Monday, January 4, 2021
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Posted on our Stark County, Ohio News and Views... Facebook page.
How many words are you willing to read? How about 72?
I've published Stark County, Ohio News and Views..., in one form or another, for 13 years. Approximately 22% of my adult life!
We've informed, educated and promoted Stark County. Serving as a resource for residents, visitors and businesses.
THANK YOU to our fans who LIKE the page. I APPRECIATE those of you who participate, responding to our posts. I am especially GRATEFUL for those of you who are supportive and helpful.
That's 72; thank you.
It is my hope that in 2021 it will not be necessary to write posts in response to fans who are ill-mannered, inconsiderate, disrespectful, rude, irresponsible, and/or hateful.
To the militant members of the red hat cult (those of you who are proud to be referred to as deploreables), the Coronavirus deniers and the unrepentant racists, my message is clear: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.
This page exists as a community, not a bastion of divisiveness.
We don't care about the incendiary talking points you're parroting, the Conspiracy Theories you want to promote, and/or the hateful rhetoric you want to spew.
We're not having it. You're not going to influence my page, you're not going to win supporters among our audience and you're not going to gain new followers.
People have LIKED and follow this page because I am passionate about our community. Our message is positive. I'm the real deal, a genuine article.
I can tell you, from the experience of 44 years working as a writer, in marketing and management, that any effort to satisfy, let alone to please, everyone is guaranteed to fail.
Over the years I've been the target of attempted character assassination. People have made unreasonable demands, claiming that I had an obligation to promote their business or organization for free. I've dealt with people who wanted to USE me, not UTILIZE our page.
I'm imperfect, have no doubt, I'm fallable, I make what turn out to be bad decisions and I make mistakes. I could turn out to be right or wrong on any topic at any given time.The same as you and everyone you know.
But, I have a strong sense of what is right or wrong; I know how people should behave; and I understand the importance of standing for what I believe whether it's popular or not.
In 1845, Victor Hugo wrote the following: You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do no bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.
When I launched Stark County, Ohio News and Views…, on January 5, 2008, there were no community-based blogs or social media pages promoting any NE Ohio community. We were the first, a pioneer.
Publishing this page, running it, setting and enforcing policies, doing what I believe to be right for Stark County, Ohio News and Views..., for the community and for myself has resulted in having enemies. I can live with that, having no regret, because the alternative is being a doormat and have people take advantage of me.
Life is short, time is valuable and I’m not throwing it away arguing with someone about a blog or social media post.
It's been necessary to write approximately 50 posts in response to the behavior of fans and random visitors, trolling, over the past 10 months.
In the previous 12 years we posted approximately 10.
A large majority of our fans do not bother to read these essays, I'm well aware. But, that does not lessen the importance of writing them.
I am grateful that a relatively small number of you do read Whether you agree or not, I appreciate each and every one of you who respond (respectfully).
And so it goes, as Stark County, Ohio News and Views... sets sail into an unknown future. Hopeful. Dedicated. Determined.
Stark County, Ohio News and Views...
Sunday, August 2, 2020
Order this Less Me, More We mask and support the Human Rights Campaign. You can get it HERE: https://shop.hrc.org/less-me-more-we-face-mask.html#gref
Friday, July 31, 2020
The Cult Of Selfishness Is Killing America
The Trump administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis insisted that there was no trade-off between economic growth and controlling the disease, and they were right — but not in the way they expected.
Premature reopening led to a surge in infections: Adjusted for population, Americans are currently dying from Covid-19 at around 15 times the rate in the European Union or Canada. Yet the “rocket ship” recovery Donald Trump promised has crashed and burned: Job growth appears to have stalled or reversed, especially in states that were most aggressive about lifting social distancing mandates, and early indications are that the U.S. economy is lagging behind the economies of major European nations.
So we’re failing dismally on both the epidemiological and the economic fronts. But why?
On the face of it, the answer is that Trump and allies were so eager to see big jobs numbers that they ignored both infection risks and the way a resurgent pandemic would undermine the economy. As I and others have said, they failed the marshmallow test, sacrificing the future because they weren’t willing to show a little patience.
