Do Not Listen To WHO or Governments About Masks

The WHO does not recommend masks. Its website states:

WHO: “ONLY WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE ILL WITH COVID-19 SYMPTOMS…OR LOOKING AFTER SOMEONE WHO MAY HAVE COVID-19.”

The Canadian government probably follows WHO and does not recommend masks either. Their recommendations about masks are flawed:

Canada: “IF YOU ARE A HEALTHY INDIVIDUAL, THE USE OF A MASK IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.”

But, just because you feel “healthy”, you can still be infected and spreading the virus. There are several cases of asymptomatic transmission. That is, people without symptoms have been spreading the virus to others.

Asymptomatic Carriers May Still Transmit Coronavirus, Says New Research

You could be spreading the coronavirus without realising you’ve got it

“…375 Chinese cities…86 per cent of cases were “undocumented” – that is, asymptomatic or had only very mild symptoms…they were the source of 79 per cent of further infections.”

In a mass-testing experiment of the 3,400 residents of an Italian town last month, it was found that 75 per cent of participants infected with COVID-19 were completely asymptomatic.

Canada: “WEARING A MASK WHEN YOU ARE NOT ILL MAY GIVE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. THERE IS A POTENTIAL RISK OF INFECTION WITH IMPROPER USE AND DISPOSAL. THEY ALSO NEED TO BE CHANGED FREQUENTLY.”

Even if there “is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal”, masks reduce the chance of getting infected.  Even if the mask fails at stopping infection, it reduces the inoculum, which enables the wearer to be less sick.  Read: Everyone Should Wear Masks.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COUNTRIES

Several Asian countries have low levels of cases. Their people are going to work and school. What do they have in common? Their governments told everyone to wear masks.

But most other countries around the world will not wear masks, due to vanity or other beliefs.

Some governments are telling their people to not wear masks, because they and the hospitals are in competition with the public in buying masks. They did not plan, prepare and stock up on masks.

In fact, some countries did worse than this. Canada sent 16 tonnes of masks, gloves, face screens and other equipment to China on February 9. Then Canada let hoarders send more equipment to China. Australia let hoarders send 90 tonnes of medical supplies to China.

(By January 30th, Taiwan started making 4 million masks per day. By March 10th, Taiwan was making 9.2 million masks per day. Yet, bigger countries, such as Canada, cannot.)

Their governments, such as Canada’s, should say: “We are sorry. We screwed up. We should not have sent our supplies to China. We should not have let hoarders send supplies to China. We should have made sure that there was enough for Canadians. We should have planned, prepared, ordered and manufactured masks since January.” Instead, they are trying to stop their people from competing (and protecting themselves) by shaming them.

Here is Canada’s Health Official, who would not ban travel from China in January (when Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore did), still telling us to not wear masks (21:30 in the video):

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said:

“Our advice remains as it has been that the average American does not need a N95 mask. These are really more for health care providers.”

The N95 respirator is the best, but any type of mask helps, even construction, painter’s, homemade or Halloween masks. Even a scarf or bandana is better than nothing.

Leading COVID-19 Expert From South Korea says that masks are effective and everyone should wear them

Interviewer:  “Then can we say that, because everyone in Korea wears a mask, there is less infection in general?”

Expert:  “Absolutely…masks have been proven to prevent infection…Just look at China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.  In Asian countries, people wear masks.  In the meantime, if you look at many European countries and the US, the virus is spreading rapidly.  One of the reasons Korea has a relatively low rate of infection is because everyone is wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly.”

Usage of masks “flattened” growth of coronavirus cases in Czech Republic

“one of the key reasons for the decrease in the growth of the cases is a massive country-wide community initiative to create and wear home-made masks”.  In just 10 days, the country went from no mask usage to nearly 100 per cent usage, with nearly all the masks made at home with easily accessible materials, like old t-shirts.”

I do not know if masks will stop the spread completely. But based on how the virus spreads, masks will reduce the spread significantly.

According to the CDC:

“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

* Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

* Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

If everyone is required to wear a mask, then this means that infected people are wearing masks as well.  This means that “respiratory droplets” are mostly or completely stopped when the infected person “coughs”, “sneezes” or breathes. They are not spraying the virus into the air or onto surfaces for others to breathe in or touch.

Even the CDC is not necessarily correct. If you are “6 feet” away from someone, you might still get infected.

‘Two metres not enough’ when social distancing
Original source

“viral droplets expelled in coughs and sneezes can travel in a moist, warm atmosphere at speeds of 10-30 metres (33ft-100ft) per second, creating a cloud that can span approximately 7-8 metres (23ft-27ft).”

