why masks are like condoms (or even sunglasses) on steroids


i’m deeply bothered by the ignorance i see around the mask topic.

so i search the web for different word combinations of “mask covid inefficient science proof countries” and try to find a good article.

first one seem to be from a reliable source, and wants to prove wearing masks is good, no matter what and then its main reasoning comes from this study which doesn’t even say that masks really work or anything, really.


then the next one comes from a nice college…

same bullshit.

in fact, no article i’ve found mentions washing masks and mask hygiene… perhaps they’re assuming everyone knows the proper way to wear a mask. we don’t. not even in asian countries. and i know this because, unlike condoms and sunglasses, masks are terribly hard to use effectively. no article mention that, but the ones trying to defend the usage are the main ones that should mention it!

why am i even trying to find a good article?

wait a moment…

not so surprisingly (given it was from wired), but still i was surprised (that it was from wired), to find out in my 3rd attempt!

kudos to wired! also, this is not really telling us we should wear or not a mask. more kudos!

although it suggests that we should wear it (and i actually agree the policy should be calling people to do so, while i disagree it should be mandatory), it also doesn’t give a final word of wisdom because the actual science on it is still inconclusive by all means! just go ahead and compare those articles and their sources.

that’s good, right?

no wonder why the world is filled with so much confusion. it’s actually very hard to see the difference between a good source/article and a bad one.

but it’s here.

and you can see it by yourself if you stop for long enough to think it through. want to know a bit more about masks and life in general? take your time. stay curious!

back to the bad

then i moved on to the 4th one

back to the same bullshit from the first 2!

they all say it differently, but they all also cherry pick studies and situations which favour their previously conceived expectations: that masks are intrinsically good, or something.

for sure we can get a sense of safety because then we’re doing something, and it’s simple, and it’s obvious by the 2 minutes mechanics how it works: big water droplets will be retained by the mask and won’t reach the lungs from other people… if we’re lucky, even small particles from other people will stay on our mask too! very logical.

did you know you can wear a condom wrongly and its virtual 98% efficiency will turn into zero? what’s more, because you think your protected, you won’t do other measures to add up the protection. moral licensing at its best.

exact same thing for sunglasses and sunscreen.

now, where’s the “on steroids” part? you may ask…

it’s on the sense of protection and the chances of effectiveness.

look at the articles. actually, look also at the worst kind, my 5th and last one for today. this piece of complete garbage. they mention a study that defend their preconceived expectation and, at very least (and to their merit) soon later they publish how their base study was retracted because it was plain wrong!!


you’ll see different numbers for mask efectiveness all over the place. from 0 to 80%, they never come closer to n95, 95% which, even then, only works if you can keep it clean and tight (hint: you can’t. nobody can.)

still, the vast majority of mask promoters and wearer lovers think they’re protected. near the 98% protection from the condoms even. why? because nobody knows the difference between 99%, 98%, 80% and 51%. if we tell ourselves “this is better than nothing” we are basically telling us “i’m doing something. something good. i’m at least a little more protected. thanks to my good will.” unconsciously. yes, you too.

but the mask doesn’t offer so much effectiveness. it still may even not be effective, in a population scale.

we want to believe so hard there’s always a simple solution to things… wear a mask. done.

here’s the exception: CDC, linked in wired, does give instructions to wash masks that nobody follows and nobody will follow. nobody wash their hands for 20 seconds ago the time too.

my whole point here is just one: we need better informed people. and we do need to take all precautions, even wearing masks or a eye patch if there’s a chance it’ll be effective. but it doesn’t mean it’ll work. and we also need to have our liberties.

enough about the technicalities, though…

here’s the kicker

vaccines will be absolutely mandatory. physical distance is by far the best method, and only one capable of resetting the pandemic effect, when it gets out of hand.

except for the naive mask recommendations, i can’t recommend enough for you to spend at least 1h and dig into ncase (nick)’s unique article. also, the best graphs i’ve found to keep track are, by far: aatish’s (first) and johns hopkins.

this covid-19 will be contained. but it’s just a very small hint on how terrible the system is set. it’s set for disaster. to fail miserably. and many more will both live terribly and die because of this.

there can’t be life without death. and death is forbidden in our current system. it’s even a taboo.

so are pain and bad things.

we don’t need this system.

there’s a better way, to live with acceptance of life. and death. and suffering. and enjoy it all so much more! be really alive.

i call it ahoxus. and you might not believe it, but i don’t need you to believe in. take your time. see it for yourself. this isn’t for everyone. most people will sadly die much before they can get here. others will simply walk around and genuinely enjoy life without living this.

but if you’re also even slightly bothered by how reliant you’ve grow to be with sunglasses, do take a deep breath and keep digging!

plus, wear seatbelts. those are virtually always good. and do it wrong as well. life will go on.

chances to get sick or die

  • searched for variations of “chances covid getting odds skeptic shark attack” on the past week

  • found 4 interesting articles

  • sadly, the first one would have been ideal, if not for being so outdated (from february) and, as usual, so focused only in the usa. they state chances of dying from botulism there (145 per year) vs slipping and falling (19,500 deaths per year).

granted, covid19 can’t be measured per year and chances will vary wildly, but keep on reading…

  • the second one is close to useless, as it happens with most infographics… but it’s still an interesting approach: risk only really begins when you spend at least 10 minutes in proximity (less than 1 or 2 meters away) with someone who’s positive. but still, how much is our risk today?

  • this article from june brings 2 good data points about it: “The study found a 50-to-64-year-old person who has a single random contact has, on average, a 1 in 852,000 chance of being hospitalized or a 1 in 19.1 million chance of dying based on rates as of the last week of May.” but… “critics say the study oversimplified answers to one of COVID-19’s most vexing questions”. fair enough…

  • finally, from 2 days ago, we found this excellent piece: “More than 19 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally, and at least 722,000 have died.”

there. keep in mind the trends are going down and that they’ve been worse before. but, as it is, 800k deaths in roughly 6 months of corona can be extrapolated for a worst case scenario of 1.6 million this year. but since all graphs point to a downward curve, we’re probably past half of the crisis. more likely the amount of deaths for the next 6 months will be less than 700k. not quite a 1 in 19 million chance, but still 1 in 10,000, if my math still serves me right.

so what are the chances of getting covid19 without direct contact for 10 minutes with someone positive? exponentially lower.

my point here is just that even during the crisis, the real chances of getting sick from covid, given we keep a safe distance, were significantly smaller than the media and the government would like is to believe, because if most people believe the chances are so small, they won’t keep the crucial safe distance.

and the only thing masks are really good for, other than generating a political debate, is reminding us to keep distance.