And there’s surely a lot to that explanation. But it isn’t the whole story.
For one thing, people truly focused on restarting the economy should have been big supporters of measures to limit infections without hurting business — above all, getting Americans to wear face masks. Instead, Trump ridiculed those in masks as “politically correct,” while Republican governors not only refused to mandate mask-wearing, but they prevented mayors from imposing local mask rules.
Also, politicians eager to see the economy bounce back should have wanted to sustain consumer purchasing power until wages recovered. Instead, Senate Republicans ignored the looming July 31 expiration of special unemployment benefits, which means that tens of millions of workers are about to see a huge hit to their incomes, damaging the economy as a whole.
So what was going on? Were our leaders just stupid? Well, maybe. But there’s a deeper explanation of the profoundly self-destructive behavior of Trump and his allies: They were all members of America’s cult of selfishness.
You see, the modern U.S. right is committed to the proposition that greed is good, that we’re all better off when individuals engage in the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest. In their vision, unrestricted profit maximization by businesses and unregulated consumer choice is the recipe for a good society.
Support for this proposition is, if anything, more emotional than intellectual. I’ve long been struck by the intensity of right-wing anger against relatively trivial regulations, like bans on phosphates in detergent and efficiency standards for light bulbs. It’s the principle of the thing: Many on the right are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account.
This rage is sometimes portrayed as love of freedom. But people who insist on the right to pollute are notably unbothered by, say, federal agents tear-gassing peaceful protesters. What they call “freedom” is actually absence of responsibility.
Rational policy in a pandemic, however, is all about taking responsibility. The main reason you shouldn’t go to a bar and should wear a mask isn’t self-protection, although that’s part of it; the point is that congregating in noisy, crowded spaces or exhaling droplets into shared air puts others at risk. And that’s the kind of thing America’s right just hates, hates to hear.
Indeed, it sometimes seems as if right-wingers actually make a point of behaving irresponsibly. Remember how Senator Rand Paul, who was worried that he might have Covid-19 (he did), wandered around the Senate and even used the gym while waiting for his test results?
Anger at any suggestion of social responsibility also helps explain the looming fiscal catastrophe. It’s striking how emotional many Republicans get in their opposition to the temporary rise in unemployment benefits; for example, Senator Lindsey Graham declared that these benefits would be extended “over our dead bodies.” Why such hatred?
It’s not because the benefits are making workers unwilling to take jobs. There’s no evidence that this is happening — it’s just something Republicans want to believe. And in any case, economic arguments can’t explain the rage.
Again, it’s the principle. Aiding the unemployed, even if their joblessness isn’t their own fault, is a tacit admission that lucky Americans should help their less-fortunate fellow citizens. And that’s an admission the right doesn’t want to make.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Republicans are selfish. We’d be doing much better if that were all there were to it. The point, instead, is that they’ve sacralized selfishness, hurting their own political prospects by insisting on the right to act selfishly even when it hurts others.
What the coronavirus has revealed is the power of America’s cult of selfishness. And this cult is killing us.
Opinion Columnist, The New York Times
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Trump Sticks With Unproven Hydroxychloroquine
He said the malaria medication was only rejected as a Covid-19 treatment because he had recommended its use.
His remarks come after Twitter banned his eldest son for posting a clip promoting hydroxychloroquine.
There is no evidence the drug can fight the virus, and regulators warn it may cause heart problems.
On Wednesday Dr Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the BBC that hydroxychloroquine was not effective against the virus.
"We know that every single good study - and by good study I mean randomised control study in which the data are firm and believable - has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of Covid-19," he said.
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned against using the drug to treat coronavirus patients, following reports of "serious heart rhythm problems" and other health issues.
The FDA also revoked its emergency-use authorisation for the drug to treat Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) says "there is currently no proof" that it is effective as a treatment or prevents Covid-19.
What did Mr Trump say?
Studies commissioned by the WHO, the US National Institutes of Health and other researchers around the world have found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine - when used with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, as repeatedly recommended by President Trump - helps treat coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine was first touted by Mr Trump in March. Two months later he surprised journalists by saying he had begun taking the unproven medication to ward off the virus.