“3ft to 6ft (1-2 metres) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel”

There are two types of countries in the world:

  1. Virus not growing exponentially.
  2. Virus growing exponentially.

Countries of the first type include several Asian countries. Their governments tell their people to wear masks. It is not a coincidence that those countries have tiny or manageable numbers of cases. In some of these countries, people are going to work, attending school, going to restaurants and not worried about flattening the curve.

Countries of the second type are freaking out about flattening the curve, trapped in their homes, missing work and school, and not enjoying life such as going to restaurants. They refuse to wear masks. Even worse, their governments are telling their people to not wear masks. Consequently, many people who would be willing to wear masks, do not, because they feel self-conscious, do not want to stand out and do not want others to think that they are infected. So, these countries need to maintain strict lock downs, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantines. If the virus stops growing exponentially and if they want to restart their economies, even partially, their governments need to tell their people to wear masks and impose fines or punishment for not doing so.

Our Experience Will Likely Be Worse Than China’s

There are positives from this virus. Satellite photos show massive reduction in pollution over China. Who thought that this virus will drastically reduce carbon emissions? Who knows, maybe this virus will save more lives than it kills. Thousands get killed every year in car accidents. With such a reduction in driving, there will be far fewer deaths caused by cars. My friend’s wife works for an insurance company. Their profits will go through the roof because car accident claims have disappeared.

However, our experience will likely be worse than not only the small Asian countries, but also China’s experience. Not only do everyone in these countries wear masks, China stopped all domestic travel (planes, trains, taxis and screened car traffic) when it locked down Wuhan and 7 other cities in January. This is “social distancing” for cities. To this day, people from Wuhan are still not allowed to leave the city. China saved their other cities, to a certain extent, such as Beijing, Shanghai, etc.

Contrast this to Canada and the U.S. Hundreds of flights were allowed to leave the hot spots (New York, Washington state) every day, spreading it to all the other American cities. People in Chicago, Dallas, etc., should be angry.

China limited the problem to a region of their country. The U.S. (and Canada) is letting the virus infect its entire country from coast to coast.

Even China has flattened its curve. We can write an instructional manual on how to NOT flatten the curve.

This means that this virus has the potential to impact our economy more so than China’s.

Everyone Should Wear Masks

Everyone should wear masks.  The main reason that people don’t is vanity.

According to CDC, face masks work in protecting yourself from virus infection. Note that a face mask is not necessarily the same as respirators.  An N95 mask is a respirator.

A mask does these things:

  1. It reduces the chance that you get infected, even though it is not perfect
  2. It reduces inoculum (viral load), which reduces how sick you get, even if you get infected.  Watch:  https://youtu.be/efaDuE-XEi4?t=1193    Summary:  At time of infection, if you get hit with 100 virus particles, versus 100,000 virus particles, you will be less sick.
  3. It reduces the number of people that you will infect, because you don’t know for the first few days that you are contagious, after getting infected.  The mask reduces the inoculum that you spray into the air.

All of the above benefits help “flatten the curve”.

It can be a construction, painter’s or homemade mask.  It doesn’t have to be surgical mask.  Any mask, even a scarf, is better than nothing. It may sound funny, but a Halloween mask is better than nothing.

It is no coincidence that everyone in the Asian countries, which have tiny numbers of infected, wear masks.  Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore knew that it was important that everyone in public wear masks.  You cannot “flatten the curve” if the public has a high R (infectious rate) or get very sick (from getting hit with high inoculum levels), both of which masks reduce.  Hence, their governments made masks available and told everyone to wear them.

Note the woman shopper in the photo of this article about Taiwan.  

Notice that her mask is not a medical ask.  Any mask helps, as it limits the inoulum that she is spraying into the air, if she is infected.

In Taiwan, people are still going to work and school.  They can go to restaurants.  They aren’t worried about “flattening the curve”.  Meanwhile, we are freaked out, trapped in our homes and our economy is cratering.

As Chris Martenson said: “Why is face mask use – proven effective at stopping disease – not being promoted for general use? Because the government failed to stockpile and had no plan for how to ramp up production, and chose to shame the public into not buying masks instead of being honest.”

How South Korea “flattened the curve”

Take a look at these Korean apps helping people avoid areas infected by the coronavirus.

There are probably dozens of Canadians who can develop these apps as well, but only if the government provides the data.

“The app collects data from public government info including the Korea Centers for Disease Control to show the date a patient was diagnosed with COVID-19, along with the person’s nationality, age, gender, and where they visited.

If a person using the app comes within 100 meters, or about 328 feet, of a place where a person carrying the virus has been, they get a push notification warning”

I don’t think there is a privacy issue because names of the infected are not provided.

“These precautions in South Korea are in addition to measures by government and health officials, including efficient “drive-thru” testing that takes less than 10 minutes.”

