I have enjoyed your column over the years. I know we both love our communities and are concerned about the health of all people living in them. I do, however, have a concern over your consistent characterization of bar-hopping adults and other people who don't/can’t wear masks as being fools, not caring, and not working in epidemiology.
Friday night with mask enforcement - a million excuses, 51 tickets
I would be grateful for you to consider some of my information related to people and masks.
As a Charleston County resident and mom of two school-aged children who attend public school in CCSD, the first question I asked myself when we learned that masks would be required at their schools is, "Are masks safe for children to wear all day?" I haven't found any research concluding masks are safe. Interestingly, the school nurse, CCSD, and the SC Department of Education also haven’t found any. If you have found some, I would love to see it.
The next question I asked myself on behalf of my children is, "Are masks effective at reducing the spread of COVID19?" My research has turned up a variety of answers including a recent and resounding no, masks do not statistically reduce the incidence of infection in any setting.
A landmark study published in November 2020, the first randomized controlled trial of more than 6,000 individuals to assess the effectiveness of surgical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection, found that masks did not statistically reduce the incidence of infection.
Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers: A Randomized Controlled Trial: Annals of Internal Medicine: Vol 0, No 0
These are great questions but what is even more important is my children's experience. While wearing masks at school, my daughter experiences headaches and light-headedness. Recess is the worst because she can’t get enough oxygen through the mask when she’s running around. My son finds the environment of plexiglass, masks, social distancing, and being on a computer all day so uncomfortable he is now exercising his right to switch back to on-line school.
The only reason my daughter wears a mask at school is because she is afraid she will get in trouble if she doesn’t. She doesn’t think masks protect her or others and the research is increasingly lining up with what she intuitively knows. Wearing a mask out of fear is not a good enough reason to wear a mask. What psychological damage is created in a child when an adult asks them to comply with something they know is bad for them?
This is the most pervasive cost of mask mandates that I don't hear acknowledged in your columns. People know, whether they are drunk adults or school children, that masks are not safe and don’t work. The millions of excuses you heard from people during your mask enforcement excursion with the city of Charleston all boil down to the same message, “Stop gaslighting me.”
On another and related note; I submitted the following letter to the editor on February 13. On February 17, I received a call from Angie Blackburn stating I would have to somehow change the study I cited in order to be published. She declared it was not relevant because it doesn’t address source control. I withdrew my letter from consideration of being published because I was not willing to change a thing.
It would be nice to understand how the study I provided (the landmark one above) does not support the letter I wrote. In any event, it is an opinion page and the paper could have noted they didn’t agree with my opinion and still published it.
The Post and Courier has published 5 letters written by me. Not once have I been asked to change my opinion in order to be published. Is this a new operating procedure for all opinions, or just the ones related to masks?
On February 1st, my daughter’s school sent an email saying,
“Please note that at least one of our recent positive families contracted the virus while they were wearing masks. This is a reminder to us all to be vigilant regarding all precautions including quality masks (even doubling up is currently being recommended) and cleaning surfaces, good ventilation, and hand washing.”
The possibility that masks are ineffective hasn’t occurred to or been considered by our school nurse. Perhaps she hasn’t seen the randomized, controlled trial study of more than 6,000 humans to assess the effectiveness of surgical masks relative to COVID published in November 2020. It concludes that masks do not statistically reduce the incidence of infection. Could this be why families and people everywhere continue to contract the virus while wearing masks?
Without addressing the safety or citing a source, our school nurse suggests doubling up on masks is recommended. On February 10th, the Post and Courier ran a story about how the CDC is now stating two masks may be better than one, citing a research study by two U.S. government researchers.
I read the study. It was not a randomized, controlled study of more than 6,000 humans; it was a study with 2 dummies. Go ahead dummies, double-up! Humans need to breathe in order to live, it’s called "Breath of God" for a reason.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Concerned Mom + Activist