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Saturday, 6 June 2020


Just a footnote on masks. New requirements to wear them on public transport and in other social situations in which it is not possible to maintain a 2m distance will be a new experience for many Britons. And the columns in the papers make quite clear that our journos know bugger all about them. I offer a few notes not as an expert but certainly better informed than the press. Masks are not homogeneous and do different things -

Home made mouth and nose coverings
These range from the pointless (home knitted or crocheted) to the improvised (scarves, shemaghs, bandanas and balaclavas) to self-sewn pleated masks make of paper or fabric. These are intended to protect other people from you in case you are infectious but not showing symptoms. They need to lower the level of the vapour in your breath and droplets from speaking, coughing or sneezing that reaches other people. It's this vapour and tiny droplets that carry the virus particles. If they work, they will get damp and soggy from use as they trap vapour. Will need frequent washing at 60deg or more if not disposable (detergents such as soap and washing powder 'melt' the outer coating of the virus, but the conditions may also encourage moulds and bacterial growth in unwashed coverings)

'Surgical' masks
These will be by far the most commonly available. Disposable and made of pleated layers of paper with a polymer outer coating to give limited protection from inhaling direct droplets. Intended to protect others rather than you. Again, if these are working properly they will get damp and soggy and need frequent changing if worn for prolonged periods. Can be cheap - bundles of 50 sell for about €37 here.

Filtering Face Piece masks - disposable
The most common masks worn by health and care workers in aerosol-generating environments. They have an airtight fit over mouth and nose and are valved - you breath in air filtered through the fabric and exhale through a one-way valve. Primarily to protect you rather than others. FFP2 and FFP3 masks filter respectively a minimum of 94% and 99% of particles including vapour down to 0.3 microns. They will not filter out airborne virus particles (which are between about 0.05 to 0.2 microns), but SARS CoV 2 is not an airborne virus - it is carried in vapour and droplets. I've got a box of FFP2 masks in the workshop bought from Screwfix a year ago for about £1.50 each

Filtering face Piece masks - rechargeable
These are the ones that look like WW2 gasmasks without the eye protection. I've got three or four in the workshop with replaceable FFP3 cartridges - great for cutting masonry with a diamond blade, which creates huge clouds of fine dust indoors. Also excellent protection from SARS CoV 2.

Facial recognition cameras
There's one upside - facemasks, particularly when work with eye protection or reflective visors, completely bugger the new facial recognition cameras installed everywhere in London, as ZDnet reports.

Note - I neither recommend, endorse or condemn the use of facemasks. These are just a few notes on the differences for anyone interested. 


Anonymous said...

Doesn't apply to Brexiloons. Just say you're on your way to buy one at Barnard Castle or the Isle of Wight.


Quiet_Man said...

I see that loser anonymous is still butthurting about Brexit.

Stephen J said...

All rather academic really, since the intention from the initial onset was (and remains) "herd immunity".

The cheapest face covering is perfectly serviceable, a scarf or balaclava for instance.

And as Raedwald points out, it'll bugger up the government's expensive new 'Rat observation" cameras no end.

As ever, our biggest concern should be "top down" dictatorial government, whether democratic or not.

The recent announcement, and rumours coming from the Trump administration for quite a while now, that this exquisite little inconvenience was man-made (or manipulated) will not come back, it will not be repeated, I expect the Chinese have executed the culprit by now, there is too much at stake.

However it happened, the Chinese have egg all over their faces, and many ordinary folk are now going out of their way to avoid Chinese made goods. If the governments can train themselves to be less attracted to strings of Chinese beads and trinkets for long enough, we might even start to see a future in manufacturing again.

Add to that, there will be a good deal of suspicion around any future government sponsored Chinese infrastructure offering.

Altogether, this has been a real boon, and without any of the costs that a shooting war involves.

Mark said...

Long may it continue!

Poisonedchalice said...

I agree with Stephen J. Send China back to making Christmas crackers and other useless plastic novelties. They have no place in our critical infrastructure and we should take back - without payment - all the UK businesses they bought as recompense.

Like Radders, I have an FFP3 mask (3M) which has excellent filtration and I was wearing it from day 1.

Span Ows said...

Nice to see Stephen J back commenting.

I think the new regulations talk of "face coverings" not "masks", could be wrong. I suspect visored motorcycle helmets to have a boom. And it certainly knocks the anti-burkha movement back.

many palnts in my industry have p100 full face repirators (now becoming a thing for "doomsday preppers"); if I had to go on public transport again I'd wear one of those.

Smoking Scot said...

Fortunately I know a lady who makes lovely masks out of old bits of material. They look great and do sfa. They do as you say, however I cannot be bothered to wash them at 60 degrees. I use a steam iron that's set at maximum - and I can assure you, they're sterile after that!

All masks are brilliant as a sun screen. Wide brimmed hat, Polaroids and face mask, with shirt collar turned up to offer protection to the neck. I'm your standard redhead with freckles. I burn.

That said, I use the blue jobs when in supermarkets and will do so when I fly. And I avoid all bar the most cursory conversations with the staff in either.

Raedwald said...

WB Stephen J - we've missed you

DJK said...

Even the WHO recommend masks now. With this government I suspect it's more about appearances rather than a conviction that masks reduce infection. And to be fair, I think it will help get the economy going. People are more likely to use public transport if they feel safe doing so, and seeing everybody else masked up helps, I think.

DiscoveredJoys said...

As a tangential observation we have now, regardless security of risk, security theatre at airports. We have now, regardless of COVID 19 risk, PPE theatre on public transport.

It may be that COVID 19 has done its worst and will not re-appear, or it may return again and again. It's too soon to say.

But one thing that has been made clearer to me is the huge costs of the precautionary principle. Something to plug in to the debate about climate change I expect. For the purposes of clarity I do think anthropogenic climate change is real, but I also think that we are already doing enough to limit the damage it will cause without having to spend the entire output of a counties wealth because of the precautionary principle.

The arm-waving doomsters (security, COVID 19, climate change) perhaps do more to damage their own causes than they realise.

Dave_G said...

The use of face asks by the vulnerable might be wise but for the rest of us? Once again we come across yet another aspect of the 'virus' that is distraction rather than useful facts.

Given the vast variety of disease and illness prevelant across the country - and Radders has cited TB in its many variants in London as an example - there has been more than enough excuse to use face masks pre-covid but nothing came of it? Why the panic now?

There are enough contradictory and hypocritical reasons to question the meme without throwing masks into the equation but as a distraction it seems to be working well enough for those that want us distracted.

The only mask they'll ever get me to forcibly wear is one that has 'fuck the SNP' writ large across it.

Dave_G said...

'face asks'...... face MASKS .... tut.

DJK said...

Dave_G: The vulnerable are protected if everyone else wears a face mask and making wearing one compulsory just brings the UK into line with most of Europe and most US states. If you want to be free not to wear one, move to Brazil.

I'm not sure of the numbers, but I think there are rather more vulnerable people amongst us than people realise. Not just oldies, but fatties, diabetics, people with cancer in remission, and plenty of others. It all adds up to several million, if not tens of millions. And in many cases it's random bad luck that puts people in that category, not lifestyle choice.

I dislike the SNP as much as the next man, but I don't think I'd go to Glasgow or Dundee wearing an offensive slogan that invites a punch in the mouth. Still, each to his own.

Span Ows said...

...plenty of others, men MORE at risk, BALD men even more at risk! FFS

Anonymous said...

Yet more Counsel Of Despair from the Right, confusing absolutes with relatives.

The wearing of masks has been a vital pillar of the success of countries which have beaten this menace, such as New Zealand and S. Korea.

They do not need to be 100% effective. Anything, which keeps R below unity is beneficial.

But those countries were able to supply them to all who needed them. Our shower of a government can't even get them for front line clinical staff.

Anonymous said...

Some good news for once is with the onset of summer across the West the Wuhan virus is becoming less potent. Be thankful for small mercies I say. One of my nephews, an elderly care staff nurse, has been working with Covid infected patients at Southampton General for the past 2 months and the last few weeks he's seen sharp drop in those needing ventilators.

Snake Oil Update:

Some of you may recall a Lancet study published a short while ago with the title “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis”.

Reuters now reporting:

An influential study that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients has been withdrawn a week after it led to major trials being halted, adding to confusion about a malaria drug championed by US President Donald Trump.

The Lancet medical journal pulled the study after three of its authors retracted it, citing concerns about the quality and veracity of data in it. The World Health Organization (WHO) will resume its hydroxychloroquine trials after pausing them in the wake of the study. Dozens of other trials have resumed or are in process.

The three authors said Surgisphere, the company that provided the data, would not transfer the dataset for an independent review and they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

More from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:

EXCLUSIVE: The Lancet Study on Hydroxychloroquine Was a COMPLETE FRAUD – The Authors are Linked to the Pharmaceutical Industry and People Died Because of Their Lies!

On the mask thing the best I've heard of is the new one our special forces use, which is also used by Delta Force but was developed by us for CQ use. It's so good it's described like wearing a second layer on the face - it's that close fitting. Covers mucus membranes entirely and has a simple cassette filter and valve which is changed every 8 hours. The mask is not cheap but the flat filter/valve system is much cheaper than the issue GSR mask which replaced the S10. No pictures available.


Dave_G said...

@DJK - yet again we see a suggestion of inconveniencing the masses to protect the minority as a policy?

No. Pure and simply No. Its past time we considered the MAJORITY when making, especially public orientated, policies.

Lock down should be for the vulnerable. Masks for the vulnerable. HCQ for the vulnerable etc etc. Leave the erst of us to our own devices.

DJK said...

All that's happened is that wearing a mask will become a condition of carriage on public transport (England only, as yet). Anybody that doesn't want to wear one is free to walk, cycle or use a car. Likewise in hospitals. Health care settings have been a major source of transmission (one good reason why the sick have kept themselves away from hospitals in the last three months). So it seems to me pretty sensible to make it a condition of visiting a hospital that you wear a mask.

A government that was ahead of international best practice would have mandated masks three months ago. Still, better late than never.

Nessimmersion said...

DJK, acceptable as long as my taxes aren't used to subsidise public transport - at the moment the Karen's want to have their cake and eat it.

As regards masks, lifted from Legiron who is a microbiologist:
"Wearing a cloth mask all day virtually guarantees a respiratory infection. Medical masks have a hydrophobic layer because every exhalation carries a load of water vapour. The hydrophobic layer means the condensation resulting from that breath does not leave you with a damp mask over your face. Also, medics do not keep the mask on all day and they don’t put the same one on all the time.

A cloth mask will gradually get damp as you breathe through it. It won’t stop a virus. You might as well wear a sieve. What it will do is provide a damp environment, warmed by your face, that will delight any airborne bacteria or fungal spores that land on it. Keep that on for hours, let the populations grow, and inhale all those lovely infections. You’re going to feel a bit silly when you’re stuck in hospital with a fungal or bacterial infection caused by your futile attempt to stop a virus"
Above was lifted from Underdogs bite upwards.

Dave_G said...

Leaving aside the vulnerable we still see/hear reports using exaggerations and misleading numbers over this whole issue.

The news reporting 600 people on ventilators etc - sounds a lot. With 1500 hostals in the UK that's less than HALF the hospitals have ONE ventilator in use. So much for being 'overwhelmed'.

Dave_G said...

Dunno why it double posted, sorry

Anonymous said...

Nick von Westenholz, director of EU exit and international trade for the National Farmers Union, said: “The government made a manifesto commitment not to compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards in trade negotiations, and this commitment is explicitly stated in the government’s specific objectives for the US negotiations. We would expect UK trade negotiators to be rigorous in upholding these commitments.”


ITV should start a new series ... "You've been conned".

johnd2008 said...

As I live in New Zealand, allow me to comment on our success in combatting Covid. We have the benefit of a small population in a relatively large country. Our biggest city has about 2,000,000 inhabitants but is spread over a large area. We do not have the concentration of thousands of people living in mass housing. We also had the benefit of being able to close our borders to everyone except returning citizens and those were placed in quarantine for 14 days.Very few people wore masks even at the height of the panic.Everyone who died, some 21, were very old and in elderly care in rest homes. We have had no further cases for the last 16 days and it seems likely that we will be back up and running again by Wednesday.

Anoneumouse said...

Face Masks on public transport. !!?? This is going to be fun.

In UK law, there has been no legal definition for what constitutes a' face mask' (covering) since 1823 when the Black Act of 1723 was repealed.

My mask will be that of an Arlechino and my lady friend will be Columbina

Nessimmersion said...

The BMJ published an article in April looking at the realworld performance of facemasks, finding that they caused more harm then good and recommending against their general use.
As this was a real world evidence study, it will be unacceptable to many of the Karen tendency.

Greg T said...

Face mask as used by agricultural workers, when operating strimmers etc.
Like the link shows - I've just bought one.
Full fac covering, but you can BREATHE

Span Ows said...

Greg T, more of a visor but probably worth it on any trip to any city these days along with stab vest, pepper spray etc.

Anoneumouse, Black Act of 1723, very 'severe' and lasted 100 years. We may need another one soon as current aws don't seem to be policed.

Span Ows said...

here we are, rom wiki:

'The Act introduced the death penalty for over 50 criminal offences, including being found in a forest while disguised and carrying a weapon, and "no other single statute passed during the eighteenth century equalled [the Black Act] in severity, and none appointed the punishment of death in so many cases"'

Greg T said...

Span Owls
I ALWAYS carry a cane ( Walking stick ) when out on foot or on Public Transport.
( there was a period, 45 years back, when I had to, for about 6 months, until I had recovered from injuries -= it;s now a natural habit )