Tell Me Honestly, Why Are Masks On Planes So Controversial?

There are reports across social media of flights where the majority of passengers aren’t wearing masks, even though masks are ostensibly required by nearly all U.S. airlines. It isn’t just people forgetting, or not bothering, there are many people voicing strong objection online to be required to don a mask. And I’d like to better understand the reasons why.

The evidence for masks is increasingly strong. With little testing and only modest distancing masks may be the biggest reason Japan has kept the virus under control (though, speculatively, it’s also possible more people there are naturally immune).

British researchers recently found that everyone wearing 50% effective masks is enough to slow the spread of the virus (homemade masks are probably more than 50% effective). A German study found masks reduce the growth rate of infections by 40%.

  • And use of quality masks by half the population does the same thing. Wearing masks also encourages social distancing based on a study out of Italy – seeing the masks reminds us to stay away.

    I get that the messaging from the government has been a failure here, that the U.S. started out recommending against masks. This was a failure on the science, a noble lie that bought the government time to secure masks for itself and health care workers before the public went out and bought their own.

    Airlines won’t enforce their mask rules because otherwise there’d be conflict in the skies. People can just claim they have a medical condition (even an emotional one) and they’re not required to wear masks anyway. And by the way neither the FAA nor TSA have the legal authority to mandate mask wearing.

    On Friday American Airlines reminded people across their social media accounts about the mask requirement. Promoting that other passengers will be wearing masks makes many consumers more comfortable traveling, they feel safer so they’re more willing to purchase tickets.

    However the mask requirement also brings out heated passions on the opposite side. Now, some people are criticizing American for (1) marketing in their pictures like they’re blocking middle seats, when they aren’t blocking all middle seats, and (2) for failing to enforce the mask rule.

    But there are plenty of people who won’t wear masks on board, and who take to the comments to criticize mask-wearing.

    I genuinely don’t understand this and I haven’t seen anyone in the comments that’s opposed to masks articulate exactly why.

    I actually like this last comment from Todd Stamm who says he’ll vote with his wallet and fly Allegiant, though the route networks between Allegiant and American are hardly comparable. But even he doesn’t explain why.

    I’ve seen some notional references to freedom, but:

    • The inflight mask policy is an airline one, and not a government requirement. Why would you have freedom to violate the rules laid out by a private business, wouldn’t they have the right to impose conditions on providing their service [within certain bounds, such as non-discrimination rules]?

    • Even WHO which suggested they hadn’t seen asymptomatic spread of the virus (and which didn’t release their data but suggested they were relying on a small number of contract tracing instances) had to clarify that they only meant they weren’t finding people who never showed symptoms as the source of spread — they weren’t disputing pre-symptomatic spread meaning people spreading the virus in the days prior to showing symptoms, when they wouldn’t know they were sick.

    • Masks contribute both towards reduction in spreading the virus by the wearer, and also afford some level of protection for the wearer. What freedom is there to infect others with a virus (and there’s a chance any of us are pre-symptomatic)? And why not take some measure of protection?

    I understand forgetting masks at home, though this is pretty top of mind at this point – but airlines are giving away masks and now the federal government is distributing 100 million of them to travelers too.

    You’re going to take the mask off to eat and drink, but why not put it back on when you aren’t doing those things? What’s the actual reason, and why is that reason more compelling than potentially reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

    I genuinely want to know, and appreciate comments, especially from those who are opposed to mask wearing on planes.

  • About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    Comments

    1. I will wear a mask, both because I believe science and out of respect for others even if the science is wrong. But I personally know people that PROUDLY won’t. One is someone who rants on social media every day about “freedom” and “sheeple” who are following everything that the government tells them to do. She actively goes into businesses that require masks while not wearing one to make her point. Another is a longtime friend who, by any objective measure, is a very smart guy. He went to top undergrad and graduate programs, has had an impressive career, and is currently fairly senior at a West Coast tech company well-known for only hiring the best and brightest. Talking to him recently, he told me: “This coronavirus is totally fake. Not a single person has died.” If I didn’t know him, I would think he was crazy, dumb, or both.

    2. Everyone should wear a mask to end this pandemic. People who think they can do whatever they want (here making up lies that wearing a mask is against their constitutions rights) should not be allowed on a plane endangering others.
      Wearing a mask is curtesy to your fellow passengers.

    3. Long before COVID I read that wearing a surgical mask on long flights is helpful for reducing jet lag because it retains moisture in your lungs, despite the extremely dry air on the plane.

      Even putting aside the obvious benefit of blocking or deflecting virus particles, retaining moisture in your lungs is helpful protection from viruses.

    4. As someone young and healthy, the risk to me is negligible. The death rate initially given at 3.4% has now been revised to 0.26%, almost exclusively limited to 80 year olds who are already dying of something else! Here in NYC our lives have been upended for 3+ months now with very little tangible benefit and enormous inconvenience.

      Wearing a mask certainly has merits but I often do not bother for the same reason I do not wear a helmet to cross the street — the significant discomfort outweighs the small benefit.

      And I do not see myself as “endangering others” — the frail 80 year olds can stay home, zero risk!

    5. People who are opposed to masks seem to be generally arguing that wearing one indicates fear of the virus; and if you are someone who plans to take some risk by traveling, or flying, wearing a mask is somehow a symbol of showing a lack of risk tolerance – or, in other words, fear.

      Trump is one example of that. I, on the other hand, intend to take some risks as the days move on, but will continue to wear a mask because there is much evidence that it will mitigate some of that risk, to me and others.

      Ultimately, there are many people for whom it is a political choice. But for many others, it’s a marker of cowardice. Which makes not wearing one, in my view, even less acceptable.

    6. Personally I wont wear a mask. Having worked in the medical devices industry for many years I am used to wearing protective equipment correctly, however watching people touch them, take them on and off, put them in their pocket and then back on again makes me cringe. Every time they touch them (just watch somebody wearing one to see how often they do) they are spreading any potential virus on everything they touch, no hand washing after handling or adjusting and no sealed bags to store them – they also have a false sense of security that the mask makes them safe. I would much rather see people use good hygiene rather than wear masks. So I will use other methods rather than walk around with a petri dish on my face.

    7. I believe a lot of the resistance is due to the unfortunate co-mingling of our information overload society and the nature of any emerging threat. We learn new things about this virus quite often and in an effort to get the most clicks, the newest, most sensational “news” is given 90% of the airtime and the slower, more complete story is relegated to page three.

      People are receiving conflicting stories and each one is ultra-important and policies appear based on what’s trending on twitter instead of well-sorted science. Case in point:

      1) “Masks keep you from spreading the virus, not from contracting it”
      2) Statistic: Infection rate is ~3%
      3) Policy: everybody wear a mask

      Basically: everyone is an irresponsible criminal

      So the policy doesn’t line up with it’s stated purpose doesn’t line up with the science. It does, however, line up with the “I’m from the gov’t/big business/Office of the Benevolent Overlord…and I’m here to help” or “don’t look behind the curtain”.

      When you present “just do what I tell you to and stop asking questions” to a society (speaking of the US) that literally has baked into our DNA a distrust of totalitarian government, this is what you’re going to get.

      People resist because they don’t trust the information or the vehicle providing it.

      I’ve been to DFW, SEA and HNL since these “unprecedented times” began and we started living in the “new normal” (someone, somewhere, just had to take two drinks). I wore a mask on the plane. I didn’t like it and yet I did it because that’s the bargain. I reserve the right to revolt at an undetermined point in the future.

    8. Thanks so much for writing this! It always amazes me how the anti-mask folks claim that the press, or government, or whoever is promoting mask use is either scientifically incorrect or deliberately oppressive… yet they will believe anything on the internet even when the source is dubious or unknown. It also amazes me how they equate patriotism with “MY rights” rather than with the sacrifices we make for others.

    9. We all know the reason. It’s political (“freedom”) and one of leadership (the president made it a cultural issue).

      And Gary don’t forget the Czech example. They required masks and the virus didn’t have anywhere to go. We love our freedom so much we’d rather suffer with the Coronavirus indefinitely rather than wear a mask for three or four weeks. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/04/04/czech-government-implemented-face-mask-requirement-help-combat-coronavirus-column/2940393001/

      It’s the typical American response to health: I’ll wait for the pill to fix it.

    10. Gary, thanks for raising the question. I too would like to know.
      The inability to social distance on an airplane combined with hours on a flight are a recipe for contagion. Carriers tout an aircraft’s ability to constantly refresh cabin air while in flight but we’ve all experienced instances in which stale air was hotter than hell on jet bridges and on board at the gate when supplemental ground systems failed.
      I’ll take to the skies again after a vaccine becomes available.

    11. “This here’s AMURICA, goddammit! And no guvrrmit bureaucratic cans-ass is gonna tell me what to do! ‘Sides, our prezzi-dent Ain’t wearin’ one, and it’s all fake news anyway!”

      Other than that logic, Chris who posted above is exactly right!

      Lest you think my first paragraph is BS, I’ve seen people interviewed on cable, national and local news saying things like “Jesus is stronger than Covid, and he’ll protect me” (CNN); “I’m not afraid of Covid — if I get it, I get it, but right now I just wanna get drunk before they close the beaches” (NPR); and “It’s going away and doesn’t affect young people like me“ (local ch. 2).

    12. Well, I wear a mask when I fly because it is requested of me.

      Perhaps it makes my fellow passengers to feel more comfortable in their choice to fly, though I question its usefulness and effectiveness from a medical standpoint. I also comply with TSA procedures and regulations in spite of my cynicism about how much, if any, real security they provide.

      I find that wearing a mask for a 2-3 hour flight is uncomfortable, but I wear it. Perhaps some who choose not to wear a mask do so because they find it to be uncomfortable or somewhat claustrophobic and, therefore, bothersome.

      Frankly, I question our whole approach to dealing with this virus. I think there has been a gross overreaction. The elderly and those with underlying serious health problems should and should have taken protective measures. The risk to everyone else is so low, even if they were to become infected, that I question the need to shut down economies, etc.

      Living life entails all sorts of risks. No one is guaranteed immortality. Frankly, I’m more concerned about driving on the freeways in rush hour to get to the airport than I am about contracting the COVID-19 virus.

    13. All the airlines need to put out the line, “No mask, no fly”. I am tired of these freedom freaks who feel that it is their right to expose others to their possibly diseased exhalations.

      Because of this, people are avoiding flying due to the risk. It may not be apparent in the increasing numbers of passengers taking flights, right now. But, eventually things will hit a wall. And, if there is a surge of infections, all things are off the table.

    14. Airlines need to do more to crack down, and I think a couple diversions where a passenger gets kicked off for repeatedly refusing to follow a crewmember’s instruction to wear a mask with the airline suing to recoup those costs will do wonders to get people to wear them on the plane.

    15. Of course, no internet comment thread can be complete without Trump bashing or some alledgedly tolerate individual trashing those who may disagree with their point of view or religious conviction, or lack thereof.

      I guess that consitutes a belief in “science”.

      Gary, I am curious, though: Have there been any published reputable retrospective research papers that show the relative risk, if any, associated with commercial aviation for passengers flying, with or without masks, in the last few months?

    16. Gary, the WHO has lost all credibility regarding the pandemic, so I wouldn’t cite them any more. Also, this is a novel virus so you won’t have natural immunity. That said, we can’t easily explain why we have so many asymptomatic cases in which viral loads are just as high as symptomatic cases.

    17. I will wear the mask when I absolutely have to … but it’s quite horrible. No one can hear you. I have to practically scream and / or repeat myself for everything. Already it’s difficult to hear people on a plane. If I have my glasses on, they always fog up. So now not only can I not be hard, I can’t see, either. Oh, and let’s not forget, It’s almost impossible to breathe even in the so-called ‘breathable’ ones.
      For those of us prone to anxiety and/or panic attacks, this is a major problem.
      All of that aside, I’m not convinced that the mask will help me if I’m on board a plane (or anywhere, for that matter) with reasonable social distancing and asymptomatic people.

      People who are highly at risk to a, catch the virus due to not strong immune system or not being very healthy in general (I know I’ll get a lot of hate for this comment, but hey, it’s true); and b, have history of / currently have cancer or preexisting conditions, really shouldn’t be flying in my opinion.

      And how much sense does it really make, if I’m allowed to take off the mask for eating or drinking? If I do it then, I’ve basically broken the seal, as it were. So what’s the point? On a 5-hour flight, if I have the mask on for that last hour or two, is it really going to make a difference? Give me a break. I’m far more likely to catch the virus at Walmart than I am on a plane.

    18. Gary
      I think you “know” me well enough to realize that my objection is not because of my constitutional rights, freedom, etc etc, and I am also not a trump supporter or a conservative
      the problem with masks is that every respected organization and every NOT RESPECTED organization (like the WHO) have flipped flopped several times on the masks issue, and so the decision about masks, like many decisions on this crisis, have been POLITICAL and not medical
      Many things were and still are being done, just to show that SOMETHING is done, even if that something destroys the livelihood of many (including myself) and is done for theatre
      I refuse to be part of an experiment or a player in that theatre
      There are many in the medical community who still say masks are not effective, and many that say they are, so until they agree, I will do what is best for me
      I know many will call me selfish, idiot, etc etc, and that is fine with me

    19. No real personal contribution to this prompt other than it seems like a fairly low cost means to reduce (perhaps marginally, with some uncertainty) risk to self and others. But it’s also an interesting test case of how difficult it is to establish new social norms in a short amount of time, but maybe most people’s natural inclination to engage in reciprocal social accommodation will prevail.

      Mostly passing along this maybe surprising take from Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
      https://medium.com/incerto/the-masks-masquerade-7de897b517b7

    20. This issue has become political. The people I know who are adamant about these sorts of things are standing on principal that “it’s one more step towards the Government overstepping their authority and impeding on personal freedom”.

      Many would argue against the above and I get it – but that’s the position I hear from many.

    21. My father is 82, obese, high blood pressure, sleep apnea–prime target for Covid fatality. He refuses to wear a mask when he is out and about. He WILL wash and use hand sanitizer, but that’s it.

      He is not a MAGA Trump supporter. He’s a liberal, a Democrat. So it’s not a political thing.

      His rationale? “Nobody is going to tell ME what to do.” By wearing the mask other people can see he is not the Boss, that he is following the rules of someone higher up than he. But nobody can tell if he has cleaned his hands or not.

      To him, that mask is a symbol of subservience, a threat to his ego.

    22. Ron – you don’t need a study about masks on planes. There’s plenty of evidence that masks dramatically reduce person-to-person transmission. Now put a bunch of people in an aluminum can together and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that masks on a plane are a good idea. Except maybe Trump. And you.

    23. Wearing a mask is NOT about you but about protecting others first.
      Look at Japan they made errors and the reason they have low numbers is that everyone used (and uses masks).

    24. doug – the WHO has always been a respected organization. You’ve fallen for Trump’s carnival barking.
      There’s no back-and-forth on the masks issue. It was a one-time switch. And the reason was simple. We know more about how the virus acts now than we did before. The Mayo Clinic offers an explanation….
      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449
      Maybe you find the Mayo Clinic respectable? At least until Trump goes after them too.

    25. I read an article a while back that suggested that people refusing to wear masks is a coping mechanism. The people who act this way are afraid but don’t want to admit it, so the easiest thing to do (psychologically) is to try to push aside their fear and pretend that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Mocking other people is just a way to try to reinforce that mentality to themselves.
      While I’m not completely certain that I agree, the premise does seem to be sound.

    26. It’s funny you don’t cite the recent South Korean study on the ineffective result of using standard surgical masks, as well as the total inability of “home-made” masks to stop the Covid 19 virus. The problem appears to be the virus is too small to be stopped by the masks. Even N95 masks, if used improperly can lead to spreading the virus. One thing that should have been learned from the Ebola situation a few years ago improper use of PPE,(personal protective equipment), can lead to self-infection. The fight against this virus has been botched from the beginning. The elderly should have been locked down, and a stern warning should have been given to everyone that people with underlining conditions were in danger,too. Herd Immunity has been delayed, and the economy will take YEARS to recover from this Lockdown.

    27. @John This is from a primary source article on the South Korea study you cited:
      “The researchers acknowledged that the study didn’t examine actual transmission of COVID-19 illness nor whether the masks “shorten the travel distance of droplets during coughing.””

      No one is saying masked are harmful. Masks may be helpful. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    28. I do not like wearing a mask (as I will explain). I am not opposed to airlines forcing people to wear masks. As you correctly state, the airlines are private companies so they can require masks and it is not a “freedom” issue. For decades, I have always tried to refrain from touching my face and I frequently wash my hands. Not as much washing as Howard Hughes, but for years I am have a very good habit. When I travel I am constantly using Purell. I have been doing this for years and has nothing to do with COVID. The reason I don’t like wearing a masks is because on the occasion that I have worn a mask, I will touch my face constantly (rearrange the mask, scratch an itch, etc). I think this negates any benefit of wearing the mask. Add to this the inconsistent and contradictory statements about masks and this does not give me the confidence I need to know that a mask is better than no mask. So for me, it me 100% due to the fact that I don’t want to constantly touch my face and a mask makes me touch my face numerous times per minute. I have not had a need to fly during covid, but I am planning a trip soon. At such time, I will have masks with me and will attempt to wear a mask, but in all likelihood, I will refrain from wearing a mask when in my seat.

