On Masks And Insanity*

By Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker

Let’s cut the crap on masks, ok?

The other day I managed to get buzzed.  My head, you idiot — not on a bong.

They insisted (state rules) that I wear a mask.  Meh.  Ok, so I had a dust mask in the truck (its proper use is for sanding things), so I wore it.  It’s worthless to prevent viral transmission, by the way, and so was the one the person buzzing me, who also had one on, was wearing.


Let’s quickly review.

A mask on your face will interrupt particles you exhale forcefully.  So if you cough, for example, it will trap the larger droplets.  It will not trap the vapor-phase water nor anything that’s in there.  Virus particles are much smaller than the spaces in the mask material, never mind the inevitable gaps around the edges.

So the mask will stop some, but nowhere near all, of the particles you exhale.  I remind you that we could stop all drunk driving by mandating that every person blow into an attached breathalyzer before their car would start.  We would never tolerate such a thing unless you’ve been convicted of drunk driving first, and then only for a limited period of time.  Mandatory “mask rules” are the same thing; they impose this mandate on you with zero evidence you’re infected and thus can transmit anything.

Now how about on the other end — the person who isn’t infected?  Should they wear one in an attempt to prevent their own infection?  There the news depends on how the infection is spreading.

IF the infection is spread by manual transmission of non-aerosol particles — for example, fecal-oral — then a mask is extremely effective in preventing the wearer from becoming infected.  Why?  Nearly all such transmission of a “manual” sort occurs when you touch something that is contaminated and then touch the interior of your nose or the fleshy parts of your mouth — specifically, your lips.  But remember, according to the CDC (despite the actual documented evidence) Covid is claimed not to spread this way.

Why does the CDC refuse to bring this form of transmission forward and focus on it?  Because then we have to talk about toilets in hospitals, nursing homes and other commercial environments that are invariably high-pressure driven units that spray material all over the place when flushed, adult incontinence products used in both and how they’re handled and disposed of and the fact that hand sanitizers are ineffective compared with washing one’s hands — all of which means the protocols that the CDC has said are “good enough” or “reduce risk significantly” really aren’t and don’t.  They know this, by the way, and we also know from history that one of the most-effective ways to transmit a virus is fecal/oral — polio, as one example, has one of the worst transmission rates (R0 of roughly 5!) and is transmitted almost-exclusively via this route.

Oh by the way when you look at the data roughly half the deaths thus far are in fact people who were in nursing homes. Of course being able to add 2 and 2 yet not use “common core” to claim the result is 5 goes against the “teaching” of the useful idiots all over the place, never mind that if you actually looked at this issue dispassionately you’d be compelled to immediately bring thousands of counts of manslaughter against Cuomo, Newsom and others.

So instead of doing the right thing we instead killed tens of thousands in said nursing homes and claim “masks” are required for certain workers to be able to open their businesses.

But wait, you say — you haven’t pointed out why they’re worthless if the actual transmission route is through vapor in the air!

Ah, if you don’t get it you have no brain.  Or, to be more-specific, you have no eyes.

SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes a COVID-19 infection, is nearly 100 times more effective at infecting the human conjunctiva — a thin, clear tissue covering the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids — and upper respiratory airways than SARS, Dr. Michael Chan Chi-wai, who led the research team at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health, told the South China Morning Post. The team’s findings were published in the most recent issue of The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

The eyes are surrounded on all sides except right where they stick forward so they’re useful to you with a moist, live skin surface.  Unlike unbroken epidermal skin on your hands viruses can trivially penetrate that surface into the body — and do.  Water vapor in the air, some laden with virus particles, will exchange with any open area and come in contact with same, exchanging back and forth with the air itself.  Gas laws state that unless you have a 100% seal such exchange will occur extremely rapidly due to Brownian motion and as a result wearing “goggles” or glasses does nothing to interrupt that.  This is distinct from droplets which are not in vapor phase and rapidly drop to the floor or ground outside, and in the context of outside if there is any wind whatsoever the dissipation happens quickly enough to make person-to-person transmission nearly impossible unless you are literally face-to-face.

It has been long recognized that your eyes are a primary entry point for any airborne virus or other material.  Ask anyone with an allergy to pollen about that.  You need only cut an onion to recognize that irritants in vapor phase can and do get to your eyes.  In addition even with a mask if you touch your eyes anything on your hands will get in via that route as well.

This, by the way, is likely why NY has documented that the majority of people who wound up in the hospital after their lockdown were in fact locked down and staying in their homes — they were not “essential workers.”  Simply put the measures put in place do not work because they can’t work with an airborne respiratory virus.

This in turn means there is no effective way to prevent transmission among people at-large.  It simply cannot be done and as such we must respect facts and move on with our lives.  It doesn’t matter if we like it or not; it is what it is.

We destroyed the economy for no actual benefit, and our refusal to admit this means we’re still destroying the economy.

The remaining and actual effective mitigation is to go after the vectors in health care settings — specifically hospitals and nursing homes with a targeted intervention based on the sanitarium model I’ve been advocating since this began.

I could go on with regard to gloves as well, but this is long enough for now.

Simply put — a mask is useful if you believe you may be ill, especially if you cough.  However, it will do little or nothing to prevent transmission to you of an infectious agent that is spread through the air — and that’s just a matter of physics and physiology, not “virtue signalling.”

Karl Denninger