Lifting Masks = Back to Getting Down With The Sickness

hanselthecaretaker

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Regardless of what people think of masks, the fact they help control airborne illnesses is practically indisputable. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had the practice of covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing dating back to the Spanish flu (although it’s also pathetic that we’ve still had to inform people as little as three years ago to cough into their arm vs hand). So regardless of how effective COVID-19 vaccinations prove to be, the more mask free our society gets the more we’re inevitably going to have to deal with getting sick again, even with common colds or other random viruses.

I don’t like it. I fucking hate getting sick and haven’t forgotten how miserable it can be, even if it’s once or twice a year. The sinus pressure, nose blowing and coughing up thick phlegmy bullshit, sore throats, etc. can fuck right off. The last year or so is the healthiest my whole family has been (especially the little one who’s been home since the pandemic but has previously already needed two sets of ear tubes by his second birthday from a daycare environment), and I doubt it’s a coincidence seeing as the catalyst for most of these health issues have historically been peoples’ breath holes.

Wondering what everyone’s thoughts are here.
 
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Baffle

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I'm quite happy to wear one, even as a speccy, and I'd like to think (but actually don't) that people will be more receptive to the idea of wearing one when they're ill but have to see people.

And the anti-maskers are just huge, pathetic babies. I totally understand that some people (e..g deaf people) face problems due to masks, but, come on, all the legit reasons anti-maskers trot out are no different to the people who complain about homeless veterans when all they really mean is they don't want an immigrant to be housed. Literally hiding behind the vulnerable. Losers.
 

XsjadoBlayde

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Gotta admit, think I'm starting to prefer the masks now it has formed a comfortable symbiosis with my social anxiety. Less fun on hot days, but at least people don't have to see the strained grimace that is an attempt at looking normal and happy.
 

happyninja42

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I'm fine with wearing a mask, though I would like to do away with them. I suffer from seasonal allergies so bad that I'm almost always suffering from nasal congestion, so it's not a huge difference for me, the idea of "not feeling sick this past year." I've never found them terribly awkward to wear, so it's hardly an annoyance.

Where I live, in the south of the US, I loath going out in public, mostly because of the weaponized politics that are all around me from the conservative fuckwads that populate this state. Having to put with them and their BS is a constant annoyance, and source of frustration. Thankfully I mostly just ignore and bypass them. But they are everywhere. It doesn't help that I see them a lot at work, as many of my clients are conservative, and they try and pull that "it's my freedom you are trampling!" BS when we tell them to put on a fucking mask before coming into the office.

I mean just yesterday I saw a young guy (white guy too, go figure), in a gas station that CLEARLY had a sign up saying "mask required for entry" just without a mask, not giving a fuck. And he was also wearing a shirt that had a picture of ronald reagan on it, as if he were some prophet, with a really stupid, religious quote about socialism. So, yeah the "no mask" demographic is painfully easy to spot most of the time.

I probably wouldn't be adverse to wearing a mask later on, when I'm sick, just to minimize exposure for others, but I'd be lying if I said I probably will forget to do it. I am diligent about it with this plague though, moreso than pretty much all my coworkers.
 

tstorm823

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Information is more reliable before politics gets involved. The general position among experts on masks before covid was they're useful if you're sick at protecting others from your sickness, and that's still true. So I'll keep my masks around for the future, for if I have symptoms of illness but have to go out in public anyway, and otherwise I'm ditching the things wherever and whenever people take the signs down requiring them.
 
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laggyteabag

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I generally dislike wearing a mask, because I find that they get horrifically stuffy (at least on my face), and some of the masks I own are just horribly made, and subsequently generally quite difficult to breathe in - though I completely understand that is a fault of my shitty masks, and not masks in general.

Though, everytime I get grumpy about wearing my mask, I remember that doctors, etc, spend hours and hours and hours wearing one, plus whatever else, so I just get over my mild discomfort for all of 20 minutes.

That said, I do find it funny how wearing masks has been medically accepted for well over 100 years, yet as soon as Susan, 41, mother of 2, is required to wear one, suddenly they are supposedly completely useless, and only make the wearer more ill.

The endless conspiracy junk that I hear, is always entertaining.
 

happyninja42

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Masking when sick, or better yet actually staying home, would be nice social norms to cultivate. The latter, though, requires employers (and such) to cooperate.
And a population that actually values the well being of others, over their own comforts. And we've come to learn that an not-insignificant % of our various societies, do not have that as a primary motivation.
 