This is partly how South Korea stopped the virus from continuing to grow exponentially.  South Korea has done other things as well, such as restricting travel, aggressive testing, aggressive contact tracing and wearing masks, that many Western countries and other countries have not done and still are not doing. Hence, South Korea has significantly lower “Tot Cases/1M pop”.

In other words, South Korea has “flattened the curve”.  Italy and Spain have not.  Several other countries will not.

Worse Than 2009

The stock market correction started on February 24th. We were busy preparing for and then flew to Hawaii for our vacation. It was surreal to watch this doom-filled volatility from the beautiful, sun-lit hotel pool in Hawaii with tall palm trees all around.

A couple of days later, the stocks bounced. Nevertheless, I told my wife that this is going to be worse than 2008, but it will not go in a straight line. There will be many “head fakes”, “sucker rallies” and “dead cat bounces”.

Fast forward to today and we have a full blown crisis, where both the U.S. and Canada had announced aid packages:

  • White House pushed for $1 trillion package.
  • Canada announced $82B aid package.

These will not be enough.  It’s likely that these governments will increase this or announce another package.

This recession is going to be worse than the 2009 recession.  Here is what caused the 2009 recession:

  • U.S. government enacted CREA (Community Reinvestment Act), which pushed banks to lend to low-income borrowers, in order to increase home ownership.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought mortgages from banks, in order to get banks to lend out more mortgages.  They ended up with half of the country’s mortgages.
  • Wall Street jumped on board and sold mortgages to earn commissions.  They sold to high risk, low-income borrowers because Wall Street was not the lender and therefore didn’t take the risk.
  • This fuelled the housing bubble.
  • Bubble burst
  • Homeowners stopped paying banks.
  • Banks were on verge of bankruptcy and stopped lending.
  • Tightening credit caused recession.

What most people do not realize is that it was the government that created the housing bubble and ultimately the crash and recession.  The bail outs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were much bigger than for AIG or the banks.

Consequently, the stock market dropped by as much as 10% in day, on multiple days.

During this deep recession in 2009, credit was tight, but people were still able to consume or produce.  In May, 2009, Hawaii was dirt cheap, so my wife and I took a 10 day vacation for $2,200, which included hotel and flights.

This recession is much more different.  Even if Hawaii vacations are selling for $100, you cannot buy one.  People are told to stay home, self-isolate or stay in quarantine.  Borders are closing.  You cannot fly to Hawaii from Canada even if you offered $1 million to the airlines.

In 2009, you still saw people in restaurants, bars, movie theatres, etc.  Today, you see no one.

In 2009, people still bought TVs, computers, electronics, etc.  Today, Apple’s stores are closed.

The stock market has already dropped by 10% in a day, on multiple days.

In 2009, once credit loosened, the economy could recover. Today, the virus is still growing exponentially. To slow this down, the government is clamping down the people, which is clamping down the economy. If the government lets people go back to normal activities, the virus will flare up again, which will prompt the government to clamp people down again. This can happen repeatedly until the vaccine comes out in 12-18 months. Until the vaccine comes out, the economy might be kept in a coma.

In addition to the devastating impact on health and lives, this virus will wipe out trillions of dollars of wealth around the world.  Bankruptcies will soar. Millions of jobs will be lost.  The number of people on welfare will go up.

The crisis will eventually subside. Things will eventually go back to normal, once the vaccine comes out.  Social distancing is going to be very boring.  During this process, you will become poorer.  To prepare, make sure that you have a budget and have enough of a buffer to pay for several months of expenses.

Note that the aid packages will come from you.  You will pay for them.  The government cannot create wealth.  It can only take it from you to give to somebody else.   Therefore, the country’s wealth will be the same as without the aid packages, and the country will still be poorer than before the virus.

Governments will likely bail out companies. Despite being an investor and shareholder, I object to this, and so should you. Many of these companies, such as the airlines and Boeing, were making billions of dollars of profits for many years. Instead of stashing this money into their bank accounts, they used it to buy back shares. This juiced the stocks, which benefited shareholders, but more importantly, it increased the executives’ stock options and bonuses. Now that their companies are losing money, their companies should sell shares to raise money. That’s the main purpose of the stock market: enable companies to sell shares to raise money.

If governments bail them out, they will be “Privatizing Profits and Socializing Losses”.

Some people might blame capitalism for these bail outs. This is socialism, not capitalism. Capitalism advocates that incompetent businesses should die and disappear. Socialism advocates that governments help businesses. “Socializing Losses” is socialism.

Similarly, the problem with Wall Street in 2009 was socialism, not capitalism. Bailing out Wall Street firms is socialism. Furthermore, it was the government that created the housing bubble. (Similarly, Canada’s government created its housing bubble, but that is another long discussion.)