    29. @Ron —

      No Trump bashing on MY part. I have heard more than one individual say, on camera, that “if the President doesn’t wear a mask, why should I?” That is FACT.

      Now, IMHO — which is different than fact, as I wrote above — the President *should* set an example for the country. He’s choosing not to, and I personally think that’s costing lives.

    30. @Gary —>. You wrote to Kimmie above, “[S]ince in most places there’s no penalty for failing to wear a mask, isn’t choosing to wear one an exercise of freedom?”

      No. I would argue that it’s an infringement on *my* freedom not to get sick, which I believe takes precedent over your right to make people sick. Masks *primarily* prevent you from spreading the disease to others, especially if you are asymptomatic. As has been pointed out by many others, on both sides of the political spectrum — and PLEASE let’s leave politics out of this — it’s a matter of common sense, respect for others, and a reasonable precaution in a global pandemic.

    31. JohnB-the same argument can be made in reverse that people are avoiding flying BECAUSE of the mask requirement.

      I think Ron is correct-those w/underlying health conditions and the elderly should take precautions. Expand that to anyone with elderly or someone w/an underlying health condition w/in their household, if so desired.

      Otherwise, I firmly believe the decision to wear, or not wear, should be a personal choice & the reasons for doing so, or not doing so, are no one’s business. If one is bothered by someone not wearing a mask, then one should simply walk away & not engage.

      The reality is that this virus is from the same virus family that causes the common cold, for which there is no cure & no vaccine. The likelyhood is that this virus, like the rest of that virus family, will become endemic in the world (if not already), meaning it will always be there, despite claims to the contrary by various leaders & collective wishful thinking. It will be up to each person to decide how to live his/her life in spite of CV-19, which includes wearing a mask, eating in a restaurant, staying in a hotel, & flying on a plane.

    32. First off, this is probably one of the most civil and interesting comment sections in a WHILE.
      I think it’s cool that people are mostly calm, not screaming at each other, and being not crazy alarmists. (of course there are those that scream about Trump, but, he’s a polarizing guy, I don’t judge people who fall for the media bait there)


      I don’t wear a mask for myriad reasons:

      (college educated, coast elite here, world traveler, business owner, didn’t vote for trump, very middle of the road politically)

      1) It’s disgusting. Mine sits in the bottom of my backpack or my pockets. I manhandle it every time I have to put it on on a plane / lyft. I put it in my mouth, or have my dirty hands all over it each tie. It’s doing NOTHING. I don’t care, since they are my germs.

      But it’s definitely dirtier than anything I wear. But, society has said ‘wear it, it helps’ Lol, ok, if you say so…

      2) Breathing your own air is awful. Did it in Taiwan on factory visit in February, I get lightheaded and… also gross.

      3) Extreme distrust of media and government
      It’s not *just* a distrust of government, or the media (both of which I believe 00.00%)

      I knew this was an over-reaction in January. That was obvious to *anyone* with an objective brain and no agenda to push. There was no way this stain of virus could ever be this deadly. And it wasn’t.
      “Millions in the US will die?!!”

      You can’t say that, with a straight face, and expect anyone with an ounce of logic to trust you.

      So, as the story unfolded, and the media kept selling this as the end of humanity… people like me tuned it out. We just stopped listening.
      And look, now the data is here, and surprise surprise, it’s not deadly to normal people.

      4) There is a difference between being ‘required’ to do something, and being asked nicely.

      People who are allergic to peanuts shouldn’t eat them.
      But that doesn’t mean we ban peanuts.
      Those people just don’t need to eat them

      Ask me to wear a mask around you, and I will.
      I will be polite and respectful of your wish, and that’s that.

      Tell me to wear one?
      Yeah, I’ll talk to someone else.
      I don’t shop at stores that require them, I go out of my way to spend money elsewhere.

      What happened to asking people to do things?
      When did we just start having *orders* to do stuff?

