via droplets until then, then they are literally complete idiots. The info coming from China and elsewhere strongly suggested that aerosolized transmission was probable if not factual. Remember this info was coming from China, which famously denied that COVID spreads human to human a month earlier. There’s reason to believe anything negative about COVID that is coming from the Chinese, at the very least to entertain the option. Not to even entertain the option until you have a peer reviewed study published is either complete arrogance or lack of intelligence.

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Re: Masks
« Reply #83 on: June 18, 2020, 12:22:19 PM »
I don’t know if I can I find an actual study before that March study, but you’re missing the point.

“Back in March, experts thought that the virus is communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.”

If they were confident that COVID only spread via droplets until then, then they are literally complete idiots. The info coming from China and elsewhere strongly suggested that aerosolized transmission was probable if not factual. Remember this info was coming from China, which famously denied that COVID spreads human to human a month earlier. There’s reason to believe anything negative about COVID that is coming from the Chinese, at the very least to entertain the option. Not to even entertain the option until you have a peer reviewed study published is either complete arrogance or lack of intelligence.
I don't think that's factually correct. They said it's not proven one way or the other.
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Offline biobook

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Re: Masks
« Reply #84 on: June 18, 2020, 02:57:01 PM »
I don’t know if I can I find an actual study before that March study, but you’re missing the point.

“Back in March, experts thought that the virus is communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.”

If they were confident that COVID only spread via droplets until then, then they are literally complete idiots. The info coming from China and elsewhere strongly suggested that aerosolized transmission was probable if not factual. Remember this info was coming from China, which famously denied that COVID spreads human to human a month earlier. There’s reason to believe anything negative about COVID that is coming from the Chinese, at the very least to entertain the option. Not to even entertain the option until you have a peer reviewed study published is either complete arrogance or lack of intelligence.
Multiple things going on here - What actually happened, What the authors said happened, What I wrote about it... and here I'll take credit for the idiocy, because I see that my amateur writing was misleading. 

I think I get your point now. Is this better?
    Initially, experts thought that the virus would be like measles, communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.  But mid-February, info from China suggested that aerosolized transmission could also occur.  Shocked and horrified, scientists raced to investigate this, and soon confirmed that active virus could be found in aerosols, both in artificial aerosols created in the lab, and in air samples from hospital rooms where covid patients had stayed.  This eventually led to a greater emphasis on the importance of mask-wearing. (For details of their study, see their NEJM article, publication date April, though published online on March 17, and certainly discussed among health professionals even earlier.)

Online yuneeq

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Re: Masks
« Reply #85 on: June 18, 2020, 10:53:15 PM »
Multiple things going on here - What actually happened, What the authors said happened, What I wrote about it... and here I'll take credit for the idiocy, because I see that my amateur writing was misleading. 

I think I get your point now. Is this better?
    Initially, experts thought that the virus would be like measles, communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.  But mid-February, info from China suggested that aerosolized transmission could also occur.  Shocked and horrified, scientists raced to investigate this, and soon confirmed that active virus could be found in aerosols, both in artificial aerosols created in the lab, and in air samples from hospital rooms where covid patients had stayed.  This eventually led to a greater emphasis on the importance of mask-wearing. (For details of their study, see their NEJM article, publication date April, though published online on March 17, and certainly discussed among health professionals even earlier.)

Not looking to argue, but regarding one point of yours - measles is actually airborne. Re: COVID - I originally understood that it is aerosolized but not necessarily airborne, but now I'm seeing some research that equates aerosolized spread with airborne spread. I understood the difference that an aerosol is a small droplet that can linger around for a few seconds, light enough to float with an air draft and spread to another side of the room. And airborne would be a microscopic droplet that can basically last for a couple hours in mid air.

If you're bored, read this article and come out more confused than when you started: https://first10em.com/aerosols-droplets-and-airborne-spread/

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Re: Masks
« Reply #87 on: June 22, 2020, 12:54:06 PM »
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-ooze/202006/why-face-masks-give-us-the-creeps
A good reason to be using a face shield instead. Facial expressions, lip reading, and beards are all non issues.

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Re: Masks
« Reply #88 on: June 22, 2020, 01:17:34 PM »
A good reason to be using a face shield instead. Facial expressions, lip reading, and beards are all non issues.

I've said that from the outset.
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
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Offline Euclid

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Re: Masks
« Reply #89 on: June 22, 2020, 01:18:57 PM »
I've said that from the outset.
Do you think they'd be more accepted in places where people are being heckled for wearing them?