Sunday, March 1, 2020

Cognitive Dissonance

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Now, either the masks don't help and there's no point in anyone wearing them or they do help and the surgeon general wants to keep available stocks for health care workers. It cannot be both. But if this is the response from the surgeon general, you can stick a fork in it.

From December when the Chinese government responded to first cases with a coverup, every response has been too late. The U.S. map just showing reported cases is telling and the incubation period is 2 to 3 weeks. This is going to run it's course now.


Aaron C. de Bruyn said...

The level one masks don't stop it. Level two masks probably don't stop it (but I'm not sure). Regardless, it's illegal thanks to government to perform certain healthcare work without a level one or two mask.

I have clients in the healthcare field that are already discussing how they're going to have to shut down if they can't get level one or level two masks. It has nothing to do with catching the virus or not, it has to do with regulations.

GuardDuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GuardDuck said...

Besides the above, even if the masks don't protect from coronavirus they do protect health care workers from other diseases. Which don't cease appearing just because of coronavirus us around.

ZBM-2 said...

The main point of masks is to protect others from your germs, not you from other's germs. At least with the masks that are generally around.
That's why the surgeons wear them when they're messing around in your innards - it's not to protect the surgeon, it's to protect YOU.

looper said...

If the Government tells you, you don't need a mask...You need a mask

Aesop said...

When one oversimplifies, it can become an unintentional lie of omission.

An N95 mask is worthless if you haven't been fit-tested to assure it works for you. (And for 25-33% of people right off the bat, it doesn't). For probably 90% of everyone ever, that's shocking news they never knew.

An N95 (or anything else) won't work if you have facial hair that blocks a tight seal.
It requires a bit more than just slapping one on to use it properly.
That knowledge applies to 0% of the general public. If you did time with Uncle Sam, you had it beaten into you vividly during a visit probably annually - to the tear gas chamber with your M17 or M40
series protective mask. Last I looked, prior service applies to something like 3% of the general population. Be generous, and double that info for those who deal with PPE every day at work.
So 90-95% of people have no effing clue about any of this.

That's why it's beyond asinine for Joe Average to get a pallet-load of the things, when he doesn't know Jack or Squat about what's what or why or how or anything else.

You might as well buy him a slide rule, FFS.

I have to get fit-tested every year. When people pilfered the hospital's entire supply of N95 masks last month (yes, really), everyone in the hospital had to get fit-tested again with the new brand. Anyone who was a fail with either brand had to have alternative PPE available to substitute. And we all undergo about three hour's refresher training annually in all the PPE we use, up to and including fully-encapsulated hazmat gear.

So, how much of that have you done? (For most any value of "you", not the bloghost).
Probably zero seconds, ever, other than buying the box.

And you (times 330M of you) buying up metric buttloads of masks that you don't know how to wear properly, and which may be utterly worthless because of zero training in proper wear, whiskerpuss, or poor fit, and made extra-scarce by China seizing the 3M plant that makes the go-to model in China, and declaring all N95s made there a "strategic national resource" unavailable for exportation until further notice, means there are that many less available for purchase by every hospital in the U.S., for use by the people that need them, and know WTF they're doing.

Aesop said...


Now, knowing the rest of the story, go back and read the SG's comments in context.

Because I saw his media appearances, and that's how it was presented by the better media outlets. If you're looking for Twatter to fully inform you, you're short-changing your brain. (Whether anyone on Twatter has one in the first place is an open question. Little worthwhile is conveyed in 280 characters. Great for punchlines for those with tiny minds, but for conveying news you can use, not so much.)

Let's try to tell the tale better than FakeNews, shall we?
Otherwise you're just CNN-lite.

And surgical masks do, indeed, protect other people from your germs. That's why they're cleverly called "surgical masks", and why we slap them on everybody coughing and sneezing in the ER, and why they're worthless as PPE, except to everyone else, to mitigate your slobber and sneeze particles flying everywhere.

N95s and better, by total contrast and design, are specifically to protect the wearer from other people's funk. TB, measles, Ebola, and Kung Flu, for specific examples.

And at least one commenter already posting here didn't know that fundamental difference in PPE, because it's outside their knowledge base.


The surgeon general was spot-on, and his comments and those here illustrate the problem perfectly.

This is the same reason buying any medical gear, or really just about anything, without knowing WTF you're doing with it, isn't helping anyone, least of all yourselves.
If you're going to buy gear, you have to learn how to use it properly.

Gear alone is just stuff.
Gear + training = prepared.
gear + training + experience = gold-star prepared.
Let's deal with this the right way.

Richard said...

The map is interesting in that it shows the dysfunction of EU immigration policy. Note the tiny little dots in the East where they more or less don't follow the policy. If the map extended far enough to show Russia it would be more dramatic. Last I knew they had two cases (both Chinese people). They closed the border very early.