The politics trumps the data
I don't wear masks at level 1. When there are political rallies and parties going on, get real. Viruses get through masks -- they were designed for something else. Hat tip Adam for this.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I've read hundreds of studies on the science of medical masks. Based on extensive review and analysis, there is no question in my mind that healthy people should not be wearing surgical or cloth masks. Nor should we be recommending universal masking of all members of the population. That recommendation is not supported by the highest level of scientific evidence.
First, let's be clear. The premise that surgeons wearing masks serves as evidence that "masks must work to prevent viral transmission" is a logical fallacy that I would classify as an argument of false equivalence, or comparing "apples to oranges."
Although surgeons do wear masks to prevent their respiratory droplets from contaminating the surgical field and the exposed internal tissues of our surgical patients, that is about as far as the analogy extends. Obviously, surgeons cannot "socially distance" from their surgical patients (unless we use robotic surgical devices, in which case, I would definitely not wear a mask).
The CoVID-19 pandemic is about viral transmission. Surgical and cloth masks do nothing to prevent viral transmission. We should all realize by now that face masks have never been shown to prevent or protect against viral transmission. Which is exactly why they have never been recommended for use during the seasonal flu outbreak, epidemics, or previous pandemics.
The failure of the scientific literature to support medical masks for influenza and all other viruses, is also why Fauci, the US Surgeon General, the CDC, WHO, and pretty much every infectious disease expert stated that wearing masks won't prevent transmission of SARS CoV-2. Although the public health "authorities" flipped, flopped, and later changed their recommendations, the science did not change, nor did new science appear that supported the wearing of masks in public. In fact, the most recent systemic analysis once again confirms that masks are ineffective in preventing the transmission of viruses like CoVID-19: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
If a surgeon were sick, especially with a viral infection, they would not perform surgery as they know the virus would NOT be stopped by their surgical mask.
Another area of "false equivalence" has to do with the environment in which the masks are worn. The environments in which surgeons wear masks minimize the adverse effects surgical masks have on their wearers.
Unlike the public wearing masks in the community, surgeons work in sterile surgical suites equipped with heavy duty air exchange systems that maintain positive pressures, exchange and filter the room air at a very high level, and increase the oxygen content of the room air. These conditions limit the negative effects of masks on the surgeon and operating room staff. And yet despite these extreme climate control conditions, clinical studies demonstrate the negative effects (lowering arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide re-breathing) of surgical masks on surgeon physiology and performance.
Surgeons and operating room personnel are well trained, experienced, and meticulous about maintaining sterility. We only wear fresh sterile masks. We don the mask in a sterile fashion. We wear the mask for short periods of time and change it out at the first signs of the excessive moisture build up that we know degrades mask effectiveness and increases their negative effects. Surgeons NEVER re-use surgical masks, nor do we ever wear cloth masks.
And lockdowns don't help now. Nabarro is a senior person in the WHO whose responsibility includes managing the COVID pandemic. He is, of course, being ignored by our prime minister, who considers she went fast and hard, and wants us to continue to wear masks in level one.
Nabarro went on to point out several of the negative consequences lockdowns have caused across the world, including devastating tourism industries and increased hunger and poverty.
"Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,” he said. “Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. ... Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”
Earlier this week, thousands of medical health experts signed their names to a petition calling for the end of coronavirus lockdowns, citing the “irreparable damage” they’ve caused.
"As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection,” read the petition, known as the Great Barrington Declaration. "Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health."
In the United States, lockdowns have been tied to increased thoughts of suicide from children, a surge in drug overdoses, an uptick in domestic violence, and a study conducted in May concluded that stress and anxiety from lockdowns could destroy seven times the years of life that lockdowns potentially save.
The rules are not about public health. They are are about politics and control. They may do more harm than good.
The fantasy implosion
What the professionals forget is that high fantasy and steampunk sell. Professionals writing problematic screeds about reimagining genre fiction have day jobs. There are successful genre authors, but the so called professionals call them probematic. I don't do groups -- I attend Church because it is the clear command of God that I do so -- and I don't do cons.
However, I read, and it appears that the professionals don't want my dollars. That's OK. We have projects that are much more needful.
It seems to me that the main problem with the World Fantasy Con is the World Fantasy board, which has a very specific and outdated idea of what a con should be like. Which is their good right, except that the name “World Fantasy Con” and its stated reputation as a professional event for professional people are at odds with what the con really is, a somewhat old-fashioned affair where overwhelmingly older and white people talk about Lovecraft and Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories and big name authors and editors hang out in bars.
So the World Fantasy board has to decide what they want. Do they want to have their Lovecraft and Spicy Zeppelin panels with problematic descriptions or do they want to have a more modern and inclusive convention?
There is room for both types of convention – after all, both LibertyCon and Wiscon exist and serve their respective audience. But if the board opt for 1, they shouldn’t be surprised if many people, including the professionals they so desperately try to court, stay away in droves.
This is a type of the post modern lie. Any who do not fit in the current system must be disparaged and discounted. They are undermenschen: their lives are not worth preserving, their ideas must be silenced.
Because values derive-from System, and the worldly-System is increasingly abstract and with increasing not-human elements (computers, technologies, statistics...); the System can and does generate values that benefit the System considered as an abstract-whole, but not the human beings.
Thus the modern world; in which we increasingly relate to the System only via bureaucracy (systemised humans) and electronic mass-social media. The question of whether this is good for humans does not even arise; because values come from the System, and only one worldly System is acknowledged.
It is either the System or psychosis - and therefore neutralisation, hospital or prison. There can be no exile, no independence; because nowhere is outside or beyond the System.
And, because non-System values are dangerous to the System; anyone with values outside is necessarily selfish and mad - thus will be sought, labelled, and their threat eliminated.
And when they fail, this must be silenced. David Farrar has produced a report card for the governement.
None of these goals have changed. They have been moved to the end of the next decae. This is irrationaL a fantasy that Ardern put up. Wishes don't happen unless you make enough money that you can pay for it.