8 votes

The tyranny of the mask?

15 comments

  1. [2]
    Saigot
    (edited )
    Link
    Seems ridiculous to make an antimask argument when just about everywhere has laws requiring one's genitals to be covered (and in some places even more needs covering). Those laws are much more...

    Seems ridiculous to make an antimask argument when just about everywhere has laws requiring one's genitals to be covered (and in some places even more needs covering). Those laws are much more restrictive, much more severely punished, with much less clear cut benefits to society and are designed to be permanent. If someone really thinks that measures like these are morally wrong why not go after the one that will still be in effect in a year or two's time?

    21 votes
  2. [11]
    mnj
    Link
    I find it kinda sad that the points in this essay are necessary, meaning something people who want to fight against the tyranny argument can take and use. I'm fortunate enough to be in a bubble...

    I find it kinda sad that the points in this essay are necessary, meaning something people who want to fight against the tyranny argument can take and use. I'm fortunate enough to be in a bubble where I don't know anyone who is making an anti-mask point, even among differing general political perspectives. Wish there was a more direct way to depoliticize the whole thing, to directly combat Trump's statements in a bipartisan way.

    7 votes
    1. [9]
      DanBC
      Link Parent
      The problem in the US is that masks are being mandated in order to open up after lockdown. People are being forced to wear masks because politicians want shops and bars and etc to re-open. Since...

      I don't know anyone who is making an anti-mask point,

      The problem in the US is that masks are being mandated in order to open up after lockdown. People are being forced to wear masks because politicians want shops and bars and etc to re-open.

      Since there's no evidence[1] that masks work to prevent the spread of covid, and plenty of evidence that social distancing does work to prevent the spread of covid, it feels like the US is doing the wrong thing by dropping social distancing measures in favour of masks.

      [1] if you want to argue against this point I'd like to see either a meta-analysis or RCT that shows benefits of mask wearing to prevent spread of respiratory illness.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        There seems to be mountains of evidence that masks are effective. What evidence is there that they're not? The articles I'm finding that are trying to make the point that they're not effective...

        There seems to be mountains of evidence that masks are effective. What evidence is there that they're not? The articles I'm finding that are trying to make the point that they're not effective seem to be simply saying there haven't been enough formal studies to prove it yet, rather than suggesting that studies disprove it.

        For a developing emergency, it seems reasonable to start going down the path indicated by the early anecdata, particularly since the major downside to this path (if it turns out to be ineffective) is we looked silly and got acne.

        I say all this as someone who really hates wearing the masks.

        17 votes
        1. [3]
          DanBC
          Link Parent
          Where is this evidence please?

          There seems to be mountains of evidence that masks are effective.

          Where is this evidence please?

          1. [2]
            wycy
            Link Parent
            Austria Has 90% Drop in Coronavirus Cases After Requiring People to Wear Face Masks Masked hair stylists with actively symptomatic COVID-19 see 140 masked clients, no new infections result
            4 votes
            1. DanBC
              Link Parent
              In healthcare evidence is ranked. At the top there are well run meta analysis. Then there are well run RCTs. Below those the evidence becomes too weak to make recommendations. People start saying...

              In healthcare evidence is ranked. At the top there are well run meta analysis. Then there are well run RCTs.

              Below those the evidence becomes too weak to make recommendations. People start saying "this might be an effect", or "this may help", but they always follow that with "but we need more, and better, evidence".

              Both of those links are interesting, but they're not "mountains of evidence that masks are effective". They're anecdotes that we need to do more research on masks to see if they are effective or not.

              The hair salon post:

              Of the 140 clients and seven co-workers potentially exposed, 46 took tests that came back negative. All the others were quarantined for the duration of the coronavirus incubation period. The 14-day incubation period has now passed with no coronavirus cases linked to the salon beyond the two stylists, county health officials said.

              they used a test that tends to give false negatives; no details are given about the timing of the test (which can change the false negative rates)

              they asked the people who were not tested if those people had symptoms but (as the article says) about a third of people who have covid-19 do not have symptoms. (And we don't know what symptoms they were asking about -- sometimes they don't ask about anosmia).

              We don't know that there were no covid-19 infections linked to these hair dressers. All we know is no-one had a symptomatic case.

              This month, a study published in the Lancet medical journal found people should stay six feet apart and wear face coverings. It said the chance of transmission without a face mask was 17.4%, while that fell to 3.1% when a mask was worn. The World Health Organization has urged nations to encourage the general public to wear fabric masks in areas where coronavirus is spreading.

