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COVID - Getting Past the Anger or Embrace it?


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34 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, I'm not really following the conversation. It seems to go something like this: 

Person 1: I'm mad at the people around me doing flagrantly dangerous stuff, like going to parties, screaming in people's faces, not wearing masks around high-risk people, claiming the virus is a hoax, etc. 

Person 2: I'm angry you're judging people. We can't control everything, so judging people is wrong. Lots of the rules haven't even made sense. 

Like, I don't understand how the response matches the original sentiment. And this is something like the 10th thread I've seen with this exchange, so I'm obviously missing something. Can someone please explain to me why people who are mad at the flagrant rule-breakers are making you uncomfortable? Does it feel like ANY judgment is wrong? 

I think it's because most of us have not actually seen the bolded in real life, at least not in the past 10+ months.  [Well, except "going to parties," but the "parties" we've seen have been socially distanced and way less frequent than normal.] 

At least some of the pps have expressed anger at much less, such as a masked person being briefly less than 6' away in a store.  Or "lesser of two evils" choices such as opening schools.

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4 minutes ago, SKL said:

It's sad if people see me walking, say, in a parking lot or on a nature path, without a mask, and they get mad. 

Is anyone actually saying this, though? Anyone on this thread?

I'm in an area where masking is both mandated and socially ubiquitous. It's normal, since this time last year.

But even here, most people don't mask in the situations you're describing. I do carry a mask on trails and pop it on if I have to get close to someone for more than a second, but that's rare. I don't carry or wear a mask to walk the dog. No one does.

We do mask inside, or in spaces where we are in close proximity to more people: outside at the farmers market, for instance.

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

I think it's because most of us have not actually seen the bolded in real life, at least not in the past 10+ months.  [Well, except "going to parties," but the "parties" we've seen have been socially distanced and way less frequent than normal.] 

At least some of the pps have expressed anger at much less, such as a masked person being briefly less than 6' away in a store.  Or "lesser of two evils" choices such as opening schools.

I think this is simply based on where you live. Different people have different experiences.

I on the other hand have never experienced someone being angry at me for not masking and I typically don't outside. 

Has it ever occured to you that you are not the source of frustration?

Edited by frogger
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Just now, happysmileylady said:

Not who you were asked but sometime very large generalizations can make it difficult to tell who is or isn’t the source of frustration.  

True, especially if you happen to be living an entirely different experience than the other posters.

 

I do believe those who live in very conservative areas have had very different experiences than those living in very liberal areas. The judgements made on you by others are completely opposite. The staying home is snarked on as fear, etc even if you are doing it as a precaution for others sake. 

Every single thing mentioned by SKL and Bootsie as alternative ways of reducing risk would be snarked on as fear even if your main concern had nothing to do with you but spreading it. 

 

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Re feeling "smad" -

1 hour ago, historically accurate said:

I went back and read this thread from the beginning this morning to see where it all went wrong. And I came to the same conclusion I did in my first post, it might not make sense to some people, and it might not be helpful to me or anyone else, but yeah, @Ordinary Shoes, I'm right here with you in the midst of the anger.

I think like Oh from the movie "Home", I'm sad-mad. I've been hurt, saddened, disappointed, and yes, angered by specific people and institutions in my life as well as that nebulous "they". I really can't change the way I feel about it. The feelings are still there no matter how much I try to tell myself otherwise. 

Masking in stores here is pretty high because there is a state mandate, but in private or smaller groups, if one person doesn't want to mask, then it's allowed, granted this is in my limited experience (since we gave up trying to find some social outlet after a while). That has meant that my kids have tried a few different things to get together with friends, and not a one of them has followed masking or social distancing protocols. Yeah, it makes me smad (sad-mad). My DD's one and only in-person TKD class actually had Master tell the kids to hug their partners despite their previous assurances to us that they "operate in compliance of every CDC recommendation". The youth group leader forgot to mention to me on the phone that fully masked and socially distanced didn't apply to small group time (which could have as many as 25 teens) - one of my DD's showed me the texts with pics from her friends of 12 kids piled on a couch maskless from the week before and tons of face to face selfies. 

But before I go and get smad again, here are some things we've done to work through our anger and sadness (note: I have snarky teens and one who does not always express anger appropriately, so these things are mostly things designed to get that anger out, not soothe it). The Historically Accurate Family had a spectacularly craptastic 2018 & 2019, so we rolled into the pandemic already beat down and emotional. Covid did nothing to alleviate that.

Over the past year, we have

  • gone outside into a storm and screamed obscenities into the wind.
  • wrote or drew our anger triggers on post-its, stuck them to the side of the house, and lobbed water balloons at them.
  • The punching bag has been very abused this past year.
  • taken a butter knife and stabbed an orange repeatedly just to watch it "bleed".
  • family dance parties to really loud 90s music - one DD has a "Covid sucks" playlist. And watching your 40ish yo Mom break out her best 90s mosh pit moves is enough to put anyone in a better mood!
  • done loads and loads of yoga - I actually made a really good friend through Zoom yoga that I can't wait to meet in person.
  • burned letters we wrote to Covid and people we were frustrated with.
  • DH procured obsolute, defunct computer pieces, we donned safety goggles/bicycle helmets/face shields/gloves, and beat them with a stick ala Office Space. He did this one shortly after I came home from a funeral where I had a disturbingly aggressive interaction with an unmasked mutual friend (well, I guess ex-friend now). 
  • Some of us see therapists.

