Coronavirus: when do we reach the bottom of the dip?

Last time I looked (which admittedly was quite some weeks ago) the opinion seemd to be that the virus doesn’t survive very long outside our body, even in a moist mask in a pocket.

There might be an increase of diverse bacterial infections, but this might not be such a bad thing if the aim is to reduce Covid-19. We already have good treatments against most bacterial infections.

The mask not being effective for filtering a virus or bacteria (after some wear) is not the point of wearing masks at this time. It’s about containing/reducing the spread of droplets (and possibly aerosols to some degree).

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Is there a similar study for 3 ply masks?

Because 2 ply masks miss the filter layer in the middle so I’m not sure how transferable the results are to 3 ply masks.

The Swiss National Science Task Force has released a policy brief on the topic that summarizes the research:

There seems to be a scientific consensus that masks are beneficial.

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The point is not the coronavirus itself, but other viruses & bacteria. We’re looking at the total net benefit against all pathogens, not just one.

That’s an interesting read. It’s nice that they publish the scientific consensus. A consensus can change, once new facts come into the light. This statement is quite fresh, only two weeks old.

Aren’t hospital/OR settings fairly different than travelling in public transit? Avoiding bacterial/nosocomial infection during a surgery sounds like a different problem (you have open bodies around you don’t want to infect).

The study also measured at very short distances (10cm), which is realistic for a surgery, but not as much for people in public transport (at least in Zurich) or stores.

Edit: also in that article’s experimental settings, masks are never worse than no masks (per the graph you showed).


But this is exactly the problem. People think thy can do “research” by having a preconceived opinion and then look for confirmation of what they think. The “evidence” you provide is from what looks like a predatory journal (impact factor 0.5), more or less trustworthy as my niece’s diary. If you and I make a “study” where we fart on each other faces and then measure if we got covid, pretty sure we can get it published there with the title that “Farts do no transmit covid”.
But this is not even relevant, because even taking the “study” for good, it really does not add much to the discussion for many reasons (e.g. sars-cov-2 is not a bacterium), mostly because that’s not how these things should work. If you want to do this properly, collect ALL evidence that you can (the one that agrees with you and more importantly the one that does not agree with you) and then judge if your position still holds.

Here, I will help you:

But then again this would be a better effort (better than scouting google for 2003 newspaper interviews that agree with you) but still not sufficient, because there’s a reason someone is a virologist and we’re not. I’m not saying “DO AS YOU’RE TOLD” because I like authoritarian regimes, it’s because people making these suggestions are making them based on years of study and expertise, with the public good in mind. We need to understand that everyone having a right to an opinion does NOT equate to the fact that everyone’s opinon has the same value on any topic. My opinion in software development does not count very much, because I wouldn’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

It’s good to be curious and to understand stuff, but one has to know his/her own limits otherwise can make embarrassing comments. This does not even count this time, because in this case it’s stuff that by doing a more honest search one can find easily.

We are in a global pandemic, everything we do has an impact on ourselves but also on others. There is enough evidence to suggest that wearing a mask can help spreading of the disease (by how much? is it enough? for how long? all good questions but the main message stands), it’s a really small effort. Is “I think wearing a mask causes more damage than good” really the hill you want to die on?


I certainly hope they do, but you could make the same statement about the central banks and the Fed. Do you also think they act in the best interest of the public? Maybe they think they do, but it just seems to me that they’re just covering their asses. “deflationary crisis & series of bankruptcies? not on my watch!”.

I’m not fighting a cause here. I just come across people, often intelligent, who are against masks, which makes me think and share my thoughts here. In part, I do this to be able to go back to them and refute their arguments with the feedback that I got here.

I agree that this might be just human psychology, totally irrational, that fools even the smartest of us. I’m not saying masks are definitely bad. I’m just saying: if you want me to be on your side, don’t have me take your word for it, but convince me.

I’m not taking your “I’m just an impartial observer only interested in the truth”-line serious.

If I google “covid-19 masks effectiveness” I get a frontpage half-full of papers and university-articles laying out the current knowledge quite plainly and fairly. (Allthough not all sources agree completely, something like “N95 are much better than surgical masks, surgical masks better than scarfs and scarfs better than nothing.” doesn’t seem super controversial.)