      Everyone says ‘it’s just a mask’ – not realizing we take off our shoes at airports
      Get x-rayed through security, we have locked cockpit doors. From 20 years ago.

      Why? We made a rule, instead of said ‘hey everyone, if there is a hijacking, every passenger needs to subdue that person, thanks’

      Now we accept the TSA, or Patriot Act, we don’t talk about it. It’s fine….
      Wear a mask? ok, it’s small.

      Next year, maybe we all need a tag that says our preferred pronouns?
      That’s easy, that doesn’t bother anyone.

      No thanks

      5) This one is my favorite:

      The people on the ‘wear a mask side’ at least online, are just insufferable twerps.

      I don’t wear a mask in public now, to happily openly defy their creepy statist view that everyone needs to be alike. I take pride in being independent, and helping people I care about, being honest, being a good citizen.
      But, I also love trolling those 18 year old people who wait in line thinking they are so self-righteous with their masks and disposable gloves – while I breathe fresh air because I have a brain.

      Side note: There was a college age girl in ATL going to PDX (shocker…) a few weeks ago:

      She was having a meltdown to her mom at the gate: ‘omg, these people, don’t they know there is a pandemic. Mom, they are literally killing me… when we get home, we will turn the Hepa filters on full blast’

      That is full on basket case stuff. But she was serious.
      So, I’m not interesting in doing what she wants done. That said can grow up and realize we live in a free society.

      Don’t like America? Move to Europe!
      Don’t like Freedom? Leave. Go to Canada.

      You don’t like it here, no one forces you to stay.
      Everyone online says ‘American’s are selfish’ — that’s more stuff to ignore. Who cares.
      There are lines of people who want to come here.

      If all the whiners would just leave and go to Europe, America would be a lot more civil place.
      Just leave already, let us selfish people be independent, take care of ourselves, and live like adults – not like children.

      That’s why I don’t wear a mask 🙂

      @James – nailed it.

    33. Of course we wear a mask. It is not for us. I keeps us from infecting our neighbors. The science shows it doesn’t protect us — unless medical grade. Protect your neighbor, of course. Don’t: poop in the lake, spit on their dinner, drain the rain from your yard to their rec room, or block their driveway. Me, I don’t want to wear a mask. I don’t really need to: I get paid to work at home. I stay away from folks. Wash my hands. I can run and bike through the park. Happy as a clam. And I will fly AA to my relatives IF the folks in the cabin help protect me by wearing their masks. I will wear my cloth one with the hot pepper design. But, apparently this social contract thing just doesn’t register with those who can afford a ticket. Guess I will have to stay home until there’s a vaccine.

    34. @George “Don’t like Freedom? Leave. Go to Canada.”

      This is why you’re unhinged and lack credibility. Really?! As if Canadians “don’t like freedom.” You have NO clue what freedom is. Full stop. NO CLUE.

    35. @George (and others who don’t believe in COVID killing people):

      “I knew this was an over-reaction in January. That was obvious to *anyone* with an objective brain and no agenda to push. There was no way this stain of virus could ever be this deadly. And it wasn’t.
      “Millions in the US will die?!!” ”

      So if you don’t believe in the government or the media, do you believe in scientists?

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.02.20051532v3

      “Over 75% of COVID-19 deaths in April 2020 were excess deaths meaning they would not have occurred in April without SARS-CoV-2 but would have been spread out over the ensuing 18 to 29 months. Confirmed cases in the US under-report the actual number of infections by at least an order of magnitude. Excess death numbers calculated using the attributable fraction in the exposed are similar to those obtained from weekly mortality reports.”

    36. @George Actually many airlines have stopped serving peanuts. And many stores have had `no shirt, no shoes, no service’ signs for years, this is one more thing. Glad I won’t see you at the supermarket.

    37. I’ve had 6 friends around the world catch COVID-19 (one in Sweden, one in NY, the rest in AZ). One died, one was sick for two weeks straight and then had recurring symptoms for 6 more weeks, one was sick for 2 months straight (never bad enough to go to the hospital, but worse than any flu), and 3 who had mild symptoms and were otherwise fine. None were elderly or had known pre-existing medical conditions. It’s not just about whether you will die or not, but for some percentage it’s a rather nasty illness and I would personally prefer to never have it.