As I said in my first post on this thread, I'm working on my anger, and most days I just go through my boring little socially distanced life, and then something will happen that will make that anger flare up, and I'm right back in the middle of that anger. 

 

This whole post is wonderful and life affirming and healthy. Your snarky teens are very lucky to have you as a mom.

I'm smad too. Not seething with rage by a long shot, but deeply saddened by our evident limitations as a society. This plague hasn't changed who we are, but it's done a great deal to reveal who we are.

We have paid, and will continue to pay, a far higher COVID cost than necessary. Because at the end of the day we value our own rights >  responsibilities to others, because the fractures we have long had and continue still to do the hard work to heal, because it turns out -- again-- that not all lives matter. 

 

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1 hour ago, frogger said:

I also know many people who believe masks do diddly but choose to use them around those who care because they actually care about relationships with those people. It is called kindness. I really appreciate those people.

 

And I remember one of those people donning a mask because I had one on. She was considering my needs. She also seemed to be struggling to breath because what we were doing required some exertion so I told her not to worry about it.  We were putting things together for an outdoor event and there wasn't a lot of people around so it wouldn't have affected others. She chose to keep it on anyway but I would have loved her either way and would have been more comfortable if she were comfortable. 

 

I can't figure out why it's so hard to simply care about others and be kind. 

ITA. This pandemic has really shown people’s true colors and how selfish many people truly are. I’m also sad/mad.
 

We’ve pretty much lost most of our friends/acquaintances over the last year because we are higher risk and being cautious and not just living our lives as normal as most of them are. And they don’t even have the courtesy to try to do small things (like distance and/or mask or meet outdoors) to make the more cautious be able to participate in pretty much anything. I have no desire to have these people in my life anymore after things get more normal. They’ve shown they are selfish and don’t care about others, and I have no interest in having relationships with those types of people. I also can’t even contend with the conspiracy theory bs anymore either. I just ignored it in the past but now see just how harmful it is. Our church dissolved over this....the pastor and leadership expected to meet outdoors, distanced and masked and spoke against spreading conspiracy theories. There was a very large and influential group of anti-mask/anti-vax people that divided and eventually destroyed the church. It was really sad, and my teens lost their youth group and most of their friends. We have since found a better church and congregation that is taking Covid seriously and hope to actually go in person once we’re vaccinated.
 

We have two families that we’re still friends with, who are being even more cautious than I think necessary, wanting everyone masked even outdoors with 15+ feet between everyone. Now I don’t think the masks are necessary in that situation, but I love my friends, and if wearing a mask even outdoors with a lot of distance makes them more comfortable, I am more than happy to do so to be able to see them. And I would never say anything negative to them about it. It’s no big deal to me at all to wear the mask. 

Edited by HSmomof2
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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

The OP opened the thread in such a manner that I read her post as her harboring an intense, continuing, just below the surface anger at what seemed to be a rather generalized group of people.   That, to me seems to be unhealthy, and further can lead to blame and resentment of people who might seem to be part of said generalized group, but since the group is generalized and non specific, it can be hard to tell who the anger and blame is actually being directed at.  

The OP (and others in the thread) later clarified that in actuality the anger is more specific, being directed at specific people, usually people that they know it real life, and often for specific words said and/or actions taken.  To me, that sort of anger makes more sense, seems to me to be a healthier type of anger, and makes it much more clear who the blame and resentment are being directed at.  

Thank you. That actually helps explain what's going on. So people feel defensive because they feel like they are in the group of people that others are mad at, even though that's usually not the intent of the original poster? And unfortunately, they are more likely to feel defensive if something bad has happened to them during this pandemic, like having a loved one get COVID or getting COVID themselves, since they feel like there's a lot of animus towards people "spreading the disease." Am I understanding correctly? 

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2 hours ago, historically accurate said:

I went back and read this thread from the beginning this morning to see where it all went wrong. And I came to the same conclusion I did in my first post, it might not make sense to some people, and it might not be helpful to me or anyone else, but yeah, @Ordinary Shoes, I'm right here with you in the midst of the anger.

I think like Oh from the movie "Home", I'm sad-mad. I've been hurt, saddened, disappointed, and yes, angered by specific people and institutions in my life as well as that nebulous "they". I really can't change the way I feel about it. The feelings are still there no matter how much I try to tell myself otherwise. 

Masking in stores here is pretty high because there is a state mandate, but in private or smaller groups, if one person doesn't want to mask, then it's allowed, granted this is in my limited experience (since we gave up trying to find some social outlet after a while). That has meant that my kids have tried a few different things to get together with friends, and not a one of them has followed masking or social distancing protocols. Yeah, it makes me smad (sad-mad). My DD's one and only in-person TKD class actually had Master tell the kids to hug their partners despite their previous assurances to us that they "operate in compliance of every CDC recommendation". The youth group leader forgot to mention to me on the phone that fully masked and socially distanced didn't apply to small group time (which could have as many as 25 teens) - one of my DD's showed me the texts with pics from her friends of 12 kids piled on a couch maskless from the week before and tons of face to face selfies. 

But before I go and get smad again, here are some things we've done to work through our anger and sadness (note: I have snarky teens and one who does not always express anger appropriately, so these things are mostly things designed to get that anger out, not soothe it). The Historically Accurate Family had a spectacularly craptastic 2018 & 2019, so we rolled into the pandemic already beat down and emotional. Covid did nothing to alleviate that.

