by Vinay Prasad, MD
…When it comes to COVID19, there are only 3 things any of us can do:
What goes in these buckets?
Category 1 (risk reduction) is easy. You can’t modify your age, a huge risk favor, but you can modify your vaccination status, and you can modify your weight and general health.
Category 2 (delay time to virus) is harder. We don’t have many well done studies, but theoretically if you sealed yourself in a bunker and ate canned food, you would do this. Wearing a snug n95 might also delay the time to meeting the virus. The challenge with these interventions is they are not sustainable by most people, and may lead to fatigue or backsliding, and thus the effect is transient.
Delaying serves two purposes:
Delaying also has a downside. It may hurt your mental health, particularly when you do it effectively. If you need evidence of this damage: please see twitter.
Category 3 (useless, virtue signaling theater) is the most common. Wearing your mask when you enter a restaurant and walk to your table, but not when you sit there for two hours laughing and drinking is one example. The fact this policy exists reflects serious impairment in thinking and total failure of policy makers.
Making a 2-4 year old wear a cloth mask in day care (which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the advice of the World Health Organization), but, of course, kids take the cloth mask off to nap next to each other for 4 hours in the same room! Theater.
Closing beaches and other outdoor activities. Wearing a mask outside. The list goes on and on, and most things we did fit in this category. On a side note: Here we review all data on masking…