Below is a summary of the email response I got from Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors Dan Lyons, and my response to him.
Mr. Lyons sent me the following information regarding the effectiveness of masks. I have linked to the articles with links as provided (or not) in his note to me. You will see numbers in parentheses – those are my footnotes. Click each footnote to skip to my comments which I sent via email to Mr. Lyons today.
A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it. (2) (No link)
A recent study published in Health Affairs, for example, compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time. The first five days after a mandate, the daily growth rate slowed by 0.9 percentage-points compared to the five days prior to the mandate; at three weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage-points. (3) Link
Face masks help contain respiratory droplets that can transmit SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, from people who do not know they have the virus. (4) (No link)
(1) This suggests masks help prevent sick people from spreading viruses. It does not suggest healthy people should wear masks, which is what the Governor has mandated.
(2) This refers to the “asymptomatic spread” of this virus (or presumably other viruses). This one is tricky, because the spread of the virus from “healthy” individuals, ie, the vast number of positive tests amid an otherwise healthy population, suggests asymptomatic spread is a serious concern. However, as I mentioned in our phone conversation, the testing we are doing means we are finding “cases” where they do not exist. Link
(3) This is another example of cherry-picked data. The Washington DC Mask Mandate was put in place on July 22, 2020 and you can see via this link, there was indeed a reduction in cases over late July and into August. However, you’ll notice there was a “spike in cases” in the fall that mimics many states, cities, counties and countries. If masks are so effective why did we see a “spike” like this in Washington, D.C., and in nearly every jurisdiction around the world?
(4) This article refers to asymptomatic spread, see note #2 above.
You mentioned on the phone that “masks don’t hurt” and in your note below, you said “they do help slow down the spread of the virus.” Simply put, those statements are incorrect. Masks cause an increase in upper respiratory distress, reduction in blood oxygen levels, and an increase in cavities and gum disease, not to mention the psychological effects of forcing an entire healthy population to cover their faces. Here are some great sources.
Sir, if you agree that the mask mandates are at the very least non-sensical, help me fight them. Your refusal to push back, or ask questions, suggests you support this never-ending State of Emergency and the associated mask mandates and crowd limits. I have tried for months to get an answer from Governor Northam regarding what he is looking for in order to end the State of Emergency. A certain threshold of deaths per month or week? A vaccine? Complete elimination of positive tests? We need to know his goals. Or, we need to make him admit he doesn’t have any. Either way, we deserve answers, and I’m having NO luck getting them. Please help me.