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Face Masks - Recent Studies
#57058 05/20/20 05:59 PM
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This topic is only tangentially related to climbing Whitney, but I'm starting a fresh thread to present more recent research related to the effectiveness of face masks and the impact mask wearing can have on reducing community spread of COVID. The previous thread on this topic has become contaminated with misinformation from old and misleading studies, and partisan bickering. Let's keep this thread respectful without the conspiracy nonsense. If you think 92,000 Americans dying in a couple months is a conspiracy, please post elsewhere, you're not interested in science.

I spent considerable time on this topic with an engineering perspective and found a lot of irrelevant old research that needs to be called out. For example, one of those links in the other thread referenced a study based on reuse of the same mask for 30 days by hospital workers in a high-risk environment in Asia. Of course even the N95 masks eventually performed poorly under those circumstances. Many of the studies quoted previously are not new research, they summarize a subset of older studies with a variety of results and methods not suited to the COVID virus. Many of these summary reports complain about a lack of research on the topic, and then strongly conclude, "there's no evidence that masks work." Duh, no relevant research, no evidence.

Here are two recent studies demonstrating cloth masks are effective:

1. Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale materials. This study looks at a range of particle sizes relevant to this virus using numerous types of masks from N95, surgical, to several homemade types of various fabrics.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252?ref=pdf


2. Northeastern University, this one is so recent its still under peer review. Some of the multi-layer homemade masks with the right fabrics are more than 80% effective, better than surgical masks or commercial dust masks.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.17.20069567v4.full.pdf

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
SierraNevada #57563 07/03/20 10:26 AM
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Now that the tune has changed and masks are mandatory in CA and even Texas, please put the politics aside and wear one if you need to interact with locals in these small vulnerable communities of the Eastern Sierra. They don't have ICU facilities to deal with exponential spread conditions, not to mention it's just common decency and the law requires it.

Trail safety is more complicated being outdoors with short durations of close-contact exposure. There will be roughly 200 others on the trail around you, so this situation will be repeated over and over on your hike up and down the mountain.

How do you plan to deal with drafting behind or in front of other hikers breathing heavy, or passing closely where there's no room to maintain reasonable separation?

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
SierraNevada #57564 07/03/20 11:53 AM
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It's quite simple. Just follow the state rules and wear masks all the time in public establishments and outdoors whenever social distancing is not possible.

I have no problem with pulling my mask up and down when encountering others on the trail.

As for drafting, aerosol infection not an issue outdoors, so use judgement when deciding not to wear one when following someone outside of six feet. Going into the wind it would be a good idea to mask up.

But overall outdoor cases are very rare. It's even been established that the protests haven't caused any spikes. This is an indoor transmitted virus, caused primarily by face to face close mask-less close contact for more than 10 minutes.

Most cases now are from indoor social gatherings, bars, parties, or high density housing where social distancing is impossible.

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
bruce #57579 07/04/20 12:28 PM
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That's pretty much what I'm thinking too, but wondering about other opinions.

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
SierraNevada #57587 07/04/20 10:37 PM
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I think Bruce states it pretty well. I'm a 68 yo RN and have been following COVID updates to have the best info on what's safe and not. I'm not eating inside a restaurant any time soon. Outside dining, okay. Just cut my own hair... But hiking/running/biking/etc. outdoors, risk is pretty close to zero. There was a Washington Post article a couple of days ago asking Dr. Fauci and five other experts what they're doing and not doing. Consensus: avoid close prolonged contact indoors, outdoors is fine. And chances of surface transmission are negligible.

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Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
bruce #57617 07/06/20 07:07 PM
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Quote
please put the politics aside and wear one if you need to interact with locals in these small vulnerable communities of the Eastern Sierra
The masks ARE the politics.
I just got back from a glorious 6 day trip to Yosemite with my family that included Half Dome, Tuolumne Meadows and Taft Point. The people we encountered along those trails were amazing, kind, smart people. The best part of our vacation was the fact that nobody wore masks up there. Nobody talked about mask politics either, because these smart, healthy mature folks have common sense and know that breathing in your own CO2 during a strenuous hike in the sunshine and fresh air is dangerous to their health. I spoke to a few of them and we all agreed that a slightly worse case of the common flu with over a 99% survival rate (according to the CDC) is just not worth harming our systems with masks. We can read the numbers, .03% death rate from infection is a normal flu. There are many experts out there who say the mask doesn’t protect you at all and actually harms your body by wearing it but TV media won’t let them speak. Shouldn’t we listen to them as well? We just get one side..Fauci on TV as the only expert (and he is on video saying masks don’t work as well). So it gave me hope seeing all of these fine people who do their own research instead of relying on the Mainstream Network News to spoon feed them their information (Network News is NOT required to be factual or tell truth by law, BTW) gathering together without fear of this silly and inaccurate social distancing recommendation to reaffirm our common humanity and faith in one another.

So remember when you’re up in the beautiful mountains to put politics aside and ditch the mask, health experts will agree. If you’re worried, stay home or wear a mask while hiking and suffer, it’s your choice as an American.
Enjoy the trails, and remember to look each other in the eye and smile!

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Halfdomer Homer #57619 07/06/20 07:52 PM
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There we go again. Homer, didn't you notice that Dr. Fauci, whose credentials you seem to appreciate, and all other medical professionals always wear masks in public ? No-one here says you should wear them while hiking alone in the wilderness. The point is that masks DO reduce the chances of getting infected when you are in close proximity with people who are already infected and vice versa - infected people are less likely to infect others if they wear masks. Besides, where is the evidence that masks cause CO2 poisoning and where did you get the numbers suggesting that SARS-CoV2 mortality rate is comparable with regular flu? Please stop spreading the nonsense and, if you really want to know the truth, check your sources.

Edit to add:


At the time of posting, there are 3,040,833 confirmed cases in the US and 132,979 deaths. So, the mortality rate is 4.4%.

Last edited by Anton; 07/06/20 08:03 PM.
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Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Halfdomer Homer #57622 07/06/20 08:40 PM
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> ...people who do their own research...

That's another name for anti-vaxers.

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Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Halfdomer Homer #57633 07/07/20 11:39 AM
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Steve, you nailed that description. And Homer, wearing a mask "actually harms your body by wearing it'?! As a retired RN, I have to say that's one of the most moronic statements I've read recently out of many moronic stories these days. Wearing masks is uncomfortable. JUST ASK THE DOCTORS, NURSES, AND RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS WEARING THEM FOR 12 HOUR SHIFTS, DAY AFTER DAY! Sorry about shouting, but what an f***ing stupid post. Or are you trolling us?

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Halfdomer Homer #57634 07/07/20 11:41 AM
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You forgot to add that wearing a mask also provides an excellent platform for administering repeated & concentrated viral dosages resulting from touching surfaces and then adjusting masks.

Without proven medical benefits derived from valid double-blind statistical studies (typically taking years), products cannot promote medical benefits without violating several various federal laws and regulations. Which is why, of course, mask providers don't advertise any supposed benefits. What's really (sort of) amusing is that states dictating these kinds of actions are thus in direct violation; hence the next round of lawsuits.

We were up last week doing a number of longer range day hikes (to avoid overnight permit confusion/wait) from Mammoth, Bishop & Kearsarge. Mammoth (day hikers) was all masks, Bishop a few, Kearsarge (mostly backpackers), none. I used to think of hikers as similar in independence of attitude/thought as sailors, hunters, bike riders, etc, but this and other outdoors oriented boards have proven that a lie.

Or maybe it's just the most vocal, yet least accomplished? (With the very odd exception of Pickering - the most accomplished, yet also avid mask proponent. Sigh - always the outliers screwing up the analysis.)

Part of me despairs about current events, but the more cynical side applauds the collective behavior. I mentioned this before, but the income demographics are really quite pronounced. Those financially comfortable - my peer group - are for the most part 100% mask free. My conclusion is that capitalists will sell/go along whatever current fad is popular as long as it lines their pockets. They may privately joke about the sheep, but no one is really complaining when it benefits their bottom line.

Last edited by Hobbes; 07/07/20 11:44 AM.
Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Hobbes #57635 07/07/20 12:14 PM
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Hobbes:

Don't you have other places to brag about your social/financial status? Let me brake it to you: your status does not automatically make you smart and it certainly doesn't not make you less vulnerable to SARS-Cov2. As multiple folks have already pointed out in this forum, your "scientific analyses" have serious logical flaws.

