Voting Rights

Mask Mandates and the Right to Vote

Would requiring masks for in-person voting infringe constitutional rights?

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Due to Covid-19, this fall's election is likely to see record absentee voting and vote-by-mail. Many voters will nonetheless choose to vote in person at their local polling places, but questions remain about the best way to administer a voting system during a pandemic.

What can local election officials do to ensue that people are able to vote in a safe manner. Some jurisdictions are reportedly exploring moving polling places to facilities, such as stadiums, where there will be ample space for lines with social distancing. Fewer, larger polling places that can accommodate more people may also help address concerns about a shortage of poll workers in some jurisdictions.

Many state governors have imposed mask mandates in public places, particularly where people congregate. Presumably these requirements will apply at polling locations. Could such requirements be open to legal challenge? Does the legal authority to impose a mask requirement when entering a store extend to the polling place? Or would such a requirement risk unduly burdening the constitutional right to vote? Masks may not be particularly expensive, but they may still be difficult to obtain for some people, so is it constitutional to require them? Even small burdens on the right to vote may raise constitutional concerns.

I would think a mask requirement would be constitutional under Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, in which the Supreme Court upheld a photo ID requirement for voting in person. If the state's interest in election integrity was sufficient to require a photo ID, the state's interest in preventing the spread of Covid-19 should be sufficient to justify requiring a mask. The risk of Covid-19 is far greater than the risk of in-person voter fraud. The burden in Crawford was also deemed rather minimal, in large part because the state did not charge for identification. The burden was gong to get a qualifying ID, not paying for one.

Under Crawford, the easiest solution would be for polling locations to provide masks to those who show up to vote without one (much like many restaurants and stores do in jurisdictions with mask mandates), but this could be a significant added expense for election authorities, particularly in poorer jurisdictions. Election administration is underfunded in much of the country already, even without this added expense. Those communities that lack the resources to ensure an adequate number of voting machines are not likely to have the cash to spare for extra masks.

Easier absentee voting, early voting, and vote-by-mail would also lessen the burden of such a requirement, but not everyone can or will avail themselves of such opportunities. Presumably some share of those who wait to vote until election day are people who are less concerned about Covid-19, and who might be less inclined to wear a mask. We have all seen viral videos of people having meltdowns when asked to wear a mask to go into the supermarket. What happens when someone is denied the right to vote? If I am correct that Crawford controls (and I would be curious whether readers disagree with me on that point), I think election authorities could deny entrance to a would-be voter without a mask, particularly if masks were made available to those who come without one.

One other issue worth considering is how mask requirements may interact with local laws requiring photo ID. After all, the whole point of such requirements is to confirm the identity of the voter, and that is harder to do if the voter is wearing a mask. If a governor or state health director has imposed a mask mandate, but state election laws require photo ID, which must yield? Are would be voters required to remove their masks for the purpose of identification? (And who would want to be a poll worker under such conditions?) The risks from Covid-19 are substantially greater than the risks of voter fraud, so does that mean voter ID requirements would be trumped by mask mandates? In many jurisdictions state law may provide an answer, but I would also be curious whether there is a case that the Constitution does too.

This is another set of things election officials should think about between now and November.

NEXT: Administrative Law in the Age of Trump

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  1. Thanks for the thoughtful questions and ideas. I’m a Vermont election official in a town of slightly more than two thousand registered voters, of which less than a thousand cast votes in the primary August 11 primary; about two-thirds of votes cast were by mail. Here’s what we did to help people vote safely in the primary on August 11.
    1) Through a statewide initiative, all registered voters were sent a postage-paid postcard they could return to request an absentee ballot.
    2) Our town’s interpretation of the state mask mandate required anyone entering the school that serves as the polling place to wear a mask.
    3) Our town had disposable masks on hand for anyone who came without a mask. In a state where the importance of mask wearing is widely accepted, I didn’t see anyone arrive without a mask, but I was only around for about half the hours the polls were open.
    4) For those who wanted to vote without putting on a mask, we were prepared to send a poll worker outside to help them vote. I believe I saw that happen once in our town.

    1. What is the legal liability if someone has a life-threatening allergic reaction to the mask you give the person and require be worn?

      A lot of these things are made in China, not a country exactly known for quality control. (Remember the plastic in the pet food?)

      I put on such a mask a few weeks back and started to have a major histamine response, started to have trouble breathing, and took the damn thing off before things got any worse. And while I’m not the type of person to sue folks, what would be the liability of someone like the above well-intended municipal employee if I were.

      And who winds up liable should there be any medical expenses? The fine print of my medical insurance says that they have the right to subrogate…

      1. Almost every business in every mask-mandated area has figured this out. Masks are required to enter, and if you don’t have one, they usually provide one.

        Your hysterical claims of the hypothetical harms of wearing a mask for a few minutes nonwithstanding. IANAL, but I don’t think you can collect for psychosomatic reactions, unless they were intentionally inflicted.

        1. But Ed had a histamine response!! (Which is such a shocker given how he was already predisposed to believe that wearing a mask was unsafe). Someone is going to have to pay up if they require Ed to wear a mask, which I have no doubt he will have some type of negative reaction to (unless maybe if it’s a Made in America MAGA mask).

          Maybe Congress could just grant everyone in the mask process blanket immunity….kind of like firearms.

          1. Logical Thinking 101: if one has an allergic reaction to one particular mask and not to those made by other companies, what is the variable here?

            I think masks are asinine and unsafe (long term) for other reasons, but an immediate allergic reaction to anything (including bee stings or peanuts) is not something to ignore. And anyone with an IQ above 12 can clearly identify non- psychosomatic symptoms of an allergic reaction, e.g. eyes watering, changes in skin color, etc. Claiming that your lips are going numb or that you can’t breathe, maybe — but you can’t fake stuff like this.

            1. But apparently you can still lie about it on the internet!

            2. I hear you Ed. I put on a mask and it gave me cancer. SAD!

            3. Dr. Ed, a friend of mine had a dizzy spell in her mask the other day. She avoids wearing it except for shopping, (Texas mandate), because she has difficulty breathing in it. I have diminished lung capacity due to heavy scarring from chain-smoking parents, childhood bronchitis, and bouts of double pneumonia and have chosen to hold a scarf over my face, instead of the more restrictive mask. We are given the choice in our state.

              According to the mandate, there are medical exemptions to having to wear a mask or face covering but no clarification as to how to claim the exemption such that door monitors, store managers, and other shoppers don’t get upset or want you thrown out. Anyway, who wants to show strangers one’s name, doctors’ names, and carry around medical files? There should be some official card that can be issued, instead. I’m thinking, also, police-style tee shirts with large COP- D graphics! Who would bother you then?

              It really seems as if officials have not bothered to standardize the exercise of this exemption, because they really want everybody, whether COPD, allergy, etc. afflicted, to have to wear the mask, notwithstanding the fact so few people are dying or have died merely *from* Covid, especially those not in their late senior years. People who can’t breathe sufficiently well in them shouldn’t be forced to wear them. A mask requirement for voting imposes
              a far more onerous and physical burden on some voters than does the mere presentation of a picture ID.

              No doubt your allergic response is real. There are number of reports of mask wearers experiencing respiratory distress, dizziness, and bad headaches. Please listen to your body and avoid those cheap imported masks. Too, have read that “better” tight-fitting masks cause even greater hypoxia. Perhaps consider draping a Middle Eastern Keffiyeh of organic cotton loosely over your face and be totally cool. Oh, sunglasses, too!

              1. Medical masks do not cause or exacerbate hypoxia. This has been proven with pulse oximeters numerous times.

                You are a liar and a twat.

                1. Cavanaugh, I don’t like you, either, but why don’t you show us reputable studies that prove absolutely no hypoxia issues with medical masks? I at least provided citations and a link to a prelim study and a neurosurgeon’s evaluation saying they do. You know I’m not lying, but you’d rather be a keyboard arsehole than debate facts and interpretation, as any artless clod would do.

                  Please, wear your mask everywhere you go, upload your tracing apps, and take your vax and boosters like a good soy boy.

      2. What is the legal liability if someone has a life-threatening allergic reaction to the mask you give the person and require be worn?

        What if someone claimed that they couldn’t wear pants in public because they had a life-threatening allergy to pants?

        The reaction would that the person is obviously insane – you can’t be allergic to “masks.” You could be allergic to certain materials used to make them, but there are many different alternative materials.

        1. OK, what happens if someone is allergic to something in the mask which you provide?

          Or, conversely, if you required someone to change into your pants and the person was allergic to something in them?

          And unlike pants, which *are* regulated by the CPSC, masks aren’t. At all.

          https://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws–Standards/Statutes/Flammable-Fabrics-Act

          1. Moral is: If you are a person with a hypersensitivity to a certain type of mask . . . BRING YOUR OWN FUCKING MASK TO THE VOTING CENTER.

            Voila. Problem solved. I have ZERO sympathy for any voter who shows up in November having refused to wear any mask for 9-10 months, and then finds out that she/he has some sensitivity. Zero! If that person had not been such an utter asshole for 2/3 of a year, that person would have discovered the snowflake condition and would have brought a mask made of different stuff.

            You don’t have to be a fan of masks to still wear one in public. Esp on the one day every 2 years when you have to be in public, to vote, and when others have to be around you, so they can vote.

      3. What is the legal liability if someone has a life-threatening allergic reaction to the mask you give the person and require be worn?

        I imagine it would be similar to the liability if someone had a “life-threatening allergic reaction” to touching the ballot, or the pen, or the “I Voted” sticker. All of which are about equally likely.

        I put on such a mask a few weeks back and started to have a major histamine response, started to have trouble breathing, and took the damn thing off before things got any worse.

        No, you didn’t.

        1. I imagine it would be similar to the liability if someone had a “life-threatening allergic reaction” to touching the ballot, or the pen, or the “I Voted” sticker. All of which are about equally likely.

          Question: Why is inhaling smoke fatal while holding your hand over it not? Is your skin a protective barrier that your lungs aren’t?

          Hint: Think a firefighter’s SCBA — it only covers his face, not the rest of his head. Why is that?

          1. Dr. Ed, why are you even bothering to argue the obvious? Mask Party partisans couldn’t possibly believe masks don’t restrict breathing and could never trigger allergic and other adverse health reactions. Always they attempt to crowd-bully non-members into submission. The tag-teaming isn’t working on you, obviously, but the rude and ridiculous assertions don’t bear responding to. They will never ever concede your personal experience or logic.

            1. Miss G,
              To be fair to the other commentators; you may not be aware that Ed has a long and well-documented history of claiming person experiences which always coincidentally support his arguments. It’s sort of a running joke.

              I suspect that if you had made the exact same statement, people would be much more inclined to believe you. “The Ed who cried Wolf!” is perhaps an illustrative literary example.

              1. sigh…’personal’ experiences…

                stupid lack of Edit button. 🙁

              2. “Coincidentally?” Why would he or anyone post experiences which don’t confirm his opinions? Could it be that the opinions are based on the experiences? No, say those who don’t like his recommendations, he lies about it all. These people think everybody has opinions first, then make up experiences to match, and it makes you wonder if that is the way they do things.

                At least he is posting a personal experience as justification. Contrast this with AOC who claimed that most people have to work two jobs just to maintain poverty level living, or Obama and his bitter clingers, or Hillary and her deplorables — none based on any personal experiences.

      4. What is the legal liability if someone has a life-threatening allergic reaction to the mask you give the person and require be worn?

        The same as the legal liability if someone is killed by a herd of stampeding unicorns after you give a mask to someone.

      5. I put on such a mask a few weeks back and started to have a major histamine response, started to have trouble breathing, and took the damn thing off before things got any worse.

        No, you didn’t.

  2. I have yet to see a rational “cloth face covering” discussion address the medical reasons people cannot wear a mask. All of the mandates in my and surrounding counties first say “everybody has to wear a mask”. Then they define a mask correctly as actually a CDC “cloth face covering”. Then they provide exemptions like babies, exercising, and this one “Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition; or . . . “.
    So I wrote my council member to see what was involved in that exemption.
    I got this:
    ” As a point of clarification, the Mayor’s Executive Order requiring Face Coverings is not an enforceable mandate. As such, there are not procedural requirements in place for those individuals who cannot tolerate a face covering for medical, sensory or any other condition which makes it difficult from them to utilize a face covering. Further, the CDC document you reference are guidelines – also not an enforceable mandate, but the Mayor’s Executive Order and the exceptions therein do align with the CDC guidelines.”
    So I have to wear a mask unless I can’t wear a mask, but there is no way to get official documentation I can’t wear a mask, so I get yelled at by Karen.
    And, oh by the way, in the next county over, there is alleged to be a $500.00 fine for not wearing the mask I cannot wear.
    So how does that work at the polls?
    What happened to the ADA?

    1. Wrap a towel around your head and poke a couple of holes to see.

      That’s how useless masks are.

    2. Seeing that the ADA is enforced by the DOJ, I’m thinking that you might do quite well in a formal complaint filed with them.

      IANALNDIWTBO, but I suspect that the local store owner is the one who wind up paying you five (possibly six) figures as (a) Federal law supersedes state/local law, and (b) the county will say something like it did above.

      As I understand it, ADA bypasses the 11th Amendment via the enforcement clause of the 14th Amendment, although I am not quite sure how.

      1. Seeing that the ADA is enforced by the DOJ,

        No.

        IANALNDIWTBO, but I suspect that the local store owner is the one who wind up paying you five (possibly six) figures as (a) Federal law supersedes state/local law, and (b) the county will say something like it did above.

        I don’t think you understand how law works. In litigation, one has to put on sworn testimony; one can’t just fabricate a claim that one can’t wear a mask, the way one can in a blog comment section.

        Also, the ADA does not allow you to infect other people because you make up a claim that you can’t wear a mask.

        1. OK, I can’t figure out that acronym despite my best efforts.

          1. I am not a lawyer nor do I want to be one.

    3. If masks were really that effective, why are children under age 5 exempted?

      1. Also, if they were really effective, it wouldn’t matter that some aren’t wearing a mask, because the people who are wearing one would be protected.

        Also, if “social distancing” actual worked, masks wouldn’t be required.

        All of this has nothing to do about science, and everything to do about fear and power.

        1. Social distancing does actually work – it is the single most important factor/protocol to reduce the risk of transmission.

          The second most important protocol is reducing the time of interaction with other humans.

          Those two protocols reduce the risk of transmission upwards of 90+%

          Masks are a distant 3rd in importance. Since the emerging evidence points to aerosols being the primary mode of transmission vs droplets.

          masks do provide a statistical significant benefit when a person us unable to social distance for an extended period of time.

          The misunderstanding / misinterpretation is the assumption that the benefits of the masks apply in all settings equally,

          1. Exactly. Masks are superfluous. It makes no sense to mandate them.

            Even social distancing is somewhat arbitrary. But let’s not rile the sheep up too much. /wink.

            1. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are useless, but there is evidence they are effective as part of ‘covid theater’. In such it looks like the highest value of a mask is that it helps reinforce social distancing. It may also remind people to reduce interaction time.

              As far as the arbitrariness of 6′, of course it is that’s why it’s 6.54′ (2m) in the metric world. But it seems to be good enough for day to day.

              Also like with the security theater of wands and bag checks when they still had concerts, it seems to work well enough to make most people feel safe enough to still shop and then not sure if they do get sick.

              1. {This is a second attempt comment, because my reply went into moderation due to hyper-links, which I’ll re-do.]

                Unlike security theater, Paul Schuster, mask wearing can have depressive effects on the immune system and adverse cardio-vascular and brain functioning, to name a few. Masks have been shown to lower the oxygen levels in blood and to muddle thinking.

                Here’s a study [link below] showing the diminishment of O2 levels in the blood of surgeons after several hours of wearing loose medical masks in ORs, even despite the more easily breathed super filtered, cool, and, very often positive pressure air supply of surgical environments. The physiological effects of wearing loose masks in far less filtered, non-pressurized and often quite humid air are more pronounced, never mind what they would be for those who wear tight-fitting masks or wear any mask for hours on end, either because they’re fearful or are forced into wearing them all day to keep their jobs.

                Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery:
                sciencedirect (dot) com/science/article/abs/pii/S1130147308702355

                Another good link: Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To Healthy People
                alachuachronicle (dot) com/letter-neurosurgeon-details-risks-of-face-masks/

                1. A couple of other links showing the undesirable physiological effects of mask-wearing:

                  Effects of surgical and FFP2/N95 face masks on cardiopulmonary exercise capacity
                  “Results: The pulmonary function parameters were significantly lower with mask… [T]he ventilation was significantly reduced with both face masks. Peak blood lactate response was reduced with mask. Cardiac output was similar with and without mask. Participants reported consistent and marked discomfort wearing the masks, especially ffpm.”
                  pubmed (dot) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32632523/

                  Risks of N95 Face Mask Use in Subjects With COPD
                  “Breathing frequency, blood oxygen saturation, and exhaled carbon dioxide levels also showed significant [deleterious] differences before and after N95 use.”
                  pubmed (dot) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31992666/

                2. I have no doubt that various styles of masks can have physiological effects, especially on long term use. You can ask anyone that needs to wear one for work, especially if they are not the stlye that is basically a cut up tee-shirt. Painters, and other construction tradesman have talked about it for years. It however seems to be less bad including in a anti-covid regimen than not.

                  As a side note there are a number of people that can have strong physiological effects to wanding and other metal detecting technologies used in security theater. People with pacemakers, and cochlear implants are two that spring to mind. These are known but the tech is still used.

                  1. Yes, Paul Schuster, security tech, masks, and vaccines can hurt some people, and those people and parents need to speak stand up for their own health and for that of their children, because the government, your neighbors, the people next to you in line, and many posters here won’t. Most people are woefully uninformed or simply conform, despite.

                    At its most benign, the official attitude and, increasingly, law wrt such things has come to be a casual “one size fits all”; less generously, it’s one of “it’s our choice to protect others, even at the expense of your personal health and autonomy.” Currently, all this over an infection whose numbers have been demonstrated to be exaggerated and corrupted and whose mortality demographics and specifics do not warrant forcing entire populations to wear masks and be injected with new vaccines, as opposed to letting natural immunity work with each mutation.

                    As you mentioned, airport wanding and Xray tech can be unhealthy for some people exposed to it, even when properly working, but also incrementally can hurt everyone when not calibrated to spec (which has been shown to be the case more often than we’re officially told.) I always opt for the hands-on pat-down, which is quite crude and the guards often brusque, but I think it important not to concede our physical persons to the State or believe their assurances of safety, when too much has been documented to the contrary.

                3. Miss Greenparker cites a “preliminary report” which I haven’t read, and which I suspect she hasn’t either. However, the summary she links to states that the results “may be either due to the facial mask or the operational stress.” In other words, the researchers did not determine whether the changes in O2 levels were the result of wearing masks.

                  One might expect that after producing this report, the researchers would conduct additional studies to determine whether masks were the cause of the change in O2 levels, but Miss Greenparker doesn’t direct us to any followup research. Given that the report was published in 2008, it would seem that this line of research was abandoned–or there was a final report which Miss Greenparker neglected to mention because it didn’t support her position.

                  1. Due to the IP rights link of the article I linked, I didn’t access the entire study, but did link to a paper by a neurosurgeon who has worn masks in surgery. He read that study and others, some of which are cited in his piece, and concluded the following re surgical masks, (and please note they are looser than many of the types that people are currently wearing):

                    “While most agree that the N95 mask can cause significant hypoxia and hypercapnia, another study of surgical masks found significant reductions in blood oxygen as well. In this study, researchers examined the blood oxygen levels in 53 surgeons using an oximeter. They measured blood oxygenation before surgery as well as at the end of surgeries.[4] The researchers found that the mask reduced the blood oxygen levels (pa02) significantly. The longer the duration of wearing the mask, the greater the fall in blood oxygen levels.

                    “The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity…”

                    I don’t know of any follow-up research to that study; since last March when I scanned for potential adverse health effects of mask-wearing and found a number of authoritative citations, including from the CDC, it has been increasingly difficult to find any studies or articles that aren’t rah-rah over mask-wearing. As to the summary you’re discussing, one could suspect the inclusion of the possibility “operational stress” is a bit of wriggle room regarding percentage allocation (from 1 to 100%) of masks effecting the oxygen levels drops in *calm, experienced, and often physically fit* surgeons breathing super filtered and higher pressured air. My guess is that operational stress would have a negligible effect on O2 levels for seasoned surgeons, but someone here might be able to access the entire study and show us more about the methodology and whether there are any links to follow-ups.

                    Following the logic of “operational stress” being the sole oxygen-thieving culprit, there should be many studies of daily occupational and personal stressful activities that lower people’s oxygen levels and depress their immune systems, especially since most are not as fit as surgeons and work and live in less than clean air. In the unlikely case operational stress is the only “operative” reason surgeons in the study experienced O2 depletion levels, the very last recommendation public health pros should make to people at large who also experience all sorts of stress at work and home would be to wear masks that, at a minimum, make breathing more difficult and bacterial build-up greater. Instead, there should be mandatory meditation breaks, constant testing, and employer-supplied oxygen bars for workers.

                    All of the many instances of headaches and episodes of dizziness and confusion that mask wearers experience is unrelated to the masks or oxygen levels, perhaps, according to you. Do you wear a mask for any length of time on a regular basis? I suspect that most people on this forum who dismiss any and all concerns regarding masks do not have to wear them eight hours a day to pull a paycheck. Some here castigate those who won’t put them on for a short dash into a store, but I’ve seen zero concern about those who must wear them all day. Perhaps the ones here who claim there is no difference in the O2 and CO2 levels that mask wearers experience vs. non-wearers also sleep with a sheet or light blanket over their heads and tuck their children into bed at night with the sheet over their faces.

              2. Masks reduce physical distancing, by increasing confidence among the idiot masses. Go to stores without a mask, people stay away. Wear one, people walk closely, pick items off shelves right in your face.

              3. The WHO and Europe use three feet. We use six. It’s arbitrary.

                They’re useless when you consider the trade-offs.

                There’s enough to suggest, as I’ve mentioned in other rants, voluntary usage but not mandates.

                So I don’t agree we should accept this new form of habit. They can easily say, ‘Know what? Millions of viruses swirl around us all the time. Keep the masks ‘just in case’.

                If it makes people feel better, so be it but that’s their problem. Up until now, people didn’t feel the need to engage in such theatre and now public health officials decided it was wise to turn people into fearful sheep with OCD.

                Not good psychologically.

                Oh. Wear a helmet since head injuries are dangerous.

          2. I think you basically have this right. Not sure your 90% numbers is accurate, but that’s a minor quibble.

            Distance is the most important factor, followed by limiting time or potential exposure.

            Masks are only going to do anything if you’re close to another person for long enough to contact enough “load”. In particular, they are not a substitute for maximizing distance and minimizing time, and people shouldn’t think they are immune just because they are wearing a mask.

            When faced with a situation where you are indoors and need to be near other people, masks will help reduce the spread. It’s not 100% effective any more than wearing seat belts prevents 100% of car accident deaths.

            I’m not convinced that “…the emerging evidence points to aerosols being the primary mode of transmission vs droplets.” My read is that the research is still somewhat in flux and may change going forward.

          3. It’s also worth pointing out that masks were the compromise with the other option being shutting everything down. Everyone assumes the debate is between doing things with masks vs. no masks, but that seems like the incorrect debate.

            1. False choice.

              The lockdowns itself were not rooted in science to begin with.

              It was based on faulty models that predicted mass death and calamity.

              It’s bad science all around.

              1. We’re at 177k American deaths WITH these measures.

                I guess in your mind that isn’t ‘mass casualties.’ I hope you’re 177,001.

      2. If masks were effective, every business and school should’ve opened months ago.

        1. If you cunts bothered to wear them, perhaps we could have opened up our economy the way you desire.

          1. We could open at any time. Never should have closed.

            Lockdowns and masks have no effect on coronavirus spread or number of deaths or hospitalizations.

            Hand hygiene and distancing are the only measures proven to slow the spread.

            Not that we should be slowing spread. Places with early, wide spread now have very few cases.

            We should have just sequestered the vulnerable and let herd immunity play out among the others.

    4. Fortunately for you, you can avoid the problem altogether by just not being a giant asshole.

      1. Too late for you, then.

    5. There isn’t one, because there isn’t any medical or scientific reason for people to wear a mask. It’s all about power, not science

      1. Yes; it’s all a conspiracy by Big Mask.

        1. WHO said that healthy people did not need to wear masks?

          1. 1) You’re saying something different than Faux Patrick Henry.

            2) Even if the claim that healthy people don’t need to wear masks were accurate, saying “healthy people” begs the question. Most people have no way to know whether they are healthy or just asymptomatic.

            1. Asymptomatic people are nearly as infectious as presymptomatic or symptomatic individuals

              1. oops – typo – asymptomatic individuals are not as infectious as pre-symptomatic or symptomatic individuals

                1. Setting aside whether that’s correct, for the purpose of this discussion there’s no difference between presymptomatic and asymptomatic.

                  1. “for the purpose of this discussion there’s no difference between presymptomatic and asymptomatic.”

                    Good try – however – I presume you are up to speed on the known science that asymptomatic individuals are significantly less infectious than presymptomatic individuals.

                    1. I don’t think it’s known science, so much as a preliminary observation. But you miss my point: even if it’s true, there’s no way to know whether someone is presymptomatic or asymptomatic until after the fact. When someone is deciding whether to put on a mask, there are only three possibilities:

                      1) Currently sick.
                      2) Recovered.
                      3) Not displaying symptoms.

                      #3 could mean healthy, presymptomatic, or asymptomatic. Unless the person has been in isolation for weeks, he has no way to know which is the case.

  3. The state where I live has a mask in public places especially where social distancing cannot be maintained. At a WalMart store which has a store requirement for mask inside the store has at the entrance a person that stops people without mask and ask if they have a mask or not. If they do the person is ask to put it on to enter the store and not the store provides the mask for the shopper to put on and wear while shopping.
    The states that have a mask order could do the same thing at the polling places. If a voter has a mask have the voter put it on and if not then provide the mask and then have them to put it on to be in line to vote and while voting. Problem solved.
    Now I have heart failure and the mask makes it harder for me to breath but while I am the stores and around people out side of the stores I wear the mask but in my car I don’t since I am around only people in the car that I live with.

    1. I feel bad for people with real medical conditions who can’t wear a mask. It’s like the mental illness stigma. Now they will be berated and ‘shamed’ by some dumbass pant shitter in public screaming ‘don’t be belligerent wear a mask like the rest of the sheep!’

      1. How is that different from someone shouting “Go back to Africa, you N*****”?

        Or sexually harassing female employees? And I know that there is case law on that one….

        Methinks that SprawlMart would have a legal duty to intervene.

        1. For example.

          Someone has a pacemaker and a weak heart. Masks DO impede clear breathing (despite the idiotic statement it doesn’t).

          Someone has asthma.

          Someone has anxiety (in Ontario the buffoons decided it was a good idea to have children in masks ALL DAY. That’s going to be hell for a lot of kids).

          So do people have to tell the ‘rent a cop’ at the door about their personal issues? That seems to be a clear violation of private rights. Why should someone have to reveal to a stranger their medical condition to be able to shop?

          Seems to me the real ‘belligerents’ are the ones buying into this ridiculous charade.

          1. So do people have to tell the ‘rent a cop’ at the door about their personal issues?
            They can’t ask about the specifics or for proof of your medical condition. That doesn’t mean they have to let you in. They must provide reasonable accommodations which will vary depending on the type of business.

          2. “Masks DO impede clear breathing (despite the idiotic statement it doesn’t).”

            Actual tests prove that you are completely wrong. There is no measurable difference noted by pulse oximeters when someone is wearing a mask versus when they are not.

            In fact, someone wore SEVEN masks on top of one another with a pulse oximeter registering NO DIFFERENCE.

            So speaking of idiotic statements, please grace us with more of you own.

            1. “In fact, someone wore SEVEN masks on top of one another with a pulse oximeter registering NO DIFFERENCE.”

              You never do links. I looked for seven masks on Youtube and found a vid demonstrating SIX masks, which was a joke. The “demonstration” lasted less than a minute. Do you think that in less than a minute blood oxygen levels will markedly change?

              The vid was edited and not continuous for this “demonstration.” We did not see this man wear all six masks for even two seconds.
              Also, the cord between this man’s finger oximeter and the monitor could not be seen continuously, and rather oddly so, which is not an unimportant point.

              The medical study I linked in a previous comment measuring before and after blood oxygen levels found a significant decrease in them for surgeons wearing just single masks for over a period of hours. This character in the YouTube vid failed to say that obscuring one’s air passages for only a few minutes plus, depending on one’s condition, will be initially compensated for by faster and deeper breathing, an increased heart rate, lactic acid build-up, etc., before oxygen levels lower.

              That “doctor” should wear those SIX masks for a few hours on end and then measure his blood oxygen levels, instead of a few seconds.

              youtube (dot) com/watch?v=k5npQivAmcE

  4. I’m tired about this mask hysteria. I concede this superstition has won the day as people have bought into its effectiveness despite the vast body of evidence going back decades that prove otherwise. Us ‘belligerents’ have to grin and bear this nonsense.

    Worse, is the idea of people lulling themselves into a faux-virtuous act thus permitting them to shame someone in public. Tell you what, someone attempts to bully me, they’ll get a nice robust response.

    BOTTOM LINE: Masks are non-pharma measures rooted less in science and more in the misapplication of the precautionary principle.

    You want to wear it? Knock yourself out.

    The evidence may suggest usage on a VOLUNTARY basis but it DOES NOT justify curbing civil liberties through coercive mandates.

    I can’t believe in 2020 in battling a virus, this is the best we can come up with: Masks and lockdowns with little scientific evidence to back up such draconian acts of social engineering and economic destruction.

    Oh. Couple of other things.

    The two main drivers of why they insist on masks (aside from basic fear), are droplets and asymptomatic carrier. On both counts, the science is not conclusive. The former tends to fall to the ground. It doesn’t act like a trajectory like fleas jumping on you. And even if it did, the amount needed to infect has to be quite the load as well as being in a tight space for a long period of time.

    So wearing a mask in a polling station or grocery store where everyone is zipping in and out, is a hit or miss act. Period. Sneeze in your damn sleeve, but coughing in your mask is NOT healthy. I can’t believe public officials pimp this crap.

    Those medical masks were NOT created for viruses in community settings but for hospital settings. And the built-in humidity on hot days wearing them, can trap bacteria. Which is why I consider masks for children under 17 to be child abuse.

    Sure, they can spread it but that’s what you want. A virus to spread among the healthy to reach herd immunity. Isolate the sick. Worried about granny? Don’t go see her.

    As for the Asympto-maniacial-granny killers. I’ve yet to see a study that proves we’re killers. We’re al asymptomatic of something 24/7/365. Same as in cold and flu season.

    But here to the research is somewhat weak to the extent we just don’t know how much is spread from them. For the first time in world history, we quarantined the healthy and still ask them to act is if they pose a danger. Here’s the problem with this logic that I find concerning (aside from being a possibly precursor to mandatory vaccines. Sheep like the be herded after all): We’re giving up critical thinking and liberty for SAFETY at all costs. This virus is NOT going away according to experts. So what’s next? Masks 10 months a year?

    What’s the end game?

    So I ask. How long do the ‘pro-maskers’ intend this act of misguided social engineering to go on?

    It’s the most bizarre act of faith I’ve seen in my 48 years of life.

    Wanna wear a mask and mandate it. So be it.

    Just don’t tell me it’s rational and scientific.

    Learn to live with it. If you can’t, drop your narcissism and stay home if you’re too afraid. Don’t ask the rest of us who can keep things in context and accept the risk to bend to your fears.

    Vote for me.

    1. (cont’d).

      To add, to not being scientific and rational. Nor is it righteous.

      This is how you end up with gulags.

      Now. One may say, well it’s a low risk option to save as many lives as it could! We don’t have reliable data that masks stop the spread (just on a basic logical level this doesn’t make sense) or it saves lives. It may, sure, but beware casualty and correlation. But we refuse to consider trade-offs with any of our actions so why bother? TOO HARD! We have too many lives to save!

      But if the government uses this premise, then why in the world to they stand in the way of effective treatments like plasma transfusion and HCQ? Why don’t they promote RFL-100? These treatments have proven to indeed save lives.

      On one end, they argue it’s ok to not have empirical evidence from masks because it’s a ‘tool in the arsenal’. Yet, they turn around and demand empirical evidence from treatments we’ve been using for decades and know to work?

      Excuse me if I tune out now.

      I’m done.

      1. I concur.

        And it’s been openly stated that the masks are just to indicate compliance with medical fiats.

        1. “And it’s been openly stated that the masks are just to indicate compliance with medical fiats.”

          Yes, it’s for the vaccine and many boosters to come. Also, for the proof of vaccination digital tattoo. Btw, our technocrats are telling us the mask mandate will likely be with us for a long time, even after people start accepting the series of jabs.

          A few countries have started a policy of forced quarantine away from home and families and mandatory medical intervention for positive cases, whether one agrees with the protocols or not. In at least one country, the quarantine and forced treatment apply to those merely exposed to “positive cases”, as well.

          May we never get to that point, but the Global Mask Party is clearly trending toward the Progressive goodiness of (medical) coercion for the “collective good,” while denouncing the evils of civil and natural rights and eroding them. Where have we heard and seen this totalitarian morality before?

          1. That’s why it’s important to push back. We’ve signalled we can bend to a mask mandate. Already we’re hearing health commissioners publicly state mandatory vaccines are possible with one saying he would (Virginia).

            I’m not against vaccines, but the reasons they give are chilling (health over liberty as he put it) and we have to stop listening to public health officials.

            Mengele’s ghost awaits.

            1. “We’ve signalled we can bend to a mask mandate.”

              Yes, you are so right, and more than that. We’ve put up with government and media fear-mongering that has had a most unfortunate effect upon children, the elderly, and all Progressives. We’ve had to bow to ridiculously wrong mortality projections and shoddy, confused and corrupted reporting of Covid-caused deaths, (as it turns out, relatively few in nearly all age brackets without comorbidities.)

              We’ve tolerated painful swabs way up our noses and accepted the high incidence of false positive tests that still force people and their contacts into quarantine. We’re too sanguine over tracking intrusions and tracing apps insisted upon by government and schools.

              We’ve politely endured essential supply shortages and food supply chain disruptions, school and religious establishment closings, and the unprecedented quarantining of healthy people. We’ve been subjected to a significant loss of jobs and the senseless destruction of a good part of our economy, the full effects of which we have yet to see.

              Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum features internationally coordinated Covid responses on its site, while declaring “The Great Reset.”

              1. I failed to mention how we’ve quietly accepted problematic travel restrictions, both abroad and within the States. How we, by and large, quietly gave up making medical appointments and scheduling surgeries for several months and are still prohibited from visiting and staying with hospitalized loved ones who, young or old, recovering or dying, are on their own, at least in my big city.

                That Mengele’s ghost must be heartened by our sciency technocrats in white coats and empty-suit politician puppets dancing to the global directorate WHO and not to our “We won’t be fooled, again” Who. What in the world happened to My Generation?

        2. “Openly stated” by whom?

      2. Two points –

        A- Compare and contrast Sweden with NYC/NJ, France Spain, UK, – Those areas had very similar infection rates and death rates. No Masks vs mandated masks, but little difference in end result (other than coumo required infected elderly being required to be readmitted to the long term care homes).

        B) those countries/regions that had high early infection rates now have extremely low infection rates. – Most likely due to developing immunity in the general population.

        1. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland no masks.

          Spikes aren’t waves.

          Viruses don’t come back in ‘stronger forms’.

          This is all stuff I’ve learned on the fly listening to non-politicized doctors including virologists from Oxford and Stanford.

          It’s amazing listening to people barf out the company Fauci line and claim ‘it’s ‘settled science’.

          These people don’t follow science. They follow orders.

      3. ” This is how you end up with gulags. ”

        Wasn’t that battle lost when people submitted to stop signs, center lines, traffic lights, no-parking-in-intersections restrictions, jaywalking ordinances, and similarly tyrannical affronts to our divinely granted American liberties?

        1. I don’t expect you to understand the concept of ‘the path to hell are paved with good intentions’. Everyone and anyone can build up a case for ‘it’s your own good’ and ‘public health’ to force people into accepted a set of rules.

          People believed Jews were a threat. People believed the Kulaks were a threat. People believe healthy people are a threat. You’re already in a place where the government encourages snitching and people talking about how it’s their ‘duty’ to publicly shame.

          I don’t see a difference in the mindset a play here. Naturally, I’m not surprised by your stance.

          The Gulag Archipelago explained the psychology of how gulags come to be very well.

          We’re not that far off in someone saying, ‘maybe we need to put asymptomatic non-mask wearing belligerents’ in a camp.

          In Germany, they flirted with the idea of having such people committed.

          We’re witnessing hysteria in real time.

          You’re just masking – pun intended – your superstition with flawed science and reason.

      4. Studies go both ways, and a meta study found nothing conclusive either way.

        One of the ways masks increase infections is by collecting infective material on both sides; when you take one off or put it back on, your fingers get a big dose; when you talk behind a mask, your air pressure blows off collected material; and coughing of course is worse.

        I jam one in my pocket and only put it on if some greeter says to, just to avoid the idiotic hassles. It comes off as soon as I’ve paid.

    2. What I don’t get is how when we’re told that we have to worry that anyone including ourselves could be an asymptomatic carrier, why people don’t ask who exactly is in danger of getting sick?

    3. You freaking hit the nail on the head. I mean if masks were so effective, it wouldn’t matter than some didn’t wear them, because the mask wearers would be protected.

      And I love the point about masks are designed for specific situations – highly sterile environments with short times and single use. Not multiple times everywhere.

      1. Look up PPE experts explaining the conditions needed for masks to work.

        Then come and tell me if we’re not engaging in kabuki theatre.

        Heck, I even think it poses a public health threat.

        ‘But the doctors!’ Doctors know jack shit about masks. We give in too easily to the credentialed class. Doctors are doctors. They’re no dieticians and they’re not mask experts. They just go with the ‘it can’t hurt do everything we can’ option 1.

        Use your noggin. The information about masks is readily and widely available.

        I find it amazing how little people actually do the research and have little confidence in themselves.

        1. Did not 1200 health experts sanction protests?

  5. I’m not allowed to go to the polls naked, or with clothing that has political content. Is a mask that different?

    If the polling place provides masks for those that do not have them and provides adequate accommodations to those who can’t wear one for medical reasons, I don’t see a problem. Yes, some kooks will have a nut-out over it, just like they are at the grocery stores, but that’s a small price to pay for stopping the spread of Covid.

    1. Ah Chem – “, but that’s a small price to pay for stopping the spread of Covid.”

      Realistically – as deeply embedded Covid is into the general population – do you actually think it is possible to stop the spread.

      Lets be real – Sweden France, UK have effectively stopped the spread via the development of immunity in the general population. There has been some uptick in infections, but Infection Fatality Rates have dropped to very low levels.

      1. France has been reporting c. 3000 cases a day but low single digit deaths.

        Stopping the spread through masks is an exercise in futility if not hubris.

        Sweden had it right all along.

    2. Again. No PROOF it stops the spread. You’re following orders. It *can* have some potential benefits up to 10%-20% but hardly enough to justify a) public shaming and b) mandates.

      And I find it obtuse based on the lack of evidence that people are called ‘kooks’ for CHOOSING to not wear one.

      How did it come to be where one side gets to shame another?

      It’s the very OPPOSITE of reasoned minds.

      It’s the people in masks who are the kooks one can argue.

      1. It’s the norm now. They get to be complete jerks about everything and you must be kind and tolerant and understanding and cater to feelings, no matter whether those fillings are sane or sensible.

        If you’re not perfectly behaved, it’s a hate crime. Meanwhile they’ll send terrorists to pull down statues and commit arson and assault and sometimes murder while they claim they’re victims.

        1. We did two very bad things.

          Set a precedence for lockdowns and conditioned people into a false sense of security with one of the most useless measures.

          It’s preposterous what we’ve done. It angers me really.

          Better than the Middle Ages my ass.

    3. Everything, no matter how burdensome and unnecessary, is always “a small price” for others to pay for [whatever objective].

      1. YUP.

        It’s a bad argument. It hand waves away the reasons for and against, and just says “SHUT UP AND DO IT BECAUSE REASONS”

      2. One of the biggest proponents of the lockdowns were people who got to stay home with full pay. #bakingbread.

        Hey Fauci. You want another lockdown? How’s about you forego your pay and give it to charity until it passes? After all, if it’s so serious and we’re in this together, what better way than to put your money where your mouth is, no?

        Right?

        Ah….not so much, eh?

      3. There is no price too big when others are paying.

  6. What I don’t understand is why we tolerate things like “Methadone Mile.”

    https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/08/22/large-street-fight-methadone-mile-boston/

  7. It’s either completely sensible and the same as not going naked to vote or a super-sinister Fascist conspiracy to suppress minority voting. Whichever story the press and the other extremely dishonest people want to tell that day.

    Same for voter ID and whatever. News media gotta make up some new phony drama every day and then dishonestly push it to divide people and make life worse for Americans.

  8. I find the anti-mask hysteria prevalent in the comments here fascinating, yet disturbing. I have yet to see a Volokh Conspiritor voice anti-mask sentiment on the front page, yet it is ubiquitous in the comments. I’m wondering if the commenters would be swayed by a post by someone like Adler, Somin, or EV himself.

    For the record, masks have been used in the medical profession to reduce transmission of airborne pathogens since the advent of the germ theory of disease. Yet we have multiple commenters every day stating flatly that masks do not work, based on what? Not science or the opinion of mainstream medical professionals. This flies in the face of over a hundred years of standard medical practice. Every surgeon, every nurse, every EMT is wrong about this and you know better than they do? Are you serious?

    I’m not sure where this anti-science prejudice comes from, but I don’t spend a lot of time reading Q Anon conspiracy theories or listening to AM talk radio.

    To cite just one example, the AAMC states flatly “Mounting scientific research shows that widespread wearing of masks, along with practicing social distancing and frequent hand-washing, would greatly reduce community transmission of the virus. ”

    So, what credible information source is out there proving that masks are not effective? Sorry, self produced YouTube videos don’t count.

    1. It’s a libertarian blog, so it attracts all the individuals in society that believe they are Princes unto themselves, and ought not have to abide by any rules established by elected officials.

      I imagine being a Citizen-Prince in a democracy would be incredibly frustrating.

      1. This is not a libertarian blog.

        Most of the Conspirators are movement conservatives.

        The most libertarian Conspirator draws nothing but ire in the comments.

        Plenty of faux libertarianism at both ends of that equation, though.

    2. I’ll remind everyone that back at the end of February Dr. Emmanuel on Biden’s campaign team stated that masks would not prevent you from getting the virus. He changed his tune once it became a campaign issue of course. Much of what Biden and his team said early in 2020 into the spring was completely wrong. Of course the media won’t bring it up again but would rather pretend all the anti mask stuff was only republicans which is completely false. Once again the media bias is evident and not some old canard as stated here previously. I am shocked I found this at all since they love to memory hole their mistakes.

      Read the transcript here from February 29, 2020:
      http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2002/29/se.01.html

      1. The primary benefit of masks is not that they prevent the wearer from becoming infected; the primary benefit is that it prevents an infected person from spreading the virus.

        That is, you wear a mask to prevent yourself from infecting others. This basic fact seems to have not registered with the anti-mask folks.

        Dr. Emmanuel is correct that wearing a mask will not prevent you from getting the virus, but it will help reduce the spread to others. None of this is 100%.

        Also, back in February there was an acute shortage of N95 masks and no one wanted to see the general population using them when it was far more crucial that health care workers have them.

      2. This is the same Dr. Emmanuel who wants us to stop preventative medical treatment at age 75

    3. A simple cloth face cover is not an N-95 mask. As for surgical mask they are sufficient to stop droplets from contacting exposed tissue.
      In either case, without proper fitting and wearing, they are at best 30% effective in stopping virions. By far distancing to more that 10 feet and limiting proximity to a few seconds is the most effective.
      Frequent air exchange is also highly effective. Garages are not appropriate polling places, masks or no masks; outdoor pooling (open sided tents make much more sense. Having poll-workers behind transparent screens also makes sense.

    4. Wearing a mask isn’t the same as bullying and arresting people for not wearing a mask.

    5. “For the record, masks have been used in the medical profession to reduce transmission of airborne pathogens since the advent of the germ theory of disease. Yet we have multiple commenters every day stating flatly that masks do not work, based on what? Not science or the opinion of mainstream medical professionals. This flies in the face of over a hundred years of standard medical practice. Every surgeon, every nurse, every EMT is wrong about this and you know better than they do? Are you serious?”

      Ah chem –

      Typical – Unable to distinquish environments where masks do provide a healthy reduction in the risk in transmission and environments where masks are pretty much worthless.

      In the medical/clinical / surgery environments, the medical staff is violating Space and time, the two biggest factors in transmission. Secondly, medical / clinical/surgery settings have a high rate of transmissions of germs. With the possible exception of mass transit, and large gatherings, no other settings come close to violating space and time and therefore the risks of transmission is already very low, negating any significant additional benefit of the mask.

      1. Got a cite for any of this? Or are you just making stuff up? And what, exactly does it mean to “violate space and time”?

        If what you are espousing is backed up by some credible information source, let’s see it.

        1. Because you cited sources for your assertions?

          1. I’ve posted links to John Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic, AAMC, and the CDC. Or you can just google “covid mask effective” and see what reliable sources of information turn up.

            What I haven’t seen is any reliable source supporting the assertion that masks are not effective.

              1. The article you cite make no such claims i.e. that anyone “…presented SIGNIFICANT evidence that general mask wearing – even in hospitals! – do nothing to stop the spread of disease. ”

                The case involved the nurses union who objected to a rule that forced them to either get a flu vaccine or wear a mask. Since the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, the mask rule was ruled unreasonable.

                Nothing in the article about masks being ineffective, and it’s hardly a scientific article – more about labour law in Canada.

              2. ah….Clem below did not read your link very well, as it clearly states:

                “Experts testified that it was illogical to force healthy nurses to wear masks, and Hayes concluded the masks were not protecting patients or nurses from the flu.

                “The sad part about it is it was giving our patients a false sense of security, and we knew that,’ said Haslam-Stroud.”

                1. My above comment to Patrick Henry, the 2nd, regarding ah…Clem’s response to PH’s link in which Clem asserted there was “[n]othing in the article about masks being ineffective, and it’s hardly a scientific article…”

                  A key excerpt from the linked article bears repeating: “Experts testified that it was illogical to force healthy nurses to wear masks, and Hayes concluded the masks were not protecting patients or nurses from the flu.

                  “The sad part about it is it was giving our patients a false sense of security, and we knew that,’ said Haslam-Stroud.”

                  1. ” masks were not protecting patients or nurses from the flu.”

                    The nurses get vaccines to protect patients and nurses from the flu. Masking up is backup.

                    1. Not at correct, James Pollock. The point of the whole article was that nurses be allowed to refuse the vaccination and not have to wear masks, as a result, and which was interpreted as “shaming.”

                      Here is the very first sentence of the article:

                      “The Ontario Nurses Association says hospitals will no longer be allowed to shame health-care workers into getting a flu shot following an arbitrator’s ruling striking down a ‘vaccinate or mask’ policy.”

                      The article goes on to report: “Arbitrator Jim Hayes found the ‘vaccinate or mask’ policy was unreasonable, and ‘a coercive tool’ to force health-care workers to get the flu shot.

                      “Experts testified that it was illogical to force healthy nurses to wear masks, and Hayes concluded the masks were not protecting patients or nurses from the flu.

                      “The sad part about it is it was giving our patients a false sense of security, and we knew that,’ said Haslam-Stroud.”

                    2. Correction: “Not at all, correct” 🙂

            1. “What I haven’t seen is any reliable source supporting the assertion that masks are not effective.”

              Ah chem – We are not claiming that masks are ineffective, – what is being pointed out is that Space (aka social distancing ) and time (aka reduction in time of interaction ) are far more effective in reducing the spread. Wearing masks in most environments/settings provide a statistical insignificant reduction in the risk of transmission after taking into account the reductions provided by social distancing and reduction of time.

              The CDC/Mayo/ Hopkins, etc all show significant reduction in transmission in absolute terms, but they are not adjusting for the different environments. The mask advocates are making the common mistake of assuming the reduction is equal in all settings.

              The

              1. Joe,

                You may not be claiming that masks are ineffective, but there is no shortage of others who are.

                I do not disagree that increased distance and reduced contact time are effective preventive measures, and may be more effective than masks.

                I question your assertion that ” Wearing masks in most environments/settings provide a statistical insignificant reduction in the risk of transmission…” That sounds all precise and scientific, but I haven’t seen anything to back it up. Maybe you’re right about that – show me the evidence.

                1. the emerging evidence points to aerosols being the primary vehicle for transmission with droplets being secondary mode of transmission. if aerosols, then masks reduce transmission by approx 10%, If droplets, then masks reduce transmission 40-60%. Space and time combined reduce the risk of transmission by 90+%

                  The CDC/Mayo/Hopkins studies touting masks seem to be heavy in controlled lab studies with few real world studies for the mask. Along with an emphasis on settings as if the risk of transmission was high.

                  A good source of studies with out the agenda’s is Judithcurry.com.
                  She is running several articles on Covid, again without the typical agenda driven angles. Nic lewis, a statistician has a lot of articles
                  on covid.

                  1. Thanks for the link.

                    Now I know were you’re getting your information – a self-published blog from a contrarian climate denialist, who’s now selling Covid contrarianism.

                    1. judith curry is in no way a climate denialist – For anyone making that claim has a serious deficiency in scientific knowledge.

                    2. He’s talking about Nic Lewis, who actually has a strong background in math and statistics and spends lots of time embarrassing (if they were capable of being embarrassed) climate alarmists who don’t have that sort of background and thus routinely bake elementary mathematical and statistical gaffes into their papers.

                2. I agree that many are claiming that masks dont work. – Ie that mask are as effective as using a chain link fence to keep mosquito’s out. that is partly true in the case of aerosol transmission due to the venting of the exhaled air via the sides of the mask and above the nose. Much less so with droplet transmission. So i agree that masks do work, Just that they dont reduce the risk as significantly as advocated.

                  My comment that masks provide a statistically insignificant reduction stems from the economic concept of marginal cost/ marginal benefit. Similar to the law of diminishing returns. Whereas the mask advocates are using the cost benefit analysis, ie that the reduction in the risk of transmission remains the same across all settings.

                  A good analogy is wearing a motorcycle helmet or wearing a seat belt. Both are great for reducing head and body trauma. But wearing a mask across most settings is equivalent to requiring a helmet to be worn when walking the dog.

                  1. ” i agree that masks do work, Just that they dont reduce the risk as significantly as advocated. ”

                    Any reduction in risk is significant, particularly to people in those demographics that have high morbidity from this virus. For them, their odds of surviving the pandemic are affected by the likelihood that they come in contact with the virus. Those people are why you’re being required to surrender you right to socialize maskless. The fact that you expect to survive an infection has no relation to your potential effect on someone else.
                    Anyway, demanding your right to endanger other people is simple selfishness, and trying to dress it up as anything else is probably not going to work.

                    I offer a story:
                    A couple of years ago, a young man in my community was run down by a car while he walked home from school. The car had veered off the road, jumped the curb, and went through the sidewalk before crossing a couple of lawns and ending up crashing into a house. It later turned out that the lady who’d been driving the car had a form of epilepsy and had been advised not to drive by a physician. After the accident, she was uninjured, because seatbelt and crumple zones protected her, but the young man she ran over was dead. In the end, it wasn’t about the risk she put herself in, it was about the poor dead kid lying in the sidewalk.

                    1. Any reduction in risk is significant

                      This is the same sort of one-dimensional thinking as the pervasive meme, “if we can save JUST ONE LIFE, this is all worth it.”

                      It’s short-sighted and dangerous to evaluate reduction of one specific risk in a vacuum. That’s why we typically don’t do it. Here, irrational hysteria has (hopefully temporarily, but the signs are not good) blunted people’s ability to keep track of the bigger picture.

                      Anyway, demanding your right to endanger other people is simple selfishness, and trying to dress it up as anything else is probably not going to work.

                      Rhetoric like that sure sounds and feels good now, but once you truly embrace that “logic” the masks can never come off. There’s simply no intellectually honest limiting principle that can allow you to take this position and then somehow cast spreading influenza around (particularly to the elderly) as anything other than “endanger[ing] other people.”

                      If you’re cool with that outcome, that’s fine. I am not.

            2. You posted links? Is that in your imagination? None of your posts in this topic have links.

              1. the fact that you can’t see them doesn’ t prove they weren’t posted.

        2. I believe Einstein wrote an article describing how medical staff violate Space and time.

        3. Space and time – those terms should be obvious in the context of the risk of transmission –

          Space – also known as social distancing
          Time – Time of interaction with other humans – reducing time of interaction reduces the risk of transmission

          violating space and time – You made reference to the medical profession wearing masks and the benefits in the reduction of transmission along with the implication that masks are therefore always beneficial. However, they are beneficial in the medical/clinical setting precisely because they are violating space and time.

          I did not think that you would need any citation since these concepts are common knowledge –

        4. Chem you have not been paying and attention to the actual science of virion spread. Space = distance that a virion must travel to a potential person to be infected. Time – the duration that one is in the proximity of an infected person.

          Rather than posting snarks, learn some real science

      2. ” With the possible exception of mass transit, and large gatherings, no other settings come close to violating space and time and therefore the risks of transmission is already very low”

        Schools and daycares are worse than mass transit. The kids aren’t packed together as tightly as a subway train car, but neither do they take any precautions against disease transmimssion.

        The first, best choice is to avoid contact with anyone is, or may be, carrying the virus. Second best is mask + frequent disinfection. Third-best is being a proud patriot protective of your rights. Fourth-best is blissful ignorance. Being in one of those last two categories just isn’t enough to stop the spread of a pandemic.

        Note that treating every other person in the world as a possible disease carrier does not limit the spread of a virus if they didn’t have it, and neither did you. Neither does NOT treating every other person in the world as a possible disease carrier. a scientific study will readily confirm this. To get any useful science out of it, you have to know who has the virus. There’s a reason that the early discovery of virii was made using the Tobacco Mosaic virus… it’s fairly easy to tell if a tobacco plant has the tobacco mosaic virus or not. In humans, it’s harder to tell if the human organism is infected with a virus, until the infection has had time to progress. Coronavirus disease has the ability to produce severe symptoms (including death of the host), but isn’t obvious in all cases of infection.

    6. “For the record, masks have been used in the medical profession to reduce transmission of airborne pathogens since the advent of the germ theory of disease.”

      And yet, that may not actually be true. If you’re interested in some facts…

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480558/

      1. What the article actually says: “Examination of the literature revealed much of the published work on the matter to be quite dated and often studies had poorly elucidated methodologies.”

        So, doctors figured out sometime in the early 1900s that masks were effective, but since the studies were done long ago they are “dated” and utilized methodologies that are not up to today’s standards.

        Ok. Whatever.

        1. They can be effective. They may work in certain condition and circumstances. I have to read the study in detail but notice there’s a part where 20% wear it out of tradition. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement as you misleadingly push.

          Again. There’s enough to suggest encouraging people to wear it. But there’s not enough to mandate it and turn us into sheep.

          None.

          Nada.

          Zero.

          Think of it, the only way it works is if you have 80% (and that’s being kind) compliance. Well shiiiiiiiit, if you have 90% compliance on anything it’s likely to work or not.

          In short, requiring high compliance points, I would argue, to the uselessness of its utility.

          Let’s use hockey as an example since this is a causality/correlation puzzle.

