Tuesday, April 05, 2022


Illinois Tech removed the last of their mandatory masking restrictions yesterday. Chicago had zero Covid deaths. Yet I still get messages like this in my twitter feed.

The science is unequivocal for vaccines, which do a good job preventing infection and a strong job saving lives. I just got my second booster on Sunday.

Masks give you some protection but nothing like the vaccines. It's impossible to completely remove the risk of Covid so people need to make their own choices and tradeoffs. If you are vaccinated your chance of serious illness is tiny, whether or not your wear a mask. And mask wearing is not cost-free.

I just don't like wearing masks. Wearing a mask bends my ears and is mildly painful. People can't always understand me when I talk through a mask, and they can't read my facial expressions. People and computers don't recognize me in a mask. Masks fog up my glasses. I can't exercise with a mask, it gets wet with sweat and hard to breath. You can't eat or drink wearing a mask.

Now everyone has their own tolerance and I respect that. I'll wear a mask if someone asks nicely or if it is required, like on public transit and many theaters. If I have a meeting with someone wearing a mask, I'll ask if they would like me to put mine on. In most cases they remove theirs.

On the other hand, the Chicago Symphony concert I planned to attend tonight was cancelled because the conductor, Riccardo Muti, tested positive for Covid (with minor symptoms). For my own selfish reasons, I wish he had worn a mask.


  1. "I wish he had worn a mask."

    Aren't you proving the point against which you are railing?

  2. Walter von Rauschensteinberg9:21 AM, April 05, 2022

    In the mouths of people like Bill Comeau, "science" is a shibboleth, a brand, an oath, or a declaration of membership in a certain political club or "inner circle". The very word has become reified into some kind of idol before which one must genuflect without question. The irony is, of course, that genuine science, broadly understood, involves the exercise of nothing but a refinement of everyday rational thinking with specialized concern. I oversimplify a bit, but I think the point has been made.

    A certain amount of charity shown toward the fearful at one's discretion is one thing, but COVID hysteria cannot be allowed to hold the world hostage in perpetuity. Even where vaccines are concerned, their benefits are overstated (e.g., with respect to reducing transmission) and immunity resulting from exposure is downplayed. The subject matter has taken on truly bizarre proportions and has become incomprehensibly emotionally charged. Nevermind the massive collateral damage resulting from heavy-handed lockdowns.

  3. There are many similar dilemmas one must face, and for which one is blamed by fanatics. Should I become a vegetarian? Little effort from my part, can save lots of lifes. Should I never fly? Could save the planet. Should I donate half of my income to UNICEF? Could save lots of children. Best to confront your critics with some of these and see how many they follow.

  4. Intramuscular vaccination prevents death and mitigates hospitalizations. But masks prevent spread. They are two different things. Recalls that sars-cov-2 is mostly spread by asymptomatic carriers.

    If we want to stop the spread of sars-cov-2 *without wearing proper respirator masks* then we'll need to follow up on the humoral serum immunity generated by intramuscular vaccination with an appropriate intranasal sars-cov-2 vaccination to invoke tissue resident immune cells in the upper respiratory surface tissues not covered by humoral immunity. First intramuscular, then intranasal.

    Intramuscular vaccination doesn't have much impact infection or spread. It is not directly relevant to the "wear a mask or not" debate.

  5. It is troubling how easily people are labeled as "ignorant of science, narcissistic". This train of thought then goes to more stations: "misogynist", "racist", "bad citizen", "Trump supporter" etc... I can go on.

    This is very troubling...