              They've missed out some bits here. The Lancet says that this is a low certainty result. In GRADE "low certainty" means "the effect may change completely when we get better evidence". It's important not to make strong recommendations when the evidence is weak. WHO talks about that here: https://www.who.int/publications/guidelines/Chp14_May2016.pdf?ua=1

              The link about Austria is a bit confusing. My biggest problem with it is that it makes no attempt to disentangle mask wearing from all the other measures countries put in place such as excellent track and trace or social distancing or self isolation or hand washing or etc etc. It's somewhat frustrating that they don't link to any actual research.

      2. [4]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        Here are two recent studies, but there's plenty of other evidence: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a...

        Here are two recent studies, but there's plenty of other evidence:

        Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

        Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD −14·3%, −15·9 to −10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty).

        Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US

        There is a significant decline in daily COVID-19 growth rate after mandating facial covers in public, with the effect increasing over time after signing the order. Specifically, the daily case rate declines by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points within 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20, and 21+ days after signing, respectively. All of these declines are statistically significant (p<0.05, or less). In contrast, the pre-trends in COVID-19 case growth rates are small and statistically insignificant.

        11 votes
        1. [3]
          DanBC
          Link Parent
          Your first link describes that finding as "low certainty". In GRADE "low certainty" means "The true effect might be markedly different from the estimated effect"....

          Your first link describes that finding as "low certainty". In GRADE "low certainty" means "The true effect might be markedly different from the estimated effect". https://bestpractice.bmj.com/info/toolkit/learn-ebm/what-is-grade/

          I'm going to tell you something, but what I tell you might be completely wrong. How much do you trust what I'm about to tell you?

          Your second link is somewhat more persuassive, but I haven't read it all yet.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Deimos
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Okay, so what does "markedly different" actually mean for that aspect of this study specifically? It doesn't necessarily mean there might have been no effect, it could just mean it might be lower...

            In GRADE "low certainty" means "The true effect might be markedly different from the estimated effect"

            Okay, so what does "markedly different" actually mean for that aspect of this study specifically? It doesn't necessarily mean there might have been no effect, it could just mean it might be lower than the range they gave. What's the exact margin of error on their mask result?

            1 vote
            1. DanBC
              Link Parent
              Markedly different means masks may be very much more effective, or very much less effective. That's the point about low certainty: the evidence doesn't mean much so we shouldn't be making strong...

              Markedly different means masks may be very much more effective, or very much less effective. That's the point about low certainty: the evidence doesn't mean much so we shouldn't be making strong recommendations based on low certainty evidence. It's a best-effort guess, and it can inform decision making until better evidence is found, and it supports doing more research.

              Look at the people pushing masks. They're not saying "we think masks may help, we'd like more and better evidence, but please wear one while we get that", they're saying "we know for sure that masks do help and are super effective and if you don't wear one you're an asshole". That might be an ok position to take if they were also pushing social distancing and handwashing, but some of them aren't.

              The US and the UK had an incoherent response to covid-19. Next year people will be pointing to advice about mask wearing as the smoking gun, but the failure to stop covid-19 is caused by decisions to delay lockdown, to implement weak incomplete lockdowns, to re-open in chaotic unplanned ways, lack of testing, lack of track and trace and quarantine, and to discharge people from hospital settings (often into care homes) without testing for covid-19 first.

    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      That’s weird for me too. Not long ago in Brazil, science was kind of a given. Now it’s suddenly reason for controversy.

      That’s weird for me too. Not long ago in Brazil, science was kind of a given. Now it’s suddenly reason for controversy.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    mrbig
    Link

    One obvious challenge in discussing whether imposing a mask requirement is tyrannical is agreeing on a serious definition of “tyranny” that is more than “something I don’t like.” Since American political philosophy is based heavily on John Locke, he is my go-to for defining the term

    2 votes
    1. Loire
      Link Parent
      Unfortunately between the hollowing of intellectualism in America and the lionization of the local idiot this is exactly what tyranny has become. It is one thing to weigh the words of Locke and...

      that is more than “something I don’t like.”

      Unfortunately between the hollowing of intellectualism in America and the lionization of the local idiot this is exactly what tyranny has become.

      It is one thing to weigh the words of Locke and Mills, but how many Americans have ever read either philosopher (or any philosophy) in their life times? American determination of tyranny is based exclusively on American exceptionalism translated to the individual level. John Locke does not inform American political thinking any more, and hasn't for decades.

      And that is why, in my own beliefs, America is one of the sole western countries facing this pandemic so poorly (Sweden has it's own legal and cultural reasons for their approach that our resident Swedes have mentioned in previous threads). Canadians believe in personal freedoms and governmental tyranny, so do the French, and Australians and Germans. Despite this, those nation's citizens have been able to effectively mount a national defense against the pandemic because they lack their own version of national exceptionalism that has been bred into American citizen's consciousness.

      Most Western citizens, at least subconsciously, follow Mills on this matter. The American right do not operate this way. Their perceived individual rights supercede any and all societal needs.

      15 votes