Coronavirus - What About Face Masks

Chinese RE Guy's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 719

It confuses me why US and Europe never encourage people to wear face masks. Was watching people on all those news channels discussing how China contained the spread with a lockdown and how Korea controlled it with minimal disruption, but no one ever talks about face masks. People are required to wear masks in China and Korea if they want to go out, whether infected or not.

Understand that there is a shortage of mask supplies and given that doctors and nurses need them the most, we don't want people to panic and hoard masks, but why not put a quota on how many each person can buy every day. More importantly, why not make those face masks? If GM and Boeing can make ventilators, Durex and Trojan can make masks too.

And if you can't make them fast enough, why not buy from China or Vietnam or whoever.

Trump wants to open up part of the country sooner than later, and I think it's essential that everyone wears masks then.

I am confused, is it a cultural thing or legal thing or what?

Comments (90)

Mar 29, 2020

It's dumb because Americans don't often realize it's considered a polite thing to do in those countries when you're sick or feeling ill too. It's not just a "I don't want to get sick" thing. Obviously that's a part of it but it's also just a polite thing people did before COVID too.

Controversial
Mar 29, 2020

Americans en mass are not going to wear masks for something that we will probably ultimately find out has the mortality rate of the flu. If this were the Bubonic plague (which killed as many as 80% of the people in some towns) then we would do it. But not for COVID-19. The vast, overwhelming majority of people aren't afraid of it, nor should they be.

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Mar 30, 2020

We're looking at 100K - 200K deaths as the minimum, and it's mindsets like yours that will push that number higher. People need to be afraid. If wearing a mask helps as research indicates, then everyone should be wearing them when people go back to work to prevent a second wave. It's clear that you think you are too tough to be affected, so I guess good luck

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Mar 30, 2020
rezjopls:

We're looking at 100K - 200K deaths as the minimum, and it's mindsets like yours that will push that number higher. People need to be afraid. If wearing a mask helps as research indicates, then everyone should be wearing them when people go back to work to prevent a second wave. It's clear that you think you are too tough to be affected, so I guess good luck

1-200,000 minimum worldwide? Yes. In the U.S.? No consensus on the actual range of deaths.

480,000 people die of tobacco-related deaths every year in the U.S., and my father was one of them. The gov't happily levies lucrative taxes on tobacco. Society has decided--for whatever reason--that on the issue of tobacco there is an element of risk that society is willing to accept. America could start behaving like Asia or, possibly, Asia could start acting like it's part of the civilized world and stop eating dogs and bats and snakes so that these diseases stop popping up

The reality is, Americans are not going to embrace the mask culture beyond the next few months. It's just not going to happen. You can be angry at me for knowing my own people, but whatever. I know Americans at large are simply willing to accept the element of risk that comes along with not wearing masks. It's just reality.

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Mar 30, 2020

You seem too eager to make it a confrontation and a blame game, a "my people" vs "your people".

No one is asking "your people" to change their culture. We are in a global pandemic, 3 million people in the US lost their jobs, almost the entire country is under a "stay at home" order, stock market plummeted, and lots of people on this site will have $0 year end bonus. What is the risk and reward here? Just wear masks when you go out so that this country can get back to work sooner and the economy can recover sooner. Is it that hard? When this pandemic passes, do whatever you want with the masks, wear them, jack off in them, who cares?

And here you go again blaming the "uncivilized" Asian culture. You got understand that 60% of human beings on this planet are in Asia, yet Asian GDP is less than 40% of the world (and that's including the highly developed Japan). The health and living conditions in Asia don't compare to "the West". Why are Asian countries so poor you ask? Check with your "civilized" ancestors who went around the world with their guns and mighty army. Maybe next time before you blame the entire Asian culture, you should look up which region has the most deadly and severe pandemics before "your people", "discovered the new world".

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Mar 30, 2020
Chinese RE Guy:

You seem too eager to make it a confrontation and a blame game, a "my people" vs "your people".

Nooo, I'm saying it's bizarre that Asia is getting praised for its response when it doesn't get blame for bringing disease to the rest of the world because part of its civilization is stuck in the 10th century.

Chinese RE Guy:

No one is asking "your people" to change their culture. We are in a global pandemic, 3 million people in the US lost their jobs, almost the entire country is under a "stay at home" order, stock market plummeted, and lots of people on this site will have $0 year end bonus.