Then you come along with an article from 2003 and some (possibly junk) paper that are both not relevant to the discussion.
And you bring up some theory why bacterial infections are relevant here, but provide no basis for it at all.

So, i have a couple of questions:

  1. Do you agree that the aim of the masks is to reduce the spread of droplets? (Something like: If you’re in a train, the droplets would spread in a radius of 45cm with masks and in a radius of 1.5m without the mask. But it’s obviously still a probabilistic protection.)

  2. If yes, did you not find any of the evidence, such as the one from @ripper23, for masks being at least somewhat effective for 1. before posting here?

  3. After claiming a mask was “only effective as long as it’s dry” you retreat to saying we should be “looking at the total net benefit”. Did you find any evidence that “pocketing masks” was a cause for an increase in bacterial infections or did you just make this up?

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@ripper23 thank you. thank you for the time, effort, detail, and patience with which you answered. My answer would have probably gotten be banned from this forum.


@trotro: I’m aware of the goals of wearing a mask. The studies provide evidence, but their result depends a lot on what is being measured and on the conditions. So (just as a hypothetical example) they could reduce the distance that the droplets travel after you cough, but maybe they stay in the air, and as we know, in a bus people move around all the time.

Then you have a problem, if you can’t control your emotions in a civilized discussion.

Alright, that was my last post on masks, I don’t feel like discussing anything after such a response…

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Yes, exactly! And that’s why it’s a good idea to use it. Even in a bus, where people move around, the area where people get infected is thought to be diminished. For example, instead of everyone in the 10 closest seats potentially being infected it might only turn out to be 6 people who might get infected.

Maybe you’d be interested in this anectode:

Two stylists had tested positive after working at the Great Clips at 1864 S. Glenstone Ave, potentially exposing 140 clients and six other coworkers. No additional clients or coworkers tested positive.

Testing was offered to all those potentially exposed, and 46 people pursued testing—all came back negative.

In addition to masking, Great Clips had policies in place that also likely prevented the spread of disease—such as distancing of salon chairs, staggering appointments and other measures that will also be studied

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You went from saying that cheap masks don’t help to saying this:

And then this masterpiece.

Any proper respectable evidence to convince me or anyone else that masks do equal harm and benefit or more harm than benefit? Why do you start from the position you start from?

Why don’t you try to convince people with facts and evidence rather than starting by saying something fringe and then claiming to have “open mind” and putting the burden on proof on others to '“convince you”.



@ripper23 your answer is so good that it can be applied to many many other fields and questions.

…but let’s just add that we need to know who are we speaking with (or listening to). The BAG should be working for us but at the beginning they said not to buy/use masks. It does still lay in the group “working for us” because they weren’t helping us not to catch it, they were helping us having a working hospital system, since hoarding masks would have been a bigger issue at that point.

So, if you listen to a nobel prize in Economics talking about economy, go check where he works. :slight_smile:

did @Cortana invest yesterday? :slight_smile:
It seems the marked is tanking again. Maybe are the morning investors reacting to the recession?

Did anybody watch the press conference of the Federal Office of Public Health today?

They sounded very pessimistic and asked cantons to consider making masks mandatory in shops.


I find that reasonable - if it’s compulsory in public transport, why not in shops too?
Many of the countries surrounding and beyond have the same, and it’s really not such a huge deal.

Also would be nice if people actually took it seriously. Took the train from Zürich to Geneva recently and maybe 60% of people would wear one properly (cover mouth and nose).

People would usually put it on when the conductor passes and remove it (put it on throat) afterwards.

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I was hoping that in CH people would act in solidarity without the need of fines.
At least they were at the start.
But I suppose everyone (including myself, not being a hypocrite - yet I still follow BAG’s advice) relaxed a bit, and taking it more loosely as it didn’t get more critical.
I guess it won’t come as a surprise if BAG introduces some additional enforcement as a consequence, if things start turning more dire…

I’ve noticed the misbehaving people are mostly female and under 30.

Or male and over 80… :roll_eyes:

Yeah haven’t really noticed a pattern except as usual the power of peer pressure. Groups tend to be either all fully masked or not covering their face, rarely mix.

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