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stroopwafel

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Some exposure to pathogens is necessary I think to keep your immune system awake. Not that masks will prevent this. I think it's more the social distancing, work at home orders and lockdowns that drastically reduced the transmission rate of any respiratory infection. But even before that though developed nations in particular have become very germ phobic in the last few decades and not uncoincidentially there is an enormous rise in people with (severe) allergies or auto-immune disorders. We are evolutionary selected on immune function, without any exposure to pathogens the immune system will start to see anything as a threat and turn against itself. Our bodies are made to move and fight infections not sit in sterilized rooms behind computer screens all day. Without any antibodies to common viruses once you inevatibly do get infected it will most likely also wipe you off your feet. Just look at the unprecedented high standard of living in modern society and compare it to the astronomical costs of healthcare to see how weak and unhealthy people have become. A relatively benign virus like covid19 immediately threatens to bring down the entire system.
 

Seanchaidh

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Just look at the unprecedented high standard of living in modern society and compare it to the astronomical costs of healthcare to see how weak and unhealthy people have become.
Eh... this is not a good metric.

First, because the price of goods and services shifts based on much more than the healthiness of populations.
Second, because we should expect the costs of healthcare to rise with better health outcomes because before people would just die instead of receiving treatment, and dying is pretty cheap considering-- especially with respect to medical resources. Pushing life expectancy upward means dealing with more numerous and more serious health conditions. Unless your idea is that a greater share of the population are weak and feeble octogenarians now, but I don't think that was it.
 

stroopwafel

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Eh... this is not a good metric.

First, because the price of goods and services shifts based on much more than the healthiness of populations.
Second, because we should expect the costs of healthcare to rise with better health outcomes because before people would just die instead of receiving treatment, and dying is pretty cheap considering-- especially with respect to medical resources. Pushing life expectancy upward means dealing with more numerous and more serious health conditions. Unless your idea is that a greater share of the population are weak and feeble octogenarians now, but I don't think that was it.
A majority of people on breathing tubes with covid19 are there because of lifestyle diseases(primarily obesity and hypertension) and lifestyle diseases are also the biggest burden on healthcare. That is what I meant with if conditions are so optimal that the selective pressure for fitness are diminished because healthcare has you covered then very little is needed to topple that system when people are no longer resilient. That is why I think preventative healthcare is much more important. Not only that but it's also cheaper if not free. But ofcourse no one cares about actually preventing disease because healthcare is just a cash cow.

As for your second point about healthcare pushing life expectancy up and up I don't think that's a positive development either. They estimated that one of the primary causes of death in the western world will become dementia. At some point prolonging life just becomes cruel.
 

Agema

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Some exposure to pathogens is necessary I think to keep your immune system awake. Not that masks will prevent this. I think it's more the social distancing, work at home orders and lockdowns that drastically reduced the transmission rate of any respiratory infection. But even before that though developed nations in particular have become very germ phobic in the last few decades and not uncoincidentially there is an enormous rise in people with (severe) allergies or auto-immune disorders. We are evolutionary selected on immune function, without any exposure to pathogens the immune system will start to see anything as a threat and turn against itself.
Just so you know, probably the leading theory of the cause autoimmune disorders is that they are an accidental byproduct of the immune response to infection by external pathogens (or cancer, although cancer can of course course abnormal cells likely to appear to the immune system as "foreign"). This is because the immune system at rest is unlikely to do that much. When activated, however, there is a much higher chance it will aggressively try to identify foreign material and thus accidentally make mistakes and misidentify healthy cells as foreign. Although see below.

Our bodies are made to move and fight infections not sit in sterilized rooms behind computer screens all day. Without any antibodies to common viruses once you inevatibly do get infected it will most likely also wipe you off your feet.
Dubious, scientifically. There is believed to be some benefit in exposure to pathogens as children to help with immune system development.

There are various things that may suppress immune function. However, sitting in rooms staring at computer screens is far more likely to cause problems associated with low fitness, like obesity and high blood pressure, etc.

Just look at the unprecedented high standard of living in modern society and compare it to the astronomical costs of healthcare to see how weak and unhealthy people have become. A relatively benign virus like covid19 immediately threatens to bring down the entire system.
People as a whole have never been healthier. The cost of healthcare is a great deal more to do with things like:

1) The ever-increasing cost of medical technology. The cost to develop a drug from chemical discovery through trials to approval over the decades outstrips inflation by a considerable margin. MRIs and CAT scans are great - but they also require very expensive equipment.