I'm talking about the long-term culture of America. We aren't going to wear face masks for COVID-19 because there aren't any. They have been cleaned off the shelf. We aren't going to change our culture long-term like Asia because we live in a civilized society, not one that eats dogs.

I hate racism and reject it totally. But not all aspects of culture are equal. The fact that part of Asia's culture kills countless people around the world each year because of disease requires, ya know, some self-reflection. And possibly some humility.

Frankly, the U.S. should send China a $2 trillion bill for its part.

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Mar 30, 2020

Maybe you can make a separate thread discussing Asian culture. All I want is for this shutdown to end so that people can at least go to work and got to retail stores, WITH MASKS ON.

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Mar 30, 2020
Chinese RE Guy:

Maybe you can make a separate thread discussing Asian culture. All I want is for this shutdown to end so that people can at least go to work and got to retail stores, WITH MASKS ON.

It's weird that you don't want to discuss the cultural aspect of this when you started a thread about the culture of mask wearing in the West. Maybe you don't like to be reminded that China is responsible for the destruction of the world economy. The U.S. should cancel its entire debt with China to pay for the mess that China made.

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  • Associate 2 in IB - Ind
Mar 30, 2020

I think there was a great, constructive conversation until you said "Asia could start acting like it's part of the civilized world and stop eating dogs and bats and snakes so that these diseases stop popping up." Every single country has their faults, but it doesn't benefit anyone to play the blame game now. At this point, it doesn't matter if the virus originated in China, USA, India, UK. We're all in this together.

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Mar 30, 2020
Associate 2 in IB - Ind:

I think there was a great, constructive conversation until you said "Asia could start acting like it's part of the civilized world and stop eating dogs and bats and snakes so that these diseases stop popping up." Every single country has their faults, but it doesn't benefit anyone to play the blame game now. At this point, it doesn't matter if the virus originated in China, USA, India, UK. We're all in this together.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want to start criticizing cultures, as the OP desires, then why not start with China, where these infectious diseases are consistently originating?

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  • Associate 2 in IB - Ind
Mar 30, 2020

Because like I mentioned above, it doesn't benefit anyone. It will literally do nothing.

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 30, 2020

You sound upset because your country failed you, and now you're going to die because of it.

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Mar 31, 2020

But it didn't have to be that way. You're making it seem like we "all wanna be in this together". No, we were FORCED to be in this together.

I for one would like see that we cut all ties with China. Let's bring jobs back here. Put an end to slavery and child labor. There are plenty of kollege drop outs and convicts that can use decent paying job. Amazon abuses enough workers, so let's give Bezos a run for his money.

I'm not getting a bonus this year, but I will happily pay more for legit made in the USA.

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Mar 30, 2020
real_Skankhunt42:
Chinese RE Guy:

Maybe you can make a separate thread discussing Asian culture. All I want is for this shutdown to end so that people can at least go to work and got to retail stores, WITH MASKS ON.

It's weird that you don't want to discuss the cultural aspect of this when you started a thread about the culture of mask wearing in the West.

Key word being "masks", be it cultural aspect, legal aspect, capacity aspect, messaging aspect, etc.

I'd encourage you to start a separate thread to discuss cultures so that more people can participate, since our back and forth here will likely be hidden.

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Mar 31, 2020

Haha, "you reject racism". But you do have valid points, so credit where it's due.

Mar 31, 2020

OP is a dumbass for underestimating the severity of COVID-19, but he does have a valid point...STOP. EATING. FUCKING. BATS. (and other weird creatures).

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Mar 30, 2020

Your father and others choose to smoke knowing full well what the consequences are. Him going up to someone and even blatantly blowing smoke in their faces isn't going to jeopardize their health.

Being sick / a carrier of COVID and then coughing / going out in public directly transfers that to other people and can very well find an immuno-compromised person, baby / etc.

I understand your point that Mask-Culture did not exist in the US whereas it did in Asia. Therefore saying it's "weird" to not see masks in US doesn't make sense... there wasn't a need for a fuck ton of masks because nobody would have bought and worn them 3 months ago, that's how capitalism works and nobody will produce / sell that shit where it doesn't get consumed.

What I don't get is how you, someone with, let's call it an "internet level familiarity" with healthcare / virology, who also likely considers themselves introspective, intelligent, generally educated can with such exuberance just claim they know what's best, that this is blown out of proportion, that most people shouldn't be worried, etc.