On Tuesday the president told reporters at the White House: "I can only say that from my standpoint, and based on a lot of reading and a lot of knowledge about it, I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages.
"I don't think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn't seem too popular."
He added: "When I recommend something, they like to say 'don't use it'."
The comments were made as he prepared to visit Odessa, Texas for a fundraising event on Wednesday, despite concerns over surges of Covid-19 cases in the state.
Joe Biden, Mr Trump's presumptive rival in the November general election, criticised the trip. "Texas families are suffering. They're suffering because President Trump's inability to lead this country and combat the spread of Covid-19," Mr Biden said.
Why has hydroxychloroquine come up again?
President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr were among social media users who shared video late on Monday of a group called America's Frontline Doctors advocating hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment.
Facebook and Twitter removed the content, flagging it as misinformation, but not before more than 17 million people had seen one of the clips.
Twitter also banned the US president's eldest son from tweeting for 12 hours as a penalty for sharing the clip. In the past, Twitter has declined to remove tweets by President Trump himself and other world leaders, citing public interest and newsworthiness.
The video in question showed doctors speaking outside the US Supreme Court building at an event organised by Tea Party Patriots Action, a group that has helped fund a pro-Trump political action committee.
In the video, Dr Stella Immanuel, a doctor from Houston, says she has successfully treated 350 coronavirus patients "and counting" with hydroxychloroquine.
The president said on Tuesday: "I think they're very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it."
According to the Daily Beast, Dr Immanuel has previously claimed the government is run by "reptilians" and that scientists are developing a vaccine to stop people being religious, among other bizarre views.
America's Frontline Doctors' founder"Treatment options for COVID-19 should be debated, and spoken about among our colleagues in the medical field," she tweeted. "They should never, however, be censored and silenced." Simone Gold accused social media companies of censorship for removing the hydroxychloroquine video.
"Treatment options for COVID-19 should be debated, and spoken about among our colleagues in the medical field," she tweeted. "They should never, however, be censored and silenced."
How is Mr Trump's relationship with Dr Fauci?
Late on Monday, Mr Trump also retweeted several tweets critical of Dr Fauci. But in Tuesday's briefing the president denied he was criticising the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, insisting: "I get along with him very well."
Asked about hydroxychloroquine earlier on Tuesday, Dr Fauci said the medication was not an appropriate treatment for Covid-19.
He told ABC News' morning show that the drug was "not effective in coronavirus disease".
The US now has more than 4.3 million reported cases of Covid-19, and more than 149,000 deaths.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
Narcissists And Psychopaths Are More Likely To Refuse To Wear Masks
Both studies, which, combined, surveyed more than a thousand people in Poland, were published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Personality and Individual Differences.
In "Adaptive and maladaptive behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of Dark Triad traits, collective narcissism, and health beliefs," researchers Bartłomiej Nowaka and Paweł Brzóska of the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland, along with co-authors at other universities, surveyed 755 people between the ages of 18 and 78 in the second half of March—in the third and fourth weeks of government pandemic restrictions.
The study used a combination of existing diagnostic tools for evaluating Dark Triad traits and a "Health Belief scale" modified to evaluate people's perceptions regarding the severity of, and their susceptibility to, COVID-19. Finally, the researchers asked questions to determine how likely participants were (on a one-to-four scale, from "definitely not" to "definitely yes") to engage in both preventive measures like decontamination and hoarding measures like stockpiling food.
Respondents demonstrating Dark Triad traits—so-called because their malevolent (or "dark") qualities correlate with more crime, less compassion and dangerous leadership qualities—were more likely to hoard and less likely to take preventive measures. People with Dark Triad traits more often believed they were highly susceptible to the virus, while also believing less in the efficacy of their own actions, qualities that "partially explained" their reluctance to take preventive measures like frequent hand washing and limiting non-necessary trips outside the home.
"Participants higher on the Dark Triad traits seemed to be concerned with negative aspects of prevention and not consider the benefits of it," the researchers wrote.