Over the past year, we have

  • gone outside into a storm and screamed obscenities into the wind.
  • wrote or drew our anger triggers on post-its, stuck them to the side of the house, and lobbed water balloons at them.
  • The punching bag has been very abused this past year.
  • taken a butter knife and stabbed an orange repeatedly just to watch it "bleed".
  • family dance parties to really loud 90s music - one DD has a "Covid sucks" playlist. And watching your 40ish yo Mom break out her best 90s mosh pit moves is enough to put anyone in a better mood!
  • done loads and loads of yoga - I actually made a really good friend through Zoom yoga that I can't wait to meet in person.
  • burned letters we wrote to Covid and people we were frustrated with.
  • DH procured obsolute, defunct computer pieces, we donned safety goggles/bicycle helmets/face shields/gloves, and beat them with a stick ala Office Space. He did this one shortly after I came home from a funeral where I had a disturbingly aggressive interaction with an unmasked mutual friend (well, I guess ex-friend now). 
  • Some of us see therapists.

As I said in my first post on this thread, I'm working on my anger, and most days I just go through my boring little socially distanced life, and then something will happen that will make that anger flare up, and I'm right back in the middle of that anger. 

 

"Smad" - I like it. 🙂 

I'll admit our transgressions. DD has had a couple of sleepovers with friends. No one wears masks. DD is homeschooled but the other girls attend school that requires masks and social distancing during the day. I'm sure there is little to no social distancing outside of school. These families are not COVID-deniers and I know they take it seriously but none of them have completely hibernated for the last 13 months. We allowed this because DD needs the social interaction. 

I've attended my book group a couple of times. No one wears masks and it's indoors. I've been "don't ask/don't tell" about COVID with this group but I'm guessing based on their religious affiliation that they don't take it seriously. I know this makes me a huge hypocrite. 

My parents visited us last week. They are fully vaccinated now but their traveling from somewhere else increased our risk. But I wanted to see my parents and my parents were desperate to see DD. We would not have done it it they had not been vaccinated. I think this is one of those gray areas. 

We've attended Mass in person. The church follows social distancing guidelines and requires masks but I'm sure there are risks associated with attending in person. 

I've also been thinking about how uncomfortable we are with female anger and how we're often told that we shouldn't be angry. Anger is an emotion and emotions are not good or bad. There is no moral association with emotions. There is morality in actions, not feelings. I think that's often misunderstood. 

I spent 15 years in a religious tradition (Eastern Orthodoxy) that teaches that we should overcome our "passions." I think that is often misunderstood, i.e. "become Orthodox and stop feeling." It's not that easy. The saints who overcame their "passions" (I'm being very simplistic here) did so after years of ascetic efforts. I also don't think it meant that they stopped feeling. 

I'm reminded of the concept of "cheap grace" from Deitrich Bonhoeffer. 

Quote

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

I copied the quote into the quote box and was struck by "forgiveness without requiring repentance" in the context of this discussion. People wanted "cheap grace." They wanted their Sacraments with no limits even though their being in church increased risks for others. 

I'm also struck by how I want "cheap grace" too and might be using my anger how others Christians behave to justify ignoring church discipline. 

Bonhoeffer is telling us that it's supposed to be hard. We have physical bodies that get old and get sick. We can't overcome the physical with spiritual. We have emotions and personalities. Some people are more difficult than others. I'm reminded of St. Therese in the convent with the grouchy nuns. 

Sorry...rambling. 

 

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I agree with you there. 

 

Yeah, I'm not really following the conversation. It seems to go something like this: 

 

Person 1: I'm mad at the people around me doing flagrantly dangerous stuff, like going to parties, screaming in people's faces, not wearing masks around high-risk people, claiming the virus is a hoax, etc. 

Person 2: I'm angry you're judging people. We can't control everything, so judging people is wrong. Lots of the rules haven't even made sense. 

 

Like, I don't understand how the response matches the original sentiment. And this is something like the 10th thread I've seen with this exchange, so I'm obviously missing something. Can someone please explain to me why people who are mad at the flagrant rule-breakers are making you uncomfortable? Does it feel like ANY judgment is wrong? 

I'm reminded of a discussion I had with our former priest when all of this began. I told him that I did not think that he would take proper precautions against COVID because he did not vaccinate and he minimized the risk from COVID in a sermon. He accused me of being judgmental. I responded by asking whether he allowed his children to be driven by someone who has driven drunk in the past or someone who does not buckle their seatbelts. 

(I was right, by the way, that he was never going to take proper precautions against COVID.)

I think this is like forgiveness. We have a flawed understanding of "judgment." What does "judgment" mean? If I make a risk assessment of a certain situation based on past behavior, is that "judgment?" Do we allow our kids to visit a known sex offender? Is that judgment or risk assessment? 

I think a better and more mature understanding of "judgment" is more complicated. 

And what I've written here about anger. Anger is not judgment but we conflate the two. If you're angry at someone, you're judging them. 

Whose interests are served by thinking of judgment in this way? The status quo? Those in power? Yes. 

We have to be better than this, deeper than this. 

I went to law school and I usually recommend against going to law school. The response to my advise is almost always something like, "I'm sorry you hated law school." That's not what I said. Many people can't see the difference. 

 

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3 hours ago, Bootsie said:

Personally, I think the added safety of wearing a mask is small.  Just like I think if someone decides to drink and drive that it is safer if they drive on a backroad than on a highway.  I think it is more important to not drink and drive.  I think it is more important not to get a haircut.   I think the risk reduction gained by not getting a haircut is of a much larger magnitude than the risk reduction of wearing a mask.  Why would I be angry at a person for not doing the thing that decreases risk by a very small amount and not angry at them for doing the thing that created the risk in the first place?

I've spent a LOT of time this year comparing statistics in school systems near me that require masks and in those that don't, and even in the absence of any other evidence, it's been more than enough to convince me that masks work, and that even whatever kind of masks the kids happen to show up in work a whole, WHOLE lot better than nothing. If you compare my school district (mask requirement but not following other guidelines re: distancing, etc) and the one just north of me (no mask requirement for students, small percentage wearing them) it's the difference between an incidence rate that is similar to or lower than the community as a whole in the county with the mask requirement and incidence rates 2-3x higher for students and 8-9x higher for faculty and staff in the county without. It's absolutely criminal that it's allowed to go on.

Do you have any evidence beyond your personal feelings that masks don't add much safety? I'd definitely be interested in hearing more like what I mention above--where people have compared similar situations with universal masking and without and given actual numbers.

Edited by kokotg
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4 hours ago, Bootsie said:

Personally, I think the added safety of wearing a mask is small.  Just like I think if someone decides to drink and drive that it is safer if they drive on a backroad than on a highway.  I think it is more important to not drink and drive.  I think it is more important not to get a haircut.   I think the risk reduction gained by not getting a haircut is of a much larger magnitude than the risk reduction of wearing a mask.  Why would I be angry at a person for not doing the thing that decreases risk by a very small amount and not angry at them for doing the thing that created the risk in the first place?

I agree that staying home is the safest mitigation effort. Which is why in some countries there were strict quarantine rules. But when states in the US tried that on a much less strict level there was even more upset and protesting than happened with masks. Even on this forum there were grumbling about the US becoming “communist China”. 
 

If I am at the grocery store I can’t ask people for their history of social interactions and whether they have been exposed to an invisible virus (if they even know). But I can see if they are wearing a mask. And I can see if they are keeping six feet away from me. These measures, as imperfect as they are, do seem to have helped my state to control (not eradicate) the virus. 

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I guess I've been taught that Jesus told us to forgive 70 x 7, pretty much an infinite amount of time. I've also been taught that forgiveness cannot be earned. You forgive someone for yourself, so that the bitterness and hatred do not eat you alive. Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting or with consequences. If a drunk driver killed my child, I would forgive him or her. I would not forget and I would fight for him to lose his license and to to jail. But I would not hate him. i would forgive him. For me, not for him. 

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1 hour ago, kokotg said:

I've spent a LOT of time this year comparing statistics in school systems near me that require masks and in those that don't, and even in the absence of any other evidence, it's been more than enough to convince me that masks work, and that even whatever kind of masks the kids happen to show up in work a whole, WHOLE lot better than nothing.

Quoting myself to come back and add actual numbers for last week from the two school systems. Obviously there are other variables that could be in play, but these are neighboring districts, with pretty similar levels of community transmission, both offering a choice of in person or virtual schooling, and the only substantial difference between their safety protocols is that one is requiring masks and one is not (neither is hybrid; neither is distancing students. Both are allowing indoor and outdoor sports, etc). District with no masks: 302/100,000 (for 7 days; community level is around 200/100,000 over 14 days) District with mask mandate: 71/100,000 That's putting staff and students all in one pot, since the district with masking doesn't break down numbers that way. If you look just at staff cases in the county with no masks, it's substantially worse. 

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2 minutes ago, kand said:

You could forgive them while still feeling angry at them. And forgiving wouldn’t mean you then needed to hang out with that drunk driver and be friends, or that you had to excuse drunk driving in general. 

I don't know about the anger part. I think forgiveness means letting go of the anger and giving it to God.  But no, I would not excuse the driver, nor be his friend probably.

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30 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The thing is, I don’t think the numbers actually indicate that many of the restrictions have provided much help in control.  A very large percentage of transmission is occurring in living situations vs in social interactions.   I mean we have *some* “superspreader” type of events but generally transmission is occurring greatest in living situations.  Family members passing it to each other, nursing homes, prisons, etc.  and then to a lesser extent, longer more closed in situations like workplaces where people are together, indoors, social distancing is difficult, and people are spending many hours per day/per week, together etc.  I think the numbers show that the bulk of the transmissions are occurring in these situations and not actually in the smaller, low exposure situations like grocery shopping, ball practices once a week, etc.
 

 

Another way to look at it is that transmission is taking place mostly in unmasked situations, like living together, socializing together, etc and not in places where masks have been mandated, like schools, etc. 

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5 hours ago, frogger said:

Has it ever occured to you that you are not the source of frustration?

Sure, but I've repeatedly had my words twisted to mean "I don't care if you die" or "Grandma is old and should just die."

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4 hours ago, frogger said:

True, especially if you happen to be living an entirely different experience than the other posters.

 

I do believe those who live in very conservative areas have had very different experiences than those living in very liberal areas. The judgements made on you by others are completely opposite. The staying home is snarked on as fear, etc even if you are doing it as a precaution for others sake. 

Every single thing mentioned by SKL and Bootsie as alternative ways of reducing risk would be snarked on as fear even if your main concern had nothing to do with you but spreading it.

Right, my experience is living in a swing state where we are used to everyone having different opinions and getting along with each other regardless.  It's been a real blessing.

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21 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

 

 

Therefore, no, I just can't look at it that way.  The primary risk in these situations is the length and intensity (closeness) of the exposure, not the lack of the mask.  

Did you see my data on school districts near me? I haven't published any papers, of course, but comparing data in those kinds of situations--close, extended, indoor contact both with and without masks--seems to me like what we should be looking at to see how much masks mitigate risk. Of course, it would be completely unethical to actually set about to conduct such an experiment and tell people NOT to mask, but there happen to be a lot of school systems near me that are being unethical all on their own, and publishing their data so all the world can see how dangerous what they're doing is.

ETA: all data I've seen suggests that even in schools taking all precautions staff numbers are at least somewhat higher than in the surrounding communities, which suggests, as you've said, that masking won't prevent all cases (at least not under real world conditions)....but from looking at the numbers near me it seems to prevent an awful lot of cases.

Edited by kokotg
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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

 

 

I have literally actually said that sort of thing since Feb. 2020.  Anyone interested could go search through my post history from the time period of the beginning of the pandemic to see that I have long said that I want *exactly* that information.  

 

 

I wasn't trying to suggest you hadn't! Just literally saying that I've done math on real world situations about how much universal masking mitigates risk. I don't do math for just ANYTHING, so I like to tell everyone when I bother to do it 😉

Edited by kokotg
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1 minute ago, happysmileylady said:

One thing I read, current to today's pandemic vs based on 1918....mask mandates vs not, were only showing about a 5% reduction in cases.  The problem was that didn't control for OTHER mitigation measures such as reduced attendance/cancellation of events.  So I have such a hard time putting stock in data that doesn't control for the very large factor of how much people are around other people.

 

I wish I knew where to find a link to the source, but it was a few weeks ago and things have....obvously...been rather cray cray in my home.  

There were mask mandates in 1918...and anti mask rallies, too. But I think comparing covid to any flu doesn't really work, because it spreads so much differently. See: how low flu numbers are this year. If this were a flu, the precautions we're taking would likely be working very well. 

 

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

One thing I read, current to today's pandemic vs based on 1918....mask mandates vs not, were only showing about a 5% reduction in cases.  The problem was that didn't control for OTHER mitigation measures such as reduced attendance/cancellation of events.  So I have such a hard time putting stock in data that doesn't control for the very large factor of how much people are around other people.

 

I wish I knew where to find a link to the source, but it was a few weeks ago and things have....obvously...been rather cray cray in my home.  

I think at some point, we can look at how many droplets are expelled with a mask, vs without, and go from there and say yup, that helps. Not perfect, and better to minimize time with others, as you said. I think that was part of the health guidelines from the start, but for various reasons got left behind in most discussions. Limit crowds, limit time in enclosed spaces, keep your distance...those were all listed on my state health department's website. But that's a hard thing to actually push when people are still having to work, schools are open, etc. And with trying to push getting the economy moving as fast as possible it is easier to say "do what you want and mask up" than "limit your time in indoor spaces, exposure to large gatherings, etc". Cause um, that would mean most workplaces, classrooms, stores, etc....and so that message was sort of whispered rather than shouted. I do think that was a mistake. 

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Just now, happysmileylady said:

Right, what I meant was that the date on what I had read (again...regrets I don't have the link, I will see if I can find it later) is current, rather than retrospective.)  It was based on counties in current times, is mandates, vs counties in current times, without.  

Looking at mandates vs. not is interesting, but how much you can learn from it is limited because compliance doesn't necessarily follow where the mandates are. I was at an Alabama walmart just today, in fact, for my husband's covid vaccine. Alabama currently has a mask mandate, but you certainly wouldn't know it based on the clientele at the rural walmart. A much higher percentage of people mask in stores near me, in a suburban area of a state that's NEVER had a mask mandate. So I like the more granular data I can get from some place like schools, because, while there certainly CAN be compliance issues, teachers and administrators have a lot more authority to enforce mandates than, say, the checker at walmart. A mask mandate with no enforcement isn't really a mandate. I'm not in every classroom, but I know that in my husband's classroom, at least, there is zero tolerance for noses or for not wearing masks.

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38 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

But I was asking about any activity - be it buying groceries or a doctor's appointment or whatever. 

Saying that staying home is the best prevention makes total sense. And I'm okay if you are upset with those of us that left the house for what were not life and death emergencies. 

But that doesn't answer my question as to if people who DO leave the house, for either more or less important reasons, should mask

You seem to be implying that if one leaves the house, it's all over so don't even bother to mask? But maybe I'm missing something. 

I did not see the bolded question previously.  I saw a question about whether I thought it reduced risk (which I answered that I thought the risk reduction was small).  I also stated that I do not agree with the claim that masks are one of the most important precaustions.

If I go into a building, I wear a mask.  I am not personally upset or angry if someone else chooses not to.  I will not write them off.  I will not say that they are selfish and that they think some people are expendable.  I think that the chance that someone else is presymptomotic or asymptomatic, contagious, and that I will get COVID passing them in a store is small.  I think that the amount by which that risk is reduced if they are wearing a mask is extremely small--so small that I don't worry about it.  Personally, I will not go so far as to tell other peope that they should wear a mask.  

I can see how someone who is reasonably knowledgeable about the issue and has a reasonable understanding of probabilities would come to a different conclusion that I do about wearing a mask.  Not because they have ill intentions, are selfish, don't care, or a willfully uninformed.  I find it easy to see my own estimate of risk and comfort as the correct level and the choices I make as reasonable.  I also know that as humans we can become extremely illogical in our perception of risk and our reaction to risk. I intentionally remind myself that other people may think that my decisions are as unreasonable as I think their decisions are.  

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

 

  I think that the chance that someone else is presymptomotic or asymptomatic, contagious, and that I will get COVID passing them in a store is small.  I think that the amount by which that risk is reduced if they are wearing a mask is extremely small--so small that I don't worry about it. 

 

The risk to you is, I agree, quite small. The risk to the people working in the store all day is quite high. I would still be interested in any evidence you have that wearing masks does not reduce risk significantly; everything I've seen has said the opposite.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

One thing I read, current to today's pandemic vs based on 1918....mask mandates vs not, were only showing about a 5% reduction in cases.  The problem was that didn't control for OTHER mitigation measures such as reduced attendance/cancellation of events.  So I have such a hard time putting stock in data that doesn't control for the very large factor of how much people are around other people.

 

I wish I knew where to find a link to the source, but it was a few weeks ago and things have....obvously...been rather cray cray in my home.  

A history podcast that I listened to talk about the mask from 1918 and talked about how they were very thin and gauzy.  You could see mouths through many of them from the side. So it's no surprise that they didn't work well for them.

The first picture in this link shows masks with huge gaps in the side.  if you scroll down several pictures you can see a woman wearing a mask and you can see her smiling in the profile.  Like see her lips.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/nyregion/spanish-flu-nyc-virus.html  

 

Not having research on masks a YEAR into this is one thing that really makes me mad.  Seriously.  We didn't know last March.  But how hard is it to do some decent studies in a year!! 

I bought masks on Amazon a few weeks ago that were FDA approved under an Emergency Use Authorization.  I had NO IDEA until I went shopping for them that any masks had been approved under an EUA.  Why was that not shouted from roof tops? 

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58 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

However, some of what you have said comes really close to saying.....(generally, don't take my quotes to mean exact quotes lol) "we know we have to have people in close contact situations so that we don't prevent entire economic collapse, so we will push masking because it will make people feel safe enough to work, even though we don't have a lot of data to back up masking in a large number of situations."

I think we have decent evidence that masking is better than not masking. If you don't think that we have that evidence, I'd probably want you to think about what kind of evidence would convince you of that, if the current levels of evidence aren't enough.

As for whether masking is enough when people are in close proximity for hours a day... well, again, I would guess that it keeps the numbers down but is much worse than not having people there at all. I've been basically unwilling to set foot in indoor spaces for the whole pandemic for a reason (and I'll note I was pretty comfortable not masking outside until Massachusetts made it required here, and now I do it to comply and not because I think it's useful.) But then that's something we've more or less known the entire pandemic. I don't think our messaging has been clear enough about indoor spaces versus outdoor spaces, frankly, and about the fact that the virus is airborne, and about the fact that you'll need a REALLY GOOD mask if you're going be indoors, and that you should probably never take it off indoor at all. 

All of this messaging has been off and has been lax. And we haven't spent enough time worrying about air filtration and we've spent too much time worrying about surfaces. And I can see that people have been absorbing the information in an unhelpful way -- learning things like "6 feet" by rote, without thinking about where that rule comes from and when you would need to modify it. (6 feet is probably too much for a brief interaction outside, and is far too little for a longterm interaction indoors.) 

But again, I don't know that this has any bearing on this thread, because the people who everyone is talking about aren't even willing to do the minimal stuff, so I doubt better messaging would have helped there. And yes, I think it's reasonable to feel like you'll take this behavior into account after the pandemic, just like you take all other behavior into account... 

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2 hours ago, ktgrok said:

Another way to look at it is that transmission is taking place mostly in unmasked situations, like living together, socializing together, etc and not in places where masks have been mandated, like schools, etc. 

But I cannot draw any conclusion about masks from that.  Transmission is taking place mostly in buildings with bathtubs.  Transmission is taking place mostly in places where people go barefoot.  Transmission is taking place mostly in places where people sleep.  Correlation and causation are different.  

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1 minute ago, Bootsie said:

But I cannot draw any conclusion about masks from that.  Transmission is taking place mostly in buildings with bathtubs.  Transmission is taking place mostly in places where people go barefoot.  Transmission is taking place mostly in places where people sleep.  Correlation and causation are different.  

I'm going to echo Not_a_number and ask you what kind of evidence WOULD convince you that masking significantly reduces transmission? 

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50 minutes ago, kokotg said:

The risk to you is, I agree, quite small. The risk to the people working in the store all day is quite high. I would still be interested in any evidence you have that wearing masks does not reduce risk significantly; everything I've seen has said the opposite.

Mask Facts - AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org)

Here is a summary of a lot of what we do and don't know about masks.  

Perhaps the difference is in how we define significantly.  If people who know they are ill are not out and about, so we are disucssing only presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and non-infected peopled out and about.  What do you think the probability is that someone falls into one of the first two categories?  What is the probability if they do that they will infect another person?  How much is that probability reduced if the person wears a mask?  

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2 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

Mask Facts - AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org)

Here is a summary of a lot of what we do and don't know about masks.  

Perhaps the difference is in how we define significantly.  If people who know they are ill are not out and about, so we are disucssing only presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and non-infected peopled out and about.  What do you think the probability is that someone falls into one of the first two categories?  What is the probability if they do that they will infect another person?  How much is that probability reduced if the person wears a mask?  

Perhaps it's a difference in what we consider a reliable or unbiased source? 

Quote

AAPS is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative, and its positions are unorthodox and at wide variance with federal health policy.

 

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1 minute ago, kokotg said:

Perhaps it's a difference in what we consider a reliable or unbiased source? 

 

I am not an expert on AAPS, but I would assume that these are educated people.  And, the many studies that they list come from a variety of sources.  This seems to point to me that there is a range of opinion among well-meaning, intelligent, educated people.  

Do you a reliable and unbiased source I should look at?

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7 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

Mask Facts - AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org)

Here is a summary of a lot of what we do and don't know about masks.  

Perhaps the difference is in how we define significantly.  If people who know they are ill are not out and about, so we are disucssing only presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and non-infected peopled out and about.  What do you think the probability is that someone falls into one of the first two categories?  What is the probability if they do that they will infect another person?  How much is that probability reduced if the person wears a mask?  

Here's another roundup of masking evidence; it reaches a different conclusion: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

I also gave you actual numbers from two school districts near me. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the wildly different incidence rates in the two school districts if it's not masking. 

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Just now, kokotg said:

Here's another roundup of masking evidence; it reaches a different conclusion: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

I also gave you actual numbers from two school districts near me. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the wildly different incidence rates in the two school districts if it's not masking. 

It could be lots of things, to be fair, although I think there are actually a lot of similar studies out there that suggest masks help.

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9 minutes ago, kokotg said:

I'm going to echo Not_a_number and ask you what kind of evidence WOULD convince you that masking significantly reduces transmission? 

The standard of what convinces me that it is the prudent thing for me to do is different than the standard I use to conclude that I am correct and other people are wrong.  At this point I do think the margin of error in all of the studies is large enough that the possiblity that masks do not statstically significantly reduce transmission is possible.  I have not seen a well-done study that shows otherwise.  I will be happy to look at any study that does.  

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8 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Or perhaps mask standards.  There are approx eleven thousand, eight hundred and seventy two different types of masks out there (yes, that's an exaggerated made up number.)  Single layer, double layer triple layer filter no filter gaiter, fleece gaiter, bandanas etc etc etc.    It's dang near impossible to gather meaningful data with so many variables.  

There was a news bit that came out sometime ago that claimed gaiters were worse than no mask at all.  Turns out, that "study" that the news bit was based on was never a study on mask effectiveness at all, but rather at study on the tech used to TEST masks and any of the data collected was simply an artifact and should be tested on it's own before being used as actual data.

 

And later, turns out, gaiters are actually just as effective when made correctly.  Though, Disney still doesn't allow guests to use gaiters as their masks.

Are 'Neck Gaiters' Worse at COVID-19 Transmission Than Foregoing Masks Altogether? | Snopes.com

 

How Those Bogus Reports on 'Ineffective' Neck Gaiters Got Started - Scientific American

 

Study finds neck gaiters can reduce droplet spread | UGA FACS

 

The type of mask being worn is going to be really important in terms of how much mitigation it actually provides, but none of the mandates have any sort of standards on that, and even places that do have standards, they have standards based on faulty data in a news blurb, not actual good info.

 

 

Ironically, I don't see a lot of difference in what a large number of people are using to meet the letter of the law today......

I agree.  The loose bandanas that just tie at the top annoy me so much. 

Mask standards and labels!  Is that too much to ask,a whole year into this?

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6 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

Mask Facts - AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org)

Here is a summary of a lot of what we do and don't know about masks.  

Perhaps the difference is in how we define significantly.  If people who know they are ill are not out and about, so we are disucssing only presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and non-infected peopled out and about.  What do you think the probability is that someone falls into one of the first two categories?  What is the probability if they do that they will infect another person?  How much is that probability reduced if the person wears a mask?  

I don't think that's strictly true, though.  Some, maybe even many, people with mild symptoms are definitely out and about, having justified their behaviour by explaining that their mild symptoms are "just a cold" or "allergies", and deny that their new-to-them but mild symptoms could be covid.   Staying home for mild symptoms can be extremely inconvenient, so people find reasons why the rules should not apply to them.

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

It could be lots of things, to be fair, although I think there are actually a lot of similar studies out there that suggest masks help.

But what? I mean, obviously the only way you could truly test it would be something like having one classroom wear masks and another not in the same school. And clearly that's not going to happen and shouldn't. So it's far from perfect, but it's such a large difference (and not just the week I looked at, but every week since fall that I've looked at, which is lots of them) that I can't think of another explanation that makes sense. Honest question--what other reasonable explanations are there? And what would be a better way to tell how effective universal masking is than something like this (again--honest questions! This is not my area of expertise, but it's something I've been very interested in for personal reasons).

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1 minute ago, kokotg said:

But what? I mean, obviously the only way you could truly test it would be something like having one classroom wear masks and another not in the same school. And clearly that's not going to happen and shouldn't. So it's far from perfect, but it's such a large difference (and not just the week I looked at, but every week since fall that I've looked at, which is lots of them) that I can't think of another explanation that makes sense. Honest question--what other reasonable explanations are there? And what would be a better way to tell how effective universal masking is than something like this (again--honest questions! This is not my area of expertise, but it's something I've been very interested in for personal reasons).