          Up until the 1980s helmets weren’t used. For such a violent game, you would think head injuries would have been high and even led to death. But it never did and we just don’t have data on the rate of concussions which we can only guess was high – or not.

          Then players started to wear them. Hockey fans will remember the likes of Steve Shutt, Butch Goring and Bjorne Salming wearing them but Harold Snepts, Guy Lafleur and Craig MacTavish not. The game was shifting and becoming even faster and the the slap shot harder.

          Then the league mandated helmets. One would assume that they work. But hold on.

          The game IS faster and presumably more dangerous, but would head injuries be higher without a helmet mandate? They did a study a few years back showing helmets aren’t that effective. Companies thought the technology was such that it could stop concussions but they learned concussions are near impossible to protect against.

          The game became far more dangerous as stick swinging, hits to the head, and other uncommon dirty play not seen in the ‘old time days’ became prevalent.

          Can it be the helmet gave a false sense of security? Better equipment may psychologically fool players into taking more chances with their dirty play

          Now, of course, no one in their right mind would go play hockey without a helmet. But would it be less safe if we still had Bobby Orr swirling around without one?

          I see this kind of near impossibility of judging if masks for viruses actually work.

          I’m just thinking out loud here but I don’t think masks should be normalized.

          1. I wish I had been wearing full body padding on June 25th when I went out for a walk. I got startled by a dog, fell down, and broke my left arm. If I had been wearing full body padding like a US football player or a hockey player, maybe I would not have broken my arm.

          2. “. For such a violent game, you would think head injuries would have been high and even led to death. But it never did”

            Or it did, but not immediately, so people didn’t pick up the connection. CTE is a slow death.

            1. “Or it did, but not immediately, so people didn’t pick up the connection.”

              For some people, though, if they didn’t see it — or Jesus didn’t tell them about it — it didn’t happen.

              People denied the smoking-cancer connection. People denied the NFL’s head injury problem. People are still denying that human activity is causing climate change.

              Some people are just dopes.

    7. BASED ON WHAT?

      Dude, there are dozens upon dozens of studies going back to the 1920s determining they’r inconclusive!

      My only point of contention is wear it if you think it works. However, you have NO RIGHT to pretend science is on your side so as to compel others into your position let alone a fricken government mandate because, again for the 10th time spread across a couple of threads, the science DOES NOT back you up.

      You clearly are too lazy to read up on it choosing instead to repeat the tiresome stuff we hear.

      If you want, find my email and I’ll send you them all. So spare your dumbass Qanon, anti-vaxxer pseudo-intellectual gibberish.

      So what they state it flatly? ‘Mounting scientific research’ my foot. I’ve read every single one of those studies and they don’t persuade one iota. They’re flawed. Whereas those that determine they don’t work are conclusive. Remember, a lot of these studies came BEFORE this thing became a religious movement and politicized. So they’re likely to be as sober as they come.

      And think for a damn minute. WIDESPREAD. If they can force you to act like this for a virus, imagine what they can push you to do. And that’s assuming there’s PROPER HANDLING in perfect conditions. You’re not going to get the virus shopping for bananas, pal. Wake up.

      For the love of God….THINK about your personal rights.

      So I FLIP it back to you. How ‘pro-maskers’ can possibly think this known non-pharma measure works is bizarre. If they worked, why didn’t they mandate them during every flu season?

      Is this what you want? Wearing one 10 months out of the year?

      May as well wear a helmet 24/7 because you’re more likely to get killed in a car accident than get Covid. In fact, you’re likely to get killed or contract other diseases before you get this virus wit a survival rate of 99.85% or thereabouts.

      1. “So I FLIP it back to you. How ‘pro-maskers’ can possibly think this known non-pharma measure works is bizarre. If they worked, why didn’t they mandate them during every flu season?”

        There’s vaccine for flu. Healthcare workers get that, instead.

    8. If shitty masks worked, every business and school should be open.

      If shitty masks worked, no nurses or doctors or EMTs would have caught Coronavirus or died.

      1. Except that the mask is only part of the plan. surface contact still exists no matter how good the mask you have is. Your surgeon scrubs his or her hands before operating, and wears sterile gloves, and a surgical mask. If the mask alone could stop infections, they wouldn’t need to go through all that every surgery.

        1. Surgeons start every patient on antibiotics right after surgery, despite sterile conditions, gloves, masks, and scrubbing clean the patient’s skin.

          Why? Masks don’t stop the spread of germs to the patient. They are worn as a centuries old tradition, because it’s what patients expect and avoids getting patient’s blood and shit in their mouth, but surgeons know they don’t help the patient.

          Gloves do help, in protecting the surgeon. They don’t help the patient.

          That’s why every patient has to take antibiotics after surgery.

  9. The infection rate in the US is approx 1.7%
    The infection rate in Sweden is approx 0.85%

    Check worldmeters for the infection rate in other countries

    If the primary mode of infection is via droplets, masks reduce the risk of transmission by approx 40%-50%
    If the primary mode of infection is via aerosols, then masks reduce the risk of transmission by approx 10-20%

    Space and time (social distancing and reduction in time in contact with other humans) reduce the risk of transmission by upwards of 90-95%.

    If the 1-%-2% risk of transmission has been reduced by space and time down to 0.1% to 0.2% (2% x 10%) then how much additional reduction in risk of transmission does the mask provide? Going from approx .2% down to 0.1% . That reduction is statistically insignificant. Also known as Beta Phi Delta – translated – Big Freaking deal.

    The point is that even if masks do a great job of stopping the virus, Space and time are vastly more effective, rendering masks basically a side show.

    1. The mask is for those times and places where you can’t avoid contact with other people. Staying six feet away from everyone else and touching nothing that anyone else has touched is highly effective at limiting transmission. When that isn’t possible, you go to the next-best approach, which is frequent hand-washing and the best mask you can get ahold of.

      1. Two points
        A) masks are mandated where the risk of transmission is trivial.
        B) The mandate is based on the concept of that since the masks reduce the transmission by x%, therefore the reduction / benefit of masks remain high in virtually all settings.

        Basically, the equivalent that since seat belts save lives, then seat belts should be mandated when sitting on the couch watching TV (maybe not the extreme, but an appropriate analogy)

  10. Many Trump voters are actually stupid enough to refuse to show up at the polls if they are required to wear a mask. It reminds me of conspiracy theorists who refused to cooperate with the Obama Administration’s census workers in 2010.

    This should be interesting.

    1. It’s not like the Obama Administration was doing stuff like using the IRS to suppress opposition groups. Oh, wait… they actually were doing that.

      1. And what is it with the constant psy-op that Trump is going to become a dictator? Well now the objective is clear. I thought it was just to keep their voter based engage “SAVE DEMOCRACY” but I think it goes deeper. They want to make anyone who contests the election viewed as illegitimate even if there are real and reasonable problems with it. Part of the mechanics of a free society is the freedom to question the elections. The left is seeking to shut down that avenue and it is telling as to their ultimate game plan.

        1. “And what is it with the constant psy-op that Trump is going to become a dictator?”

          The one Trump keeps feeding by seeing something that dictators do, like marching the military through the capital, and then announcing that he wants to do it, too?
          The unmarked vehicles pulling people off the streets didn’t offer much comfort, either.

      2. “It’s not like the Obama Administration was doing stuff like using the IRS to suppress opposition groups.”

        No, it’s not. Nixon was doing that, and got caught, establishing a pretty good lesson for people capable of accurately remembering the past.

    2. Always projection with these people.

      1. Are you one of “these people”?

  11. The Libs have no problem telling people to engage in high risk activity like protesting. But vote in person where social distancing is easy? Heck no, we need mail in ballots. It is almost like they are trying to rig the election…

    1. “The Libs have no problem telling people to engage in high risk activity like protesting.”

      Somebody is telling you to engage in high-risk activity like protesting?

  12. The chief benefit of compulsory masks for in person voting is that it makes voting lots of times under different names much easier. It saves gas on a trip to a different polling place.

    Also the problem about mask mandates hitting the poor harder than the not so poor is easily solved – waive the requirement for polling places in poor urban areas.

    The virus does not strike at protestors justly protesting, or poor urban voters voting justly. It focusses on churchgoers and suchlike.

    1. It works for the neighborhood kids who switch up masks to Trick or Treat houses giving out the good candy…

      1. Which, of course, is also a federal felony.

  13. Can I wear a mask at the polls that says MAGA or “Biden 2020”?

    1. Depends on your state’s electioneering laws.

  14. In a recent election in my area I volunteered to be a partisan vote count monitor.

    I will never ever vote by mail ever again. If you are a Republican and you vote by mail you are sending your ballot to the trashcan.

    The monitors are so far away they can’t see anything and there are people who can see your ballots and who you voted for and have no controls except their own personal morals.

    Which, since they are most likely Democrats counting, means they will throw your vote in the trash.

    1. We all know that is the Democrat plan hence why they want to make it seem illegitimately to question any and all election returns.

      1. Yesterday NPR claimed that 500,000 mail-in ballots were invalidated in the 2020 elections. The Ds want to loosen the rules fro invalidating ballots making the validity of the county even more suspect.
        Remember ballot counting is not a divine proclamation; it is a measurement of the intentions of the public. Like all measurements it is subject to error. The less rigorously defined a process for accepting ballots, the greater the potential systematic and statistical errors in the vote count. The less rigorously defined a process for accepting ballots, more ballots will be treated unequally and those who cast them have less than equal protection of the law.

        1. Well that was the crux of Bush v. Gore that you can’t count ballots with a differing set of criteria in every local municipality without a very real equal protection violation. Sounds pretty basic, but that got lost in translation…

          1. Indeed it was. If we scale the primaries to November one can expect as many as a few million mail-in ballots not being counted. Unless Biden wins in a crushing landslide, we’ll never hear the end of the complaining

            1. ” Unless Biden wins in a crushing landslide, we’ll never hear the end of the complaining”

              After Biden wins in a crushing landslide, you’ll never hear the end of the complaining. There hasn’t even been a single ballot counted yet, and the complaining already started.

              AND you have the President promising that this will be the most corrupt election in American history.

              1. Well he probably isn’t wrong about the most corrupt election is the history of the country. The left has put all their money down on Biden and if they don’t win they know Trump isn’t going to hold back the next four years.

                1. No one has to claim that the election is corrupt to say that the likelihood is that the count has the greatest margin of error in history, based on real elections in 2020.

              2. James, You had absolutely zero to say about the point of error in the vote count. Typical from you. Just a partisan snark in reply to a serious point.

                1. “Partisan” Snark from a non-partisan??? Is it possible that your vision of the world is somewhat biased by your own partisan attachment?

    2. “The monitors are so far away they can’t see anything and there are people who can see your ballots and who you voted for and have no controls except their own personal morals.”

      Your system is screwed up if there’s a link between your identification and your ballot. For example, in Oregon, where all elections have been all mail-in for a couple of decades now, you send in your ballot in a package that has the verification that you submitted it (the signature to match against the one you filed with the election office when you registered.) and inside that is an envelope with the ballot in it. So they get your mail-in ballot, verify the signature, and if it matches the open the outer envelope and toss the inner envelope into the “to be counted” bin. Then, later on, someone else takes all the “to be counted” ballots, opens the envelope and feeds the ballot inside into the machine where it gets counted. Now, there isn’t anything about the outer sleeve that indicates which party you belong to, so unless you’re so well-known as a party member that somebody’s gonna recognize your name, the only way your ballot winds up in the trash is if you can’t sign your name to match the reference card. The people who feed the counting machines can tell by looking at the ballot who you voted for, but they can’t divert your ballot once they’ve seen it because the parties have observers who watch the people handling live ballots. A couple of election cycles back, they did catch an election worker filling in ballots where the voter had declined to select a candidate in a particular race. It wasn’t someone adding votes for the Democratic candidates, and they weren’t able to alter enough ballots to change the outcome of any races.

  15. My damn fine AG has already made it clear to the overreaching governor that masks cannot be required as a condition to vote. Problem solved.

    1. There are 49 other AGs.

  16. Photo ID requirement is not a problem. The voter can remove their mask for a second or two for the election official to make the comparison. The state needs to provide better protection for election officials.

    1. “The voter can remove their mask for a second or two for the election official to make the comparison. The state needs to provide better protection for election officials.”

      So, let’s “protect” everyone who is seemingly healthy enough to make to the polls:

      1.  Mandate that all election officials wear masks, googles, and gloves or masks, face shields, and gloves and replace the gloves upon each instance of having to actually handle an ID in order to see it better, so as not to spread potential Covid germs to the next person whose ID must be handled by the official.

      2. Mandate masks and perhaps eye protection for all voters.

      3.  Mandate that each voter, who, when undergoing identity verification removes and re-places his mask that is potentially contaminated from aerolisized killer Covid on the outside and expelled bacteria and possibly Covid saturated spittle on the inside, then sanitize his hands using a poll-supplied dispenser or his own, lest he touch and taint items the next voter will touch. As we all know, health officials say that adjusting and merely touching our masks will spread the disease, so this step is essential.

      In other words, in the name of stopping the Covid scourge, that unrealistic second or two should more properly become 10 -20 seconds, as the election official oversees the squirts of supplied sanitizer and watches for proper hand-rubbing and wringing.   When voters, instead, prefer to dig out their own brands of anti-Covid sanitizers from their pockets or purses, add another 5-10 seconds on average.

      1. Just give all the people who show up at the polls ballots that have been pre-filled-out to reflect a vote for Trump. Voila! an instant end to the threat of vote fraud! Even Trump can’t complain about that this proposal (watch him do it anyway.)

    2. Agreed.

      I flew internationally BOS-FRA in February, right around the time the Wuhan coronavirus was beginning to make waves. (The outbound flight was unimpeded; the return FRA-SFO flight I had to say I hadn’t traveled through China.) I had acquired a severe cold a couple days earlier, so (after reading up on why Asians wear masks so much, and in airports, and learning it was usually a sign that they were sick and were protecting everyone else) I went out of my way and visited half a dozen different CVS/Walgreen locations from Cambridge into downtown Boston before I found one with procedural face masks in stock. Good thing, too — I had a pretty bad hacking cough for a few days there, and I killed some time in public spaces before checking into an Airbnb. And obviously neither place would have been polite to be in without a mask, given what I sounded like.

      Passing through security at Logan, I had to pull the mask down for TSA to verify my identity against my photo ID. It wasn’t a big deal. Pulled it back up and continued on, then at the passport-check automated controls right before boarding the plane I had to pull it down again and push it back up. Granted, the virus wasn’t so prevalent so the risk of the virus was lower…but the risk of getting my cold which I definitely had was probably much worse than getting the virus now.

      Poll workers can wear gloves and masks. They can have people place the ID on a table, step back and lower the mask, then replace the mask and pick up the ID after a couple seconds’ check. It’s not a big deal.

      1. Well, the flight out was in January — flight back was early February. (And for anyone wondering, it was not COVID-19 at that point, it hadn’t been named, and the virus is not the disease and I meant to invoke specifically the virus.)

  17. Presumably, the real challenge is matching the prospective voter’s photo ID to their actual face when it is obscured by a mask.

  18. One way to handle this would be to follow the science. There’s zero statistical evidence that masks make any difference whatsoever in suppressing the spread of any virus, much less COVID. The CDC’s own infectious response guidelines mandate evaluation of close contact, even if masks were worn[1]. The reason is that the masks worn by the public at large are highly likely to be ineffective due to numerous factors around fit, quality and filtration.

    The best defense indoors remains good movement of air by HVAC systems, maintaining good hygiene, diet and cardiovascular health, and distancing, or at least minimizing the time you spend in close proximity to someone.

    You can safely do all of the above without requiring people to wear a mostly ineffective piece of cloth.

    [1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html

    1. ” There’s zero statistical evidence that masks make any difference whatsoever in suppressing the spread of any virus, much less COVID.”

      You’re overstating your case. What kind of mask makes a huge difference, and you’re totally ignoring it.

  19. It’s tin foil hats here in the comments, all the way down.

    1. Is it constitutional to require prospective voters to remove their tinfoil hats in order to be allowed to cast a ballot?

      1. No, but it’s ok to ask them to turn off the magnetic field zorchilizer first. On the hats I’ve seen it’s above the right ear.

  20. Oh w’at tangled webs are weaved when we practice to believe lies. Stupid pantie faces!

  21. “If a governor or state health director has imposed a mask mandate, but state election laws require photo ID, which must yield? Are would be voters required to remove their masks for the purpose of identification? (And who would want to be a poll worker under such conditions?)”

    Pretty good precedent on all three questions, if you’ve been to an airport recently. The mask is mandatory until the TSA officer orders you to lower it for identification, at which point not wearing it is mandatory. The officer then orders you to put it back on, and it is again mandatory. And there are plenty of people willing to be TSA officers under such conditions.

    PS If someone claims voter fraud and terrorism are different types of threats, just change the justification for voter ID and unmasking to “preventing terrorists from blowing up polling places”.

    1. “PS If someone claims voter fraud and terrorism are different types of threats, just change the justification for voter ID and unmasking to ‘preventing terrorists from blowing up polling places’.”

      Say, it’s almost like you think claiming “because terrorism” is an excuse for everything and anything.

      1. You don’t understand the importance of authority. It doesn’t matter so much whether the mask is mandatory or compulsory, the important thing is that always it be one or the other. The logic is irrefutable.

        5. Serious problems, whether they’re a virus or terrorism, can only be addressed by taking rational measures.
        4. Measures are only effective if there is compliance.
        3. Compliance by definition implies authority.
        2. Therefore, authority is the basis for solving any problem.
        1. And it follows that authority must be the first priority, before even asking what one is going to do with it.

        Can’t believe you needed to have this explained to you. Terrorism, droplets, whatever. They have to say what gets people to comply.

    2. Came to post this, pretty much — with the addition of my own personal barely-pre-COVID-19 experience flying internationally with a severe cold wearing a mask.

  22. State mask mandates may very well be unconstitutional under State constitutions, and courts may rule so. But I don’t see where the US Constitution gives federal courts the ability to tell States how to run elections in this way.

  23. To grant your argument, one must accept the premise that “[t]he risks from Covid-19 are substantially greater than the risks of voter fraud.” In light of the fact that coronavirus seriously affects only a small fraction of the total population, whereas voter fraud dilutes votes and has the potential to undermine the validity of our republic, I reject your premise. The only risks from coronavirus that are substantially greater than voter fraud flow from the gov’t’s reaction thereto, not the disease itself, e.g., mask mandates, lockdowns, and other authoritarian edicts. Beyond that, and the data bears this out, the virus does not pose an existential threat to humankind. I had always hoped that, eventually, reasonable minds would prevail as it relates to the Covid discussion. Thus far, that hope has not been fulfilled, as educated people continue to accept and promulgate the fallacious mainstream narrative about ‘rona. I guess that paranoia, like cocaine, is a hell of drug.

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