The results correspond well with previous research into individuals with Dark Triad personality traits, who tend to be more impulsive, short-sighted, competitive and risk-taking. Dark Triad traits have even been linked to bad health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy.
The paper "Who complies with the restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19?: Personality and perceptions of the COVID-19 situation," written by Marcin Zajenkowski of the University of Warsaw and three other researchers—also published in Personality and Individual Differences in June—found similar correlations between individual personality differences and compliance with pandemic restrictions.
Analyzing responses gathered during the last two weeks in April ("the height of restrictions in Poland"), from 263 people from Poland between the ages of 18 and 80, the study looked at both personality traits and differences in individual perceptions of the pandemic.
Participants, none of whom had been infected with coronavirus, were measured for both Dark Triad and "Big Five" personality traits—extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Individual perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic were also measured, using an existing diagnostic framework which describes people as perceiving situations along eight dimensions, including the obligations of Duty, the need for Intellect, the possibility of Mating, the opportunity for Deception or Sociality, the presence of Adversity and the situation's positive or negative dimensions.
The results showed that compliance with preventive measures were associated with lower Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism, with Dark Triad traits generally accounting for a slightly higher variance between individuals than Big Five personality trait measures.
However, the study also found that individual perceptions of the coronavirus pandemic situation accounted for the most variance. Using certain statistical methods, individual personality traits became almost negligible in measuring responses, while perception of the situation more substantially predicted the likelihood of complying with restrictions like face-mask and social-distancing mandates. According to the study's authors, this suggests that "COVID-19 served as a 'strong situation' driving compliance more than personality."
So while both studies validate inferences from Dark Triad traits—such as the hypothesis that Machiavellianism and its power-seeking cynicism may lead to rejection of government coronavirus restrictions as a challenge to the individual's illusion of power—the findings presented in "Who complies with the restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19?" suggests that people's individual understanding of the pandemic reality outside of themselves is more consequential than the personality traits they already possess.
"Generally, we found that the way people perceived the situation explained more variance in compliance than the Big Five traits and the Dark Triad traits," Zajenkowski and his co-authors wrote, in discussing their results. "This finding supports the 'strong situation hypothesis' according to which personality traits have less room to play an important role in predicting behaviors when situational cues overpower dispositional tendencies."
So while the study found that "being rivalrous, caring little for others, and cynical and power-seeking may create a 'perfect storm' of dispositions that lead to an unwillingness to comply in a combative way," the researchers also agreed that individual personality traits can only explain a small part of the overall variance in people's responses to pandemic restrictions.
"It may be that other individual differences may be more important," the researchers wrote in a section discussing the limitations of their conclusions. "For instance, people might differ in terms of educational background and their general medical knowledge, risk preferences, or they might simply mistrust the government, all of which can influence their willingness to comply with the restrictions. Additionally, social values, fundamental motives, and moral foundations may be worth exploring in subsequent research to understand compliance patterns."
The authors of both papers seem to concur on the limitations of looking at Dark Triad traits in explaining responses to COVID-19 measures.
"So-called dark personality is not as problematic in the face of the pandemic as one could assume. The most important is what such people think about the coronavirus and about adopting preventive measures," Magdalena Zemojtel-Piotrowska, a co-author of "Adaptive and maladaptive behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic," told PsyPost.
While psychopaths and narcissists may be less likely to comply with coronavirus restrictions, the evidence doesn't suggest that personality disorders are to blame for social-distancing failures and mask-mandate pushback.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Scientists Have Been Right About The Coronavirus. Why Are People Still Not Listening?
I am an atmospheric scientist who studies weather and climate. From that lens, I am well versed in the experience of delivering forecasts or warnings that are often dismissed by the public. It is extremely frustrating to see people ignore the threat of an approaching hurricane or emerging impacts of climate change. Within the pages of Forbes, I have previously explored several reasons that people ignore expert warnings or advice including motivated reasoning, optimism bias, belief bias, Dunning-Kruger effect, and other cognitive biases.
From a broad perspective, it is pretty clear to me that scientists have generally been correct about the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, some people (and policymakers) are dismissive and even hostile towards them. Recently, I discovered another concept from the field of psychology that may help explain why some people push back on expertise.
So what’s your evidence that scientists have been correct? Early in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other scientists who have devoted much of their careers to studying infectious diseases warned of the significant threat of COVID-19 and urged social distancing practices and “lockdowns.” It was a difficult pill to swallow and caused significant pain to our economy. If you review the graphic above, it is evident that the “curve” was flattened. A Time magazine article originally posted on April 27th, 2020 declared that the U.S. had flattened the curve.
Given significant economic pressure to “reopen” the economy, policymakers jumped on the opportunity presented by the flattened curve. However, scientists were urging caution. Yasemin Saplakoglu wrote an excellent piece in Livescience about the concerns of the infectious disease community. She quoted Dr. Fauci from his testimony before the U.S. Senate Health Committee. At one point he said, “prematurely open(ing) up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.” States forged ahead with phased reopening plans anyhow.
For a brief period of time, some policymakers boasted about progress as “normalization” continued, and certain media outlets or politicians demanded apologies to people that were critical of early reopening. People started bashing the coronavirus models that were predicting resurgent numbers in the summer. It turns out that the surge is fully upon us, and the models were right. The graph below shows new total hospitalizations in Florida and other states. I use this metric because it better characterizes the COVID-19 health situation without the bias of sheer testing numbers. Once again, the scientists were right.
Finally, the narrative shifted in some circles to “well not as many people are dying.” From what I have gathered from experts, this is likely related to younger people testing positive. While the likelihood of death in that demographic is lower, they also become potential super-spreaders to more vulnerable members of the population. My Forbes and University of Georgia colleague John Drake breaks down four reasons why deaths are lagging cases right now. He also urged caution for an impending surge in deaths too. At the time of writing, there are signs that Drake and other colleagues are right about this too.
Whew, that was a long-winded defense of the declaration that scientists have been right. Let’s deal with why some people aren’t listening. I stumbled across something called psychological reactance, a concept put forth by Jack Brehm in 1966. The basic definition of reactance theory is that people try to establish or regain a freedom after losing or perceiving it to be lost or threatened, which causes them to resist. When I read this, my first reaction was that this seems exactly like what we are seeing with all of the whining, protests, and pushback “in the name of freedom and personal rights” concerning masks and social distancing policies.
As a parent, I immediately recognized that most of us experience reactance in our homes all of the time. Virtually every parent has experienced “No” or “Why” after asking a child to clean their room, eat their vegetables or reads books during summer. Ok, that last one about the book was a digression to my current experiences with my son. Scholars have used reactance theory to explain political movements or the rise of certain politicians.
Circling back to John Drake’s latest contribution in Forbes, he makes the case for universal face masks. I didn’t feel the slightest twinge of threat to my personal freedoms while reading his article. Candidly, I value everything this great country has afforded me and have never felt that my personal rights have been violated by common sense recommendations like mask wearing or social distancing.
Wear those masks because the virus is not going to “poof” and go away.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Monday, July 20, 2020
Ohio Among Least Cooperative States Regarding Masks
Last week, Governor Mike DeWine made a plea to Ohioans to wear a mask.
According to a new study, DeWine has his work cut out for himself when it comes to making that happen.
Last week, Survival At Home conducted a study to determine which states are the most -- and least -- cooperative when it comes to wearing a mask. Ohio, for its part, ranked as the ninth least cooperative state, with the top 10 states of anti-mask wearing activity:
According to USA Today, the study was conducted by compiling more than 150,000 geotagged Twitter posts that referenced popular hashtags like "#nomask," "#burnyourmask" and "#iwillnotcomply" over the last 30 days. In that span, Ohio has seen its coronavirus cases and trends rise, with DeWine warning that the Buckeye State could soon see numbers similar to Florida and Arizona if it doesn't reverse its trends.
While not mandatory across the state, masks in Ohio are required in counties that have reached the third level of the state's coronavirus risk level. As of last week, 19 counties in Ohio meet that criteria, which means that 60 percent of the state is currently required to wear masks when in public.