Last edited by Anton; 07/07/20 08:24 PM.
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Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Hobbes #57637 07/07/20 12:43 PM
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I've worn a mask every hike I've taken this summer when passing (or getting passed by) others. No CO2 poisoning, and no viral infection either!

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Cal #57640 07/07/20 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Cal
I've worn a mask every hike I've taken this summer when passing (or getting passed by) others. No CO2 poisoning, and no viral infection either!

But were you blinded to the fact that you were wearing a mask? And only the summer? Could be a placebo.

Without this necessary data carried out in rigorous studies for years, we will never truly know if masks stop droplets of spit that come out of your mouth. I choose only to believe my definition of science.

Last edited by aastro; 07/07/20 02:19 PM.
Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Hobbes #57642 07/07/20 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbes
Or maybe it's just the most vocal, yet least accomplished? (With the very odd exception of Pickering - the most accomplished, yet also avid mask proponent. Sigh - always the outliers screwing up the analysis.)

It’s simple. We get back to normal by defeating COVID-19. That means social distancing, testing, contact tracing, quarantining, and wearing masks when appropriate.

I stay the hell away from other people as much as possible. I can recall going inside businesses seven times since this all started. (At 71, I’m probably forgetting a trip or two.) I haven’t been to anyone else’s house, and only a few people have been to mine (all for outdoor horse activities). I usually climb alone or with one other person. I’m carefully staying away from doofus magnets like Whitney and Half Dome (sorry, Homer). I wear a mask indoors (except at home) and when I’m close to other people outdoors. I don’t wear one when I’m hiking or filling my car at the gas station. Wearing a mask keeps me a little safer. It keeps other quite a bit safer. Wearing a mask says that I care whether I infect other people. Not wearing one says the opposite.

Originally Posted by Hobbes
I mentioned this before, but the income demographics are really quite pronounced. Those financially comfortable - my peer group - are for the most part 100% mask free.

Sorry to be an outlier again, Hobbs, but I’m “comfortable” enough that I’m giving away a lot more than I spend on myself. And my usual climbing partner this year is more “comfortable” than I am, and she wears masks more than I do.

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Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
bobpickering #57649 07/07/20 05:25 PM
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Thank you Bob Pickering, well said and on point. Enjoy your summer, safely.

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Halfdomer Homer #57652 07/07/20 05:47 PM
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"......breathing in your own CO2 during a strenuous hike in the sunshine and fresh air is dangerous to their health."
Hike when it's cloudy and smoggy. Your CO₂ will be healthy under those circumstances.

Re: Face Masks - Recent Studies
Hobbes #57749 07/20/20 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Hobbes
Without proven medical benefits derived from valid double-blind statistical studies (typically taking years)...

If you think they can't block the virus droplets, then you can't believe they somehow block much smaller gas particles like CO2 or O2.

There is ample direct evidence that mask wearing decreases transmission potential significantly, read the studies in the OP that started this thread - especially Argonne National Labs Study. We don't have time for years of double-blind testing nor do we need that. Its common sense, lower transmission = fewer cases. And there's also a strong logical correlation between societies with high mask wearing rates and low infection rates. We're now up to 29 states with mask mandates from both deep Red and Blue Governors, and many more in localities within the remaining states. Nobody should dare go into businesses in these small tourist towns like Lone Pine without a mask. Not only is it illegal, you have no right to put those people at risk and jeopardize the opening for the rest of us who can manage to wear a mask.

Goldman Sachs did a study on this topic and concluded that a national mask mandate would save the US economy about 5% GDP reduction that we're seeing from closures. This translates into about $1 TRILLION of economic activity, which equals about $3,000 for every American man, woman and child. We can't afford NOT to mandate masks where appropriate.

Whether or not masks are needed on trails, that's a different question and the point of this thread. I'm not seeing anyone argue strongly that they should be required under typical hiking circumstances, but they surely won't hurt anybody.

Edit: And you will get the boot out of the Portal Store if you don't wear a mask there either.

Last edited by SierraNevada; 07/20/20 11:26 AM.

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