People like you in the real world spreading bullshit are the equivalent of the idiots that come on WSO ranking EB / BB / MM banks.

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Mar 31, 2020

100k - 200k is not the minimum. It was best guess by Fauci, and only after he spent about 2 full minutes explaining that guesses are stupid and the numbers could end up pretty much anywhere.

If you want to adopt his best guess, I can't blame you. He's basically God now in most people's eyes. But I've compared different studies and projections over the last 2 months and taken note of which methods make the most sense. The ones that I personally find more logical get to a much lower number. Under 50k.

But I agree with Fauci that its too hard to know.

Apr 4, 2020

mortality rate is 30x that of flu.
3% mortality vs. 0.1%

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Mar 29, 2020

Definitely a cultural thing - a lot of people in the states still won't wear masks even if things get way worse. IMO the success of flattening the curve in Asian countries like China, South Korea and Japan can be partially attributed to people wearing masks. What Americans don't realize or care about is that it's very effective at preventing further spread if sick people wear masks e.g. it stops sneezes and coughs, along with protecting yourself.

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Most Helpful
Mar 29, 2020

The CDC and WHO recommended non-medical people not to wear them on-top of the cultural stigma that already existed. They went so far in insisting that they are not effective in so many words. These organizations lied. Anyone with a brain knew about this and obtained one anyway. They are everywhere in San Francisco.

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Mar 30, 2020

People tried to tell me that masks "didn't work" to prevent Coronavirus and then that "the doctors need them." Uhhh which is it? I know for a fact N95 masks work from having to live in Asia pollution for years, which is why I have a ton of them at home.

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Mar 30, 2020

Exactly. Plenty of ignorant people regardless of perceived intelligence just repeated what they heard without thinking or informed their worldview through reading headlines - aka clickbait. These people are everywhere. Unrelated to masks but to see ignorance and illogical thinking, look in our own backyard being the largest COVID-19 thread on WSO and see how many users - a lot of industry people - showing their asses in there.

Mar 30, 2020
anonguytoibd:

The CDC and WHO recommended non-medical people not to wear them on-top of the cultural stigma that already existed. These organizations lied. Anyone with a brain knew about this and obtained one anyway. They are everywhere in San Francisco.

That's not entirely accurate. What they said was that given the limited supply of masks available, it was better for the public to not deplete the supply of masks, thus ensuring that medical professionals had sufficient access to them. They weren't saying that wearing masks is bad. It is true that some people said--and this was passed through the media--that wearing non-medical grade masks was of little benefit and wearing masks that were not properly fitted was counterproductive. And it's true that this instruction was basically wrong because even wearing masks improperly is better than not wearing them at all. But the caveat is that those who are sick are the ones who should really be wearing masks, that the benefit of masks to those not sick was relatively minor.

We're not going to see a mask culture in this country, nor should we. Living life is risky and Americans, above all people, are willing to take risk, and there is simply no evidence that I've seen that there is any virus or disease out there that poses a long-term, material harm to the public that would require Americans to drastically change their behavior. Even COVID-19 will likely be effectively eliminated with a vaccine in a year.

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Mar 30, 2020

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/resp...
https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-prote...
Both of these sources say that these N-95's should not be used outside of a medical community nor by the public, respectively, but do not mention that other masks of any type would help.

This is a disastrous message as there numerous studies with other respiratory diseases that prove otherwise often at rates that prevent viral spread by 2-5x. The worst part is that there are people genuinely thinking that walking into Walmart without any facial protective covering is as good as not wearing anything.

This is such a simple message that is not being shared because we are worried about a shortage of N-95's whereas if you tell the public to use some sort of protection it would likely reduce large droplets and some aerosol transmission.

We don't have proper leadership at all levels.

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Mar 30, 2020

It's partly "cultural", but about to change in a big way. With trump today trying to frame 100,000 to 200,000 deaths as a success, people are going to increasingly wear masks. Right now, masks are hard to obtain, but it will become more common.

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Mar 30, 2020

Well recently the media told people not to get mask and occasionally lied saying they don't work. Once the supply gets where it needs to be and as people see this get more and more serious you should start seeing a lot more.

Mar 30, 2020

It's confusing to me. I have no problem with how I'll look wearing a mask when I grocery shop or I run (I don't really venture outside beyond that), it's that I've constantly read medical professionals need them.