Oh, gosh, there can be so many reasons for differences. Are there other behavioral differences between the districts? Do people in one district have different politics? Do they live in more cramped quarters? Do they have the same racial/class profile? (If you answered these already, ignore me! I’ve definitely skimmed a bit.)

You can’t really randomize stuff like this, so you tend to look for natural experiments — like, say, two places that are doing very similarly and otherwise very similar in composition, and one passes a mandate while the other does not. The question of how to test this stuff is genuinely interesting.

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3 minutes ago, wathe said:

I don't think that's strictly true, though.  Some, maybe even many, people with mild symptoms are definitely out and about, having justified their behaviour by explaining that their mild symptoms are "just a cold" or "allergies", and deny that their new-to-them but mild symptoms could be covid.   Staying home for mild symptoms can be extremely inconvenient, so people find reasons why the rules should not apply to them.

And some people know they have COVID but don't care. 

https://www.allure.com/story/nail-client-exposes-manicurist-to-covid-19-virus-washington

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Well, for starters I haven't seen anyone do an actual test of actual different types of masks.  The closest thing I have seen was the Duke study but turns out, that wasn't even a study on types of masks.

I've seen more than one test in terms of how well they contain particles, actually, I think. It's been a while since I looked, so I'd be curious if you have restrictions on how you want that to be designed. Would it be OK if they tested in lab conditions? Does it have to be a real human coughing into one? What would you like to be measured? 

 

3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Second, I want data, really, that tells me just how much actual risk the actual mask mitigates, in various scenarios.  So, pick various scenarios like....indoor workplace, 40 hr work week, indoor school 30hrs with kids in attendance, grocery store shoppers, 1.5 hrs of church attendace per week, ball practice, etc etc...those sorts of varied scenarios.  Look at the masks people use in those various situations, compile the data and tell me how much risk masking in general.....or even specific masks....actually mitigated for some of the most popular social interactions.

I haven't seen a single study that attempts to look at those sorts of things.  And I feel like while on the one hand, drilling down to such specifics is a big ask....on the other hand, we are living in a world where a pre-model version of star trek replicators exists, people are working on launching *STARSHIPS* into space, and we have created vaccines at literal actual sci fi speed....like 6 months from appearance of new disease to shots in arms.  With all that in mind, I just don't understand how we DON'T have more clear and controlled data on real world masking issues.   

Unfortunately, real-world statistical gathering is a LOT messier and harder to calculate than feats of engineering. There's a lot less control there. So that's why you don't get data that drills down like that -- people genuinely do not know, and the number of variables is so mammoth it's very hard to find signal in the noise. 

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14 minutes ago, Cnew02 said:

I agree.  The loose bandanas that just tie at the top annoy me so much. 

Mask standards and labels!  Is that too much to ask,a whole year into this?

Right. 

There are mask standards, though.  For medical and surgical masks, and for respirators.  Which we probably should all be wearing!

There aren't any standards for non-medical masks, because that's the whole definition of the category:  non-medical = no standards.  They're all sold with some version of the disclaimer that the item should not be used to prevent disease or infection, like this one from Happy Masks:" *Disclaimer: Happy Masks are not devices intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and do not meet the definition of a medical device as set forth in section 201(h) of the FD&C Act. "  Italics mine.

Non-medical masks are/were recommended because there aren't enough medical masks/respirators to go around.  And because mass-masking, even with non-medical masks, works*, and anything to catch droplets is better than nothing.

Once the medical mask supply is sufficient, we should all be in medical masks.

*ETA works = works on a population level to reduce transmission.

 

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1 minute ago, wathe said:

There aren't any standards for non-medical masks, because that's the whole definition of the category:  non-medical = no standards.  They're all sold with some version of the disclaimer that the item should not be used to prevent disease or infection, like this one from Happy Masks:" *Disclaimer: Happy Masks are not devices intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and do not meet the definition of a medical device as set forth in section 201(h) of the FD&C Act. "  Italics mine.

I like my Happy Mask, though 😛. I agree that it's not tested, but having weighed my alternatives, and given that I'm not going to tape my surgical mask to my face, it has been a good option. 

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8 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oh, gosh, there can be so many reasons for differences. Are there other behavioral differences between the districts? Do people in one district have different politics? Do they live in more cramped quarters? Do they have the same racial/class profile? (If you answered these already, ignore me! I’ve definitely skimmed a bit.)

You can’t really randomize stuff like this, so you tend to look for natural experiments — like, say, two places that are doing very similarly and otherwise very similar in composition, and one passes a mandate while the other does not. The question of how to test this stuff is genuinely interesting.

That's why I look at these two districts in particular....they border each other and have a lot of similarities. But they also have a lot of differences, which I think is probably very difficult to avoid because school systems that have mask mandates are inevitably going to have differences from school systems that don't. A way to deal with that would be to look at specific schools in each district that DO match demographically, although that would give a much smaller data set. I did think that having similar overall community transmission rates was pretty important, and they have that. And I think taking similar precautions (or in this case, NOT taking them) aside from mask mandates is also important, so I tried to control for that. It's all making me wish I'd taken more statistics in college. I would definitely like to see nationwide data on schools and assorted precautions. Emily Oster used to be collecting it, but I think she had so few schools WITHOUT mask mandates that it was of limited usefulness. I'm not sure her database even includes that anymore. When it did, the data was also very striking and pretty similar to what I see locally. But, again, her database is very New York heavy, so while it pretends to collect nationwide data, it's really only useful to look at schools that are being very cautious.

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