Appearing on Meet The Press on Sunday, DeWine said that more health orders are expected in the coming days. He also didn't rule out the possibility of enacting a statewide mask mandate.
"We’re at a crucial time," DeWine said. "And so this week you may see a lot more counties under that mask requirement, so we certainly would not rule out going statewide. We’re certainly looking at that, but there’s a lot of things going on."
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Yes, Wearing Masks Helps.
People opposed to mask mandates have staged protests, and one local health official in Orange County, Calif., quit her job after receiving a death threat for a mask order. Not long after, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to wear face coverings in public.
Meanwhile in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott recently allowed some counties to impose mask mandates on businesses, despite an earlier order forbidding penalties on individuals for not wearing masks.
While politicians spar over the topic, a growing number of scientific studies support the idea that masks are a critical tool in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Take, for example, a meta-analysis of 172 studies that looked at various interventions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, SARS and MERS from an infected person to people close to them. The analysis, which was published in The Lancet on June 1, found that mask wearing significantly reduces the risk of viral transmission.
"What this evidence supports is that, if there is a policy around using face masks in place, it does actually come with a fairly large effect," says study co-author Holger Schünemann, an epidemiologist at McMaster University.
Now, most of the studies in the analysis looked at face mask use in health care, not community, settings. And they were observational, not the gold standard of science, a randomized controlled trial, which would be "very unethical in a pandemic," says Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University. Still, he says the fact that there is a benefit from masks is clear.
"I personally think that face masks are a key component of the non-pharmaceutical arsenal we have to combat COVID-19," says Shaman.
It's understandable if some people remain skeptical, since, at the beginning of the pandemic, public health officials in the U.S. said the general public didn't need masks. But that changed as it became clear that infected people can spread the coronavirus before they even show symptoms of COVID-19 or even if they never show symptoms.
Researchers emphasize there are two main reasons to wear masks. There's some evidence of protection for the wearer, but the stronger evidence is that masks protect others from catching an infection from the person wearing the mask. And infected people can spread the virus just by talking.
"If you're talking, when things are coming out of your mouth, they're coming out fast," says Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech who studies the airborne transmission of viruses. "They're going to slam into the cloth mask. I think even a low-quality mask can block a lot of those droplets."
Marr points to a study published in Nature Medicine in April that looked at people infected with the flu and seasonal coronaviruses. It found that even loose-fitting surgical masks blocked almost all the contagious droplets the wearers breathed out and even also some infectious aerosols — tiny particles that can linger in the air.
Other recent studies offer indirect evidence for universal mask use, even if worn by people who are feeling healthy. One study, published in late May in BMJ Global Health, looked at people in households in Beijing where one person was confirmed to have COVID-19. At the time, explains study co-author Raina MacIntyre, research was already showing that the majority of transmission of the virus was happening inside households, and China already had a culture of mask wearing. The study found that in households where everyone was wearing a face mask indoors as a precaution before they knew anyone who lived there was sick, the risk of transmission was cut by 79%.
"The more people that were wearing a mask, the more protective it was," says MacIntyre, head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Australia. In other words, when everyone wore a mask, it protected the whole household.
Another study, published in late May in the journal Cell, suggests that the coronavirus may first establish itself in the nasal cavity, before sometimes moving down to the lungs to cause more serious damage. If that's the case, the authors conclude, the findings "argue for the widespread use of masks" to prevent the virus from exiting an infected nose or entering an uninfected one.
And a modeling study, published this month in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, concluded that if the majority of a population wore face masks in public — even just homemade ones — that this could dramatically reduce transmission of the virus and help prevent future waves of the pandemic. (Remember, we're still in the first wave in the U.S.)
Researchers will tell you that masks won't provide full protection. And teasing out the science of masks will take time. But Marr says there's enough evidence already to say that, combined with measures like social distancing, masks really do help.
"From what I've seen, I would be comfortable sending my kids back to school if everyone's wearing masks and they're staying as far apart as possible," Marr says.