This information could be spread so some crazy asshole doesn't buy up 5 big rigs of masks and park them in his driveway. We're seeing people panic buy the most random shit because most humans are inept and sheeple. So I get that. But I'd almost feel guilty buying some when reading about shortages for hospital workers.

I'm open to any opinions people have.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Mar 30, 2020

how is there still not a consensus answer on this?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Mar 30, 2020

The actual answer is that a proper mask absolutely helps to prevent catching as well as spreading coronavirus. However, if everyone took preventative measures and bought these masks, we would run out as a country and people in hospitals would die.

You will notice the government couches their guidance as "improperly worn masks may actually increase your coronavirus risk." Well, yeah, improperly worn masks. Properly worn masks, which are not rocket science to put on, decrease your risk dramatically.

It's basically a choice between divulging the whole truth and causing a shortage / panic, or basically saying to the people, "You'll probably use this wrong so don't bother" but of course using it for people in the hospitals.

Why can't we just manufacture a bunch of masks with our tens of trillions of dollars of manufacturing capacity, and send these out to every American in addition to $1,200? Excellent question.

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Mar 30, 2020

did i read correctly that you need to change the mask every day (or every time you go out)?

but that now they figured out that you can heat it in the oven for x degrees / y minutes and it is then sanitized.

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Apr 1, 2020
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

Why can't we just manufacture a bunch of masks with our tens of trillions of dollars of manufacturing capacity, and send these out to every American in addition to $1,200? Excellent question.

Because Donald Trump continues to refuse to implement the Defense Production Act effectively.

Mar 31, 2020

What's your take? I'm conflicted between the feeling that:

  1. It's socially responsible to wear one in public
  2. It's irresponsible because you're detracting the supply from medical professionals

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Mar 31, 2020

Make one at home

https://diymask.site/

Mar 31, 2020
Malta Monkey:

What's your take? I'm conflicted between the feeling that:

  1. It's irresponsible because you're detracting the supply from medical professionals

Number 2. The risk they assume while at work is substantial.

Mar 30, 2020

It's not just about how people who are sick should wear the mask. Many COVID-19 carriers are asymptomatic but they can still pass on the virus when they speak. By asking most people to wear a mask whenever they go out, you reduce the possible transmission of the virus significantly because the mask will catch all the possible virus coming out of someone's mouth. Unfortunately most western countries don't have this collective awareness.

Many Asian countries don't have strict lockdown measures like Europe or the US do right now. People are still going to work and eating out, and these countries still have things under control, despite geographical proximity and closer economic ties to China.

Austria just started requiring people to wear masks in the supermarkets. If masks actually don't work why would they implement such a measure.

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Mar 30, 2020

I argued this exact fact to someone and it flew over their heads.

Mar 30, 2020

That's because pandemics are far more common in Asia than in the West. They are culturally used to wearing masks and have the supply. I love how we're praising Asia for its response and yet we don't question why the flu, et al disproportionately seem to be coming out of Asia.

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Mar 30, 2020

Asians wearing masks has more to do with air pollution rather than pandemics.

The sheer population of Asia coupled with living conditions that are well below "the West" are main reasons of the disproportions, but that topic is beyond this thread.

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Apr 4, 2020

[delete]

Apr 4, 2020

"Many Asian countries don't have strict lockdown measures like Europe or the US do right now. People are still going to work and eating out, and these countries still have things under control, despite geographical proximity and closer economic ties to China."

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. I think you're joking, but I'll answer as if you're being serious.

Asia locked down much faster and more severely than the West. And most of Asia continues to have a far stricter quarantine. China locked down whole cities wholesale while POTUS was still calling the virus a hoax. In HK, we STILL have a strict quarantine of all new entrants to the city for 2 weeks. If you had any casual contact with a COVID-positive individual, the police show up, give you 10 minutes to get your sh*t, and take you to a concrete bungalow that they created in the middle of nowhere so you can have zero outside contact. Oh and your apartment? A cleaning crew sweeps in spends an hour disinfecting. Absolute moratorium on all gatherings of more than 4 people, and that includes restaurants. My wife returned from China 2 weeks ago and was put under mandatory 2 week quarantine, and they do random checks every few hours. If she's found outside of our house even once, they then get to decide whether to throw her into a quarantine box prison, or ship her back to China and revoke her visa. I'm here in hospital (COVID positive thanks to UK not having their act together). 90%+ of the cases in HK now are imported from overseas, precisely because the West couldn't take this seriously in time and get a real quarantine going. And anyone I met (which thankfully was no one) would have been rounded up and put into a quarantine box. My roommate in hospital had a dinner the night before he got sick, with 6 friends. All 6 were immediately rounded up and put in 2 week quarantine concrete boxes (at least they have wifi, why the F don't I have wifi in here?). On the daily I get my orifices probed, even though I'm 2 weeks asymptomatic, and the law strictly says I do not get released until I have a 0 viral count for 2 days in a row.

