This is a copy of an email I sent to my local elected official. In Rockbridge County we have an elected Board of Supervisors (there are 6 districts) and an appointed County Supervisor. I copied all of them (and Sheriff Steve Funkhouser) on this email.
Please consider sending something like it to your local officials.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me today. It is up to you, our local elected officials, to take a stand when the governor oversteps. Virginia is a Federation of Counties, not an Autocracy. This never-ending State of Emergency is unacceptable, and your continued compliance with it, and the various Executive Orders that have been enacted under it, is unacceptable. I hope you and the Board will re-consider acquiescing to the Governor’s increasingly restrictive dictates. I’ve copied the rest of the BoS as well as Sheriff Funkhouser, and County Admin Spencer Suter so we can all be on the same page.
Additionally, I truly appreciate your comment that there is research on both sides of the mask argument. I’m sending along some of my findings and hope you will send me yours, so we can have an educated discussion about the facts, instead of getting wrapped up in emotion. After all, masks either work or they don’t – it’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact. Let’s work together to get to the bottom of it!
Here’s a great site that summarizes the lack of effectiveness of mask mandates in various states in the US. What’s particularly interesting about this work is Slide 4 which compares 3 states with early mandates, mid-summer mandates, and no mandates, with similar populations/geography (Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) and finds nearly identical case curves in all three states.
Here is some data from a randomized trial done in Denmark that clearly demonstrates the ineffectiveness of masks.
Many of the mask studies done recently in the US and around the world have failed to use real world scenarios – poor fitting masks, spray bottles + mannequins, things like that. I am eager to see what studies you have found that show a likelihood of real world success of mask-wearing. I agree there are studies that show a properly-fitted N-95 mask may be effective at preventing some viral spread – but you and I both know our community (and even the CDC recommendations) are NOT using properly-fitted N-95 masks. Either we wear real masks and learn to use aseptic technique (sterilize your hands before donning the mask, limit use of a particular mask to a few hours at a time and then get a new one, don’t touch the mask while you’re wearing it, etc) or we admit that what we’re doing is useless.
And in regards to testing, it is clear that our testing model has been skewed toward more and more “cases,” despite seeing relatively few hospitalizations and very few deaths. The more you have to magnify a particular sample in order to detect viral cells (as is done with PCR testing) the more and more likely you are to find a positive result. It’s like standing in a junk yard with a BMW emblem in your hand, and thinking “Oh, this must be a BMW dealership!” Here is an article, from the New York Times, that illustrates my concerns. If we have to cycle the test 35+ times to find a “positive” result we don’t have any virus. The “surge in cases” is a reflection of this virus having already spread throughout the community (and the world) with fortunately VERY LITTLE negative impact.
A recent study from Oxford University proves that the widely-distributed PCR tests are utterly useless for detecting SARS-COV2 due to the impractically high cycle threshold required to obtain a positive result in many people. Do you know if there has been any discussion about establishing a standard to ensure our case count is an accurate reflection of illness?
Florida Governor Ron Desantis is now requiring labs to report their CT value with every COVID-19 test. This is a step in the right direction and something we should be asking Governor Northam to do as well. I have made calls to the VA Dept of Health in an effort to ascertain our testing/reporting protocols. Let me know if you hear anything first?
I am eager to hear back from you and look forward to our discussion.