2) We can treat a great deal more these days. Countless conditions, you had it, you had to grin and bear it or - with greater severity - you were screwed. Once society discovered treatments for previously untreatable conditions, however, it incurred the resultant cost of paying for them.

3) In some cases we became much better at recognising and diagnosing conditions. In 1980, if you suffered depression, you were a feeble-minded weakling who needed a slap round the face and told to pull your trousers up and get on with life. In 2020, you are far more likely to get a sympathetic GP who prescribes you some counselling or meds.

4) We can consider the fact that now we're so good at keeping people alive, this means we keep them alive to face higher incidence of infirmity and illness as older people, many of these being chronic, complex and expensive to treat.
 

SilentPony

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I love wearing the masks. One of my best friend is immune compromised, and this past year is the safest she's felt in a long time. People washing hands, sanitizing, distancing, masks, fuck all had colds or flus this year. Yeah some gunphiles think its JUST AS BAD as the holocaust and being sent to Auschwitz, but they're stupid and just trying to get more donations.
Im sticking with the masks.
 

Agema

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That is why I think preventative healthcare is much more important. Not only that but it's also cheaper if not free. But ofcourse no one cares about actually preventing disease because healthcare is just a cash cow.
This is of course hugely untrue.

Virtually every medical professional on the planet is going to advise patients to improve their fitness and diet and (where relevant) stop smoking and drink less alcohol. It's officially the first recommendation they are told to give patients for all manner of health problems and risks. This is simply good medical practice. One might notice that the most prescribed drugs in most Western countries are statins: this is almost entirely preventative medicine. They are cheap, have usually next to no adverse effects, and are highly threapeutically effective.

This also somehow misses out the fact that governments, often via the health service, pay for a lot of advertising campaigns to encourage people to be active, eat more healthily, etc. Because what you're missing is that in many countries the government pays a huge chunk of the health bill, for which it has to collect taxes, and it has a high motivation to tax people less.
 
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Gergar12

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IF you get the vaccine, you don't need a mask. Period. I only wear masks when I am forced to.
 

stroopwafel

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Just so you know, probably the leading theory of the cause autoimmune disorders is that they are an accidental byproduct of the immune response to infection by external pathogens (or cancer, although cancer can of course course abnormal cells likely to appear to the immune system as "foreign"). This is because the immune system at rest is unlikely to do that much. When activated, however, there is a much higher chance it will aggressively try to identify foreign material and thus accidentally make mistakes and misidentify healthy cells as foreign. Although see below.
I don't see how that contradicts to what I wrote. The immune system mistakes harmless pathogens for dangerous ones. If the solution is to never expose the immune system to any kind of pathogen than that is hardly realistic. What the trigger to an autoimmune disorder might be you can say with certainty that reduced exposure to viruses and other pathogens in the last few decads haven't led to a decrease, quite the contrary.


Dubious, scientifically. There is believed to be some benefit in exposure to pathogens as children to help with immune system development.

There are various things that may suppress immune function. However, sitting in rooms staring at computer screens is far more likely to cause problems associated with low fitness, like obesity and high blood pressure, etc.
Dubious how? Wouldn't somebody without any antibodies to common viruses become much more sick than someone who has been regularly exposed?



People as a whole have never been healthier. The cost of healthcare is a great deal more to do with things like:

1) The ever-increasing cost of medical technology. The cost to develop a drug from chemical discovery through trials to approval over the decades outstrips inflation by a considerable margin. MRIs and CAT scans are great - but they also require very expensive equipment.

2) We can treat a great deal more these days. Countless conditions, you had it, you had to grin and bear it or - with greater severity - you were screwed. Once society discovered treatments for previously untreatable conditions, however, it incurred the resultant cost of paying for them.

3) In some cases we became much better at recognising and diagnosing conditions. In 1980, if you suffered depression, you were a feeble-minded weakling who needed a slap round the face and told to pull your trousers up and get on with life. In 2020, you are far more likely to get a sympathetic GP who prescribes you some counselling or meds.