Singapore - similar measures. 2 weeks mandatory home quarantine on all returnees. And there's today announced a prison sentence if you are found not respecting physical distance from others.

India - no new visas for anyone non-Indian, and if you are a returnee Indian, you get mandatory quarantine.

Korea instituted drive-through tests and mandatory quarantine if you're COVID-positive.

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Mar 30, 2020

Eh I'm pretty bullish on Americans wearing masks especially in the short to medium term. People want to get back to their old lives, if Trump / Cuomo / CDC etc. come out and say masks help accomplish this then I think people will follow.

The real question is if we have enough as people will want new ones multiple times a day imo. No one is going to reuse a nasty ass mask in the US. This entails tens of billions of masks being made for the US alone. No idea if this is even feasible.

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Mar 30, 2020

It's feasible to produce more masks over time if the demand is there. You don't necessarily need the entire population wearing N95 masks; even basic masks that would help with coughing and breathing in public spaces would do something and perhaps get people back to work sooner.

But it's shameful that we don't even have enough for our own hospitals right now; seriously, it blows my mind. We produce all of these disaster movies but couldn't comprehend a demand spike of what is so far a pretty reasonable magnitude (i.e. it could get a lot worse)

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  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Mar 30, 2020

China didnt control anything- they are completing lying about the numbers of deaths buddy. There are over 5000 urns A DAY being sent to Wuhan, death toll is still climbing rapidly in China you just dont hear about it.

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Mar 30, 2020

are you a medical professional in Wuhan? how did you obtain this source? Impressive that you somehow managed to obtain a ~clandestine~ intel 8,000 miles away from your couch. totally KGB material

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Mar 30, 2020
Damnmemoriae:

are you a medical professional in Wuhan? how did you obtain this source? Impressive that you somehow managed to obtain a ~clandestine~ intel 8,000 miles away from your couch. totally KGB material

Cool, so you can verify the claims made by China since you're a medical professional in Wuhan?

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  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Mar 30, 2020

Wow you are a total fool, it's sad to see how ignorant so many are on WSO, it's honestly pathetic.

businessinsider.com/wuhan-residents-say-chinese-government-coronavirus-death-toll-is-low-2020-3

I posted the link without the "www."- Why don't you read it and not be a fucking asshole just because someone pointed out something that is obviously true. Does it make sense to you that China (of all places- the epicenter) has only ~2000 deaths. Clearly that doesn't make sense. The Chinese government expelled foreign journalists for a reason- they were onto something. Residents have been reporting that the crematoriums have been running non-stop. Wake up and don't be a prick.

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  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2020

So you are suggesting all other deaths are also paused because of Corona? Keep in mind that Wuhan is a city with over 20M residents

Apr 4, 2020

They shut whole cities down. They shut down government, they shut down companies, the streets were empty. It was like I Am Legend, but in China. How do I know? Because I went there and saw it with my own two eyes for an afternoon, and because my wife was there for the whole two months.

Mar 31, 2020

It's definitely a cultural thing. Asia revolves around social pressure. Not wearing a surgical mask would get you dirty looks and likely chastised in much of Asia. New infected cases are reported in a front-page press release every day in HK for just this reason. The day that my infection was published in the paper, my wife got a call from our landlord, our nearby friends, and all of our neighbors (no idea how they even got her contact info). No one wants her to leave the apartment, even though she's nearly done with quarantine. The neighbors want her to voluntarily self-quarantine for an extra two weeks just to be safe, and I didn't even see her. She's afraid our kid's friends' parents won't let our kids play together in the future because of this because we're going to be known as "that virus family." Asia's weird that way. Definitely a lot of social pressure going around.

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Mar 31, 2020

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Mar 31, 2020

It's a national disgrace that we've run short of face masks and cleaning supplies. We need to bring back jobs where they belong (right here in the US). We are way too dependent on other nations.

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 31, 2020
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Mar 31, 2020
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Apr 4, 2020