Some people might argue that compensating executives with stocks is the source of the problem. I disagree. If the government does not intervene with bail outs, these executives will learn the hard way for their mistake of stock buy backs and for not stashing enough money in the bank. Now that their stock price is low, these executives will not make bonuses. When they get their company to sell stock, they will continue to forgo bonuses, but they will prevent their company from going bankrupt.

This is the punishment and lesson that executives should endure and learn, but will not if the government bails them out.

You, as a taxpayer, should not pay for their mistake of not stashing their profits into their bank accounts.

Even if you bail out these companies, it does not prevent them from declaring bankruptcy. Governments forced taxpayers to give billions of dollars to GM in 2008. It still declared bankruptcy anyways.

Countries Need to Stop Listening to WHO

The WHO did not and will not tell countries to ban travel. In fact, they told countries to not ban travel when they found out about the problem in China. WHO’s director general, Dr. Tedros, is incredibly incompetent or corrupt.

Luckily, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong did not listen and banned travel immediately as soon as they found out about the virus. They did several other things as well, that we are still not doing. Taiwan and Hong Kong should have the most cases outside of China, yet Taiwan has fewer than Slovenia.

China locked down Wuhan when it had 300 official cases. Canada has 247 cases, is growing exponentially and yet, Canada is still taking thousands of flights from many hot spot countries.

Spain had 228 cases on March 4. Ten days later, stores are closed (except groceries and pharmacies).

If Canada continues growing exponentially, stores can be closed in 10 days.

France had 212 cases on March 3. Eleven days later, stores are closed.

Italy had 229 cases on Feb 24. Two weeks later, the country is locked down. 19 days later, 175 people die in one day.

Politicians should stop listening to WHO and read:

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now


Coronavirus Will Go Exponential in More Countries

Countries are having different results with the virus. The growth is linear in some and exponential in others. See the following graph:

To prevent exponential growth, countries must do what South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are doing:

  • Containment (Hong Kong closed its border with China.  Travel from all hot spots, such as China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy should have been banned since January.  We are still taking thousands of flights from them.)
  • Banning social gatherings.
  • Masks.  Most people in Hong Kong wear masks when they go out.  This not only reduces the chances of catching the virus, but more importantly, it reduces the number of people that you will infect if you have the virus.  During the incubation period before you develop symptoms, you can be infecting others and not know it.
  • Aggressive testing.
  • Contact Tracing  (In addition, South Korea has an app that tells you the locations that all infected people have visited.)
  • Quarantine  (China is the most aggressive with this, by limiting the times that people can leave their homes.)
  • Removal of deterrent of quarantine, such as paying for lost wages, so that people will not break quarantine.

For countries that have not done the above, such as Italy and Iran, the number of cases have grown exponentially.

Many other countries, including the U.S., Canada and many European countries, are not doing the above. The virus will grow exponentially in these countries.

The WHO and CDC have really dropped the ball.  WHO downplayed it for far too long and tried to be politically correct instead of being honest. The WHO and CDC have documentation from prior years that explain what should be done. This first thing that should be done is: CONTAINMENT.

“If the Containment Zone encompasses major air, land, and sea transit points, it is possible that screening procedures could be used but the preferable alternative is to close that entry point.”

From WHO Interim Protocol: Rapid operations to contain the initial emergence of pandemic influenza

In January, WHO should have told every country to practise containment, which includes banning travel from China.  Instead of doing this, WHO downplayed the situation and praised China’s efforts.  In February, WHO issued a statement saying that they are not calling it a pandemic but some dishonest, politically correct phrase.

We have no containment.

This virus is many times worse than SARS or the flu.  According to WHO’s website, a pandemic is when a virus spreads around the world.  Yet, WHO would not call this a pandemic until today, after the virus has spread to 109 countries:

World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic

CDC should have enabled testing of thousands of Americans since weeks ago.  There are likely many thousands of Americans (and Canadians) who are infected but we don’t know yet.  China and Iran likely have many multiples more infected than they are reporting. Watch the interview of this doctor’s frustration in the CDC and his inability to test:

The other challenge is that governments are caught between a rock and a hard place:  saves lives or save their economies.  To save lives, they will need to clamp down their people, but this will clamp down their economies.  The right thing to do is to save lives, but when they do this, their economies will crater.  Many people will lose their lives or many people will lose their jobs and income. It is not a easy choice.

“Up to 150 million Americans are expected to contract the coronavirus, congressional doctor says”

Please practise social distancing.  Work at home if you can.  Do not shake hands.  Avoid social gatherings. There are going to be many long, boring months until they come up with a vaccine.