Of course, how much protection a mask provides — both to the wearers and to the people around them — depends on the type of mask and whether you are wearing it properly. (Note: It has to cover your nose as well as your mouth.) N95 respirators are designed to fit tightly around the nose and mouth so that the air you breathe has to go through the mask; when worn correctly, they block at least 95% of small airborne particles. N95 masks protect both the wearer and other people, but they're still in short supply and should be reserved for health care workers and emergency responders.
Surgical masks are designed to protect people from the wearer. Because they fit loosely, the wearer can still breathe in unfiltered air from the sides. Even so, surgical masks provide some benefit to the wearer as well: Laboratory testing has found that surgical masks block out 75% of respiratory-droplet-size particles.
Avoid masks with a valve in the front. That valve lets unfiltered air out, so it won't protect other people if you're contagious. And after all, protecting others is one of the main reasons to wear a mask in the first place.
As for cloth masks, the protection depends on what they're made out of and how well they fit. But with the right combination of materials, you can create a cloth mask that offers protection to the wearer in the 30% to 50% range or more, says May Chu, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health who co-authored a paper published on June 2 in Nano Letters on the filtration efficiency of household mask materials. That's far from full protection, but combined with social distancing and hand-washing, she says, it's certainly better than nothing.
"I think we need a combination of [masks,] distancing, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces," says Marr. Even if each of those individual measures is only partially effective, she says, "by the time you add them all on top of each other, you can achieve better numbers for reduction of transmission."
[In June], the real world provided anecdotal evidence to back that assessment: The head of the local health department in Springfield, Mo., reported that after two hair stylists tested positive for the coronavirus, none of the 140 clients and six co-workers potentially exposed came down with COVID-19. As The Washington Post reports, officials said the two hair stylists wore cloth masks. According to a statement from the health department in Springfield, the salon also had other policies in place, such as distancing salon chairs and staggering appointments.
Saturday, July 11, 2020
- Novel Coronavirus is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.
- Wash your hands, correctly & often.
- Maintain physical distance of 6 feet.
- Do not gather in groups, 10 or more.
- Wear a mask.
- Get tested.
- 40% of infected people, asymptomatic.
- You can "recover" with 20% to 30% loss of lung function, for life.
- Listen to scientists and doctors, not anyone promoting a political agenda.
- We can not have a healthy economy when the population is unhealthy and people do not feel safe.
Friday, July 10, 2020
Cases Of Broken Heart Syndrome Increase Amid Pandemic Stress
Cardiologists in Ohio have found that the number of patients experiencing Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, increased four-to-five fold during the coronavirus pandemic compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to a small new study.
Broken heart syndrome is typically brought on by extreme physical or emotional distress, and can cause heart muscles to suddenly weaken, according to a Live Science report. The symptoms can be similar to those of a heart attack, including chest pain and shortness of breath, according to the report.
The causes of broken heart syndrome aren't known, but it's thought that physically or emotionally stressful events can cause the body to release stress hormones that temporarily reduce the heart's ability to pump normally, according to a statement.
The pandemic has led to "multiple levels of stress in people's lives across the country and world," study co-author Dr. Ankur Kalra, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist in the Sections of Invasive and Interventional Cardiology and Regional Cardiovascular Medicine, said in the statement. "People are not only worried about themselves or their families becoming ill, they are dealing with economic and emotional issues, societal problems and potential loneliness and isolation."
In the new study, Kalra and his team analyzed data from 258 patients who came to the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Akron General with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) between March 1 and April 30, corresponding to the time period when the pandemic was first taking off in the U.S. They then compared these patients with four control groups of ACS patients who came to the clinics before the pandemic: from the beginning of March to the end of April of 2018, the beginning of January to the end of February of 2019, from the beginning of March to the end of April of 2019 and the beginning of January to the end of February of 2020.
Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health, PLEASE make masks mandatory in the State of Ohio.
Leave no doubt that Public Health is the #1 priority in Ohio; PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THEMSELVES!
We can not have a healthy economy when irresponsible, inconsiderate, selfish people make a political agenda more important than Public Health.