4) We can consider the fact that now we're so good at keeping people alive, this means we keep them alive to face higher incidence of infirmity and illness as older people, many of these being chronic, complex and expensive to treat.
I don't believe ''people as a whole have never been healthier'' when more than like half the population is overweight and a majority of healthcare expenditures are because of lifestyle diseases. More people than ever also suffer from emotional and psychological problems so you can wonder how effective all that therapy and pill popping really is. The amount of people with depression or anxiety disorders is through the roof.

Like you say medical breakthroughs made for a lot of postive interventions to treat previously untreatable diseases but supply also creates demand and no matter how much you spend on healthcare it will absolutely never be enough. You will have like tailor made pharmacogenomic drugs for one million per patient in an increasingly aging population who would still want to shift the burden to collective healthcare and demand lockdowns as soon as someone sneezes in their direction. Like some kind of inversed survival of the fittest.

I agree most individual doctors have their heart in the right place and wants what is best for the patient but that is definitely not true for healthcare as an industry, primarily the drug companies or even the government. Drug companies want return customers because that is what they make their money from and governments will never discourage unhealthy lifestyles other than some obligatory lip service because doing so would hurt the economy.
 
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Agema

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IF you get the vaccine, you don't need a mask. Period. I only wear masks when I am forced to.
You can still be infected and infectious to others after vaccination.

Vaccination should mean you have greatly reduced or zero symptoms, and will clear up the infection faster. But you are still a risk to others. You might not have to wear a mask after vaccination, but it is a reasonable precaution, particularly in situations where there is a high risk of passing on infection.
 

Agema

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I don't see how that contradicts to what I wrote. The immune system mistakes harmless pathogens for dangerous ones. If the solution is to never expose the immune system to any kind of pathogen than that is hardly realistic. What the trigger to an autoimmune disorder might be you can say with certainty that reduced exposure to viruses and other pathogens in the last few decads haven't led to a decrease, quite the contrary.
There is no known reason why allergies are on the rise. Contenders include things like more pollutants (certain forms of chemicals). Or globalisation: people seem to pick up allergies more when they move to a foreign country, potentially with greater exposure to new environmental factors. And today, the world is brought to us. Some may be forms of improved diagnosis or awareness, or medicalisation.

Dubious how? Wouldn't somebody without any antibodies to common viruses become much more sick than someone who has been regularly exposed?
If you get exposed to the wrong virus you get sick. Doesn't matter so much when it happens. One can make the argument that you can get infected sooner instead of later but...

What we might worry about is some of "intrinsic" weakness in immunity, where there is a long-term / permanent impairment of proper immune response. So for instance babies and young children might benefit from the immune system being "challenged" during key developmental phases to help long-term function. I know this has been argued, I don't know much about it.

I don't believe ''people as a whole have never been healthier'' when more than like half the population is overweight and a majority of healthcare expenditures are because of lifestyle diseases. More people than ever also suffer from emotional and psychological problems so you can wonder how effective all that therapy and pill popping really is. The amount of people with depression or anxiety disorders is through the roof.
They're probably depressed and anxious because of psychosocial factors: like being unemployed or working shitty jobs for low pay, with relatively high levels of social isolation. The other 25% of depression is familial.

Like you say medical breakthroughs made for a lot of postive interventions to treat previously untreatable diseases but supply also creates demand and no matter how much you spend on healthcare it will absolutely never be enough. You will have like tailor made pharmacogenomic drugs for one million per patient in an increasingly aging population who would still want to shift the burden to collective healthcare and demand lockdowns as soon as someone sneezes in their direction. Like some kind of inversed survival of the fittest.
Not really. All health services rationalise: grossly uneconomic treatments don't get paid for. Perhaps billionaires will pay hundreds of millions for a treatment only they can use.

I agree most individual doctors have their heart in the right place and wants what is best for the patient but that is definitely not true for healthcare as an industry, primarily the drug companies or even the government. Drug companies want return customers because that is what they make their money from and governments will never discourage unhealthy lifestyles other than some mandatory lip service because doing so would hurt the economy.
Thankfully, the government and healthcare professionals run the health service, not drug companies.

Although the government also does stupid and unhelpful stuff, like deciding it won't pay for the local council-run sports centre or selling off the kids' playing fields to property developers.
 

Seanchaidh

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And a population that actually values the well being of others, over their own comforts. And we've come to learn that an not-insignificant % of our various societies, do not have that as a primary motivation.
We're doomed (in the United States).

 
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