      Masks are imperfect, they’re especially uncomfortable in hot and humid environments, and they get dirty easily.

      I wear them indoors. I don’t wear them outdoors (I maintain social distancing whenever possible). I try to avoid places or scenarios where it would be uncomfortable to wear one.

    38. @Jason Brandt Lewis “This here’s AMURICA, goddammit! And no guvrrmit bureaucratic cans-ass is gonna tell me what to do! ‘Sides, our prezzi-dent Ain’t wearin’ one, and it’s all fake news anyway!”

      No need for your bigotry here. If someone used overdone ghetto talk to mock others, I’m guessing you would be seething with outrage.

    39. Jason Brandt Lewis-there is a world of difference between ‘same virus‘ and ‘same virus FAMILY’, as is actually mentioned in one of the links you referenced….

    40. @ Jay
      Have a Canadian business, I know about Canada 🙂

      Your language is controlled, gun rights are controlled. It’s quasi soclialist.
      No thanks, that’s not free

      @Bobo
      You know, this is a fair point. The data would be interesting after 2 years to see if there were ‘excess deaths’ But, I think the data shows the exact opposite of what you claim:

      About 60Million people a year die naturally.

      Call Covid 1M deaths in a year (I think we’re at 450,000 after 7 months, but let’s double it to 1M to be conservative).

      1M out of 60M is 1.6%
      So, if Covid killed 1M people (it didn’t), that is 1.6% of deaths in 2020.
      If 75% of those were ‘new/excess’ as you say, that’s 750,000
      that’s 1.25% of above the ‘normal’ annual death rate – only due to Covid….

      If you think 1.25% variance in the annual number of people who die – is statistically significant, it just shows you’re very bad at math.

      Even if 100% of Covid deaths were ‘excess’ – and those people would have ONLY died from Covid-19 (and otherwise lived for years and years and years). Ok, that’s interesting data.

      It’s still a *tiny* percentage, but it’s interesting.
      But, even if 100% of Covid deaths were excess – it’s not even a statistical blip in the annual death rate.

      You’ve had to get to 3Million Covid deaths (5% of annual death rate) to probably call it signifiant.
      We’re no where close to that, obviously

    41. Masks don’t work but they do act as a pacifier for people who are scared and only follow the narrative coming out of mainstream media and big Pharm who pull the strings of political puppets around the world. People who don’t look at other evidence, doctors, scientists, etc..that often have little to no public mainstream presence.

      There has never been a public debate in a live format between both sides just like there has never been a debate with the vaccine industry and the ones who speak out against it. Big pharma’s objective is to control the people. Masks are one way as they bring fear to the masses.

      In any case, you asked about masks so here are some objections to it. From a social media site where someone posted. From the comments I have read on all social platforms a lot of people have had enough of masks…..especially if they don’t work.

      Now for things that will make a difference we could talk about building your immune system to fight this “virus” but that’s a different story….

      “I am OSHA 10&30 certified. I know some of you are too. I don’t really know WHY OSHA hasn’t come forward and stopped the nonsense BUT
      I wanna cover 3 things
      • N95 masks and masks with exhale ports
      • surgical masks
      • filter or cloth masks
      Okay so upon further inspection OSHA says some masks are okay and not okay in certain situations.
      If you’re working with fumes and aerosol chemicals and you give your employees the wrong masks and they get sick you can be sued.
      • N95 masks: are designed for CONTAMINATED environments. That means when you exhale through N95 the design is that you are exhaling into contamination. The exhale from N95 masks are vented to breath straight out without filtration. They don’t filter the air on the way out. They don’t need to.
      Conclusion: if you’re in Stewart’s and the guy with Covid has N95 mask his covid breath is unfiltered being exhaled into Stewart’s (because it was designed for already contaminated environments, it’s not filtering your air on the way out)
      • Surgical Mask: these masks were designed and approved for STERILE environments. The amount of particles and contaminants in the outside and indoor environments where people are CLOG these masks very Very quickly. The moisture from your breath combined with the clogged mask with render it “useless” IF you come in contact with Covid and your mask traps it You become a walking virus dispenser. Everytime you put your mask on you are breathing the germs from EVERYWHERE you went. They should be changed or thrown out every “20-30 minutes in a non sterile environment”
      Cloth masks: today three people pointed to their masks as the walked by me entering Lowe’s. They said “ya gotta wear your mask BRO” I said very clearly “those masks don’t work bro, in fact they MAKE you sicker” the “pshh’d” me.
      By now hopefully you all know CLOTH masks do not filter anything. You mean the American flag one my aunt made? Yes. The one with sunflowers that looks so cute? Yes. The bandanna, the cut up t-shirt, the scarf ALL of them offer NO FILTERING whatsoever. As you exhale you are ridding your lungs of contaminants and carbon dioxide. Cloth masks trap this carbon dioxide the best. It actually risks health. The moisture caught in these masks can become mildew ridden over night. Dry coughing, enhanced allergies, sore throat are all symptoms of a micro-mold in your mask.
      Ultimate Answer: N95 blows the virus into the air from a contaminated person.
      The surgical mask is not designed for the outside world and will not filter the virus upon inhaling through it. It’s filtration works on the exhale. (Like a vacuum bag it only works one way)
      Cloth masks are WORSE than none.
      The CDC wants us to keep wearing masks. The masks don’t work.
      Wash your hands. Sanitize your hands. Don’t touch stuff. Wash your phone. Don’t touch people. And keep your distance. Why? Because your breath stinks, your deodorant is failing, your shoes are old and stink, that shirts not clean, I like my space. Trust me I can hear you from here. Lots of reasons. But trust me. The masks do not work.
      *Occupational Safety & Health Administration sited.
      The top American organization for safety.
      They regulate and educate asbestos workers, surgical rooms, you name it.
      If your mask gives you security wear it, just know it is a false sense of security.
      If stores stopped enforcing it no one would continue this nonsense.”

    42. Ah yes, the mask debate rages on….and it is to depressing.

      If this were the Marines, Colonel Jessup would be calling a “Code Red” on the non-mask wearers.

      Some people can’t handle the truth….lol…or at least science.

      I’ve said this before, it doesn’t matter what you believe, science will always be true.

    43. I refuse to comment on @George…….

      As someone earlier mentioned……..I do it because they ask me to. Just like when they ask me to put down my book and listen to the safety brief that I’ve heard literally thousands of times in at least a dozen languages. I don’t care if I’m the only one doing it. It always brings a smile to the faces of the FA’s.

    44. I don’t wear a mask at work nor in public unless required. I wear one when required periodically at work or at church. I have two reasons for not wearing a mask.

      The mask gets dirty and causes me to touch my face several times a minute to re-situate it or make it more comfortable. It also causes my glasses to fog up to the point that they are useless, and then more moving of the mask. If I am exposed to the virus, I would rub it all over my face due to the constant touching of my face.

      The second reason is that several older studies have stated that masks should not be worn for extended periods of time as it affects breathing and intake of oxygen. How much better do you feel when you take those first breaths after removing your mask? It is because your body is not getting the oxygen that it needs through the mask.

      Others may have their reasons, but those are mine. I have advanced postgraduate degrees and don’t really care what others recommend or say. I do know that where I live, I see less than ten percent of the population wearing masks, but our county has very, very few cases of Covid. I will continue to not wear a mask unless someone asks me to do so politely because I don’t intend to be rude, but I will not wear one of my own choosing.

    45. @George “Don’t like Freedom? Leave. Go to Canada.”

      Fraser Institute (right wing organization) and CATO Institute Human Freedom Index, Canada ranks 4th, US 15th
      World Freedom Index, Canada ranks 9th, US ranks 27th
      Press Freedom Index, Canada ranks 16th, US ranks 45th
      Freedom House, Freedom in the World score, Canada 98/100, US 86
      World Index of Moral Freedom, Canada 86.58/100, US 79.15
      Democracy Index, Canada 7th, US 25th
      Index of Economic Freedom (The heritage Institute and Wall Street Journal, very right leaning), Canada ranked 9th, US 17th (this one even surprised me).

      I really tried to find a source that showed that US citizens enjoyed more freedom than Canadians, so you wouldn’t think that I was being one sided, but I couldn’t find even one index that came anywhere close. I really thought that the Heritage Institute would have to rate the US higher, but they apparently had to bow to reality.

      So George, if you don’t like freedom, stay right where you are, you are wallowing in a lack of freedom every day. Just don’t go to Canada, apparently they have too much freedom for you to handle.

    46. You can thank our so-called President for politicizing a public health issue. As has already been conclusively established, a large number of US citizens are just not very smart.

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