//Masks for Dummies X

Masks for Dummies X

By I. smiley G. Calderón smileygcalderon@gmail.com

We’ve definitely got to be some of the dumbest dummies of them all.

To think that for the past year, we believed that the straightforward and easy practice of wearing a face mask in public would be a ‘no-brainer’ policy. Believing that everyone in our community would willfully get behind the idea and enforce masks is laughable – in a sad, ironically cruel kind of way. It says a lot about our society and our concern (or lack thereof) for our fellow man.

I remember at the beginning of this Masks For Dummies (MFD) series, last year, I urged people to get ahold of the best masks they could find as fast as they could – or make their own (if need be) – and wear those masks out in public for personal protection. Today, I’m still urging the same. 

And the reason hasn’t changed: we know this coronavirus is severe. Like how we quickly learned back then and know for certain now, this deadly new virus spreads from person to person by super tiny airborne particles (that we can’t see). Those particles leave the mouths of those infected during coughing or sneezing – or even just by talking – and are then effortlessly inhaled by nearby unsuspecting victims. Days later, the virus multiplies and rapidly spreads throughout the body. Soon after, hospitalization and emergency life-saving medical intervention are urgently required. Death is just around the corner in a matter of days. This coronavirus doesn’t play.

We have lost over 555,000 Americans to this unrelenting pandemic. Over 1,600 have been right here in Fresno.

In previous MFD articles, I wrote about the science behind coronavirus infection and transmission. And I’ve repeatedly talked about the effectiveness of wearing masks as a crucial mitigation tool during this emergency. The truth is, every major (and minor) health agency in the U.S. and around the world has validated the practice of mask-wearing for protection against the coronavirus. It’s a proven fact that masks work. 

So, of course, I had to also talk about the crazy pushback from ‘anti-maskers’ who mock the basic idea that masks help prevent coronavirus infection and spread. These are the same people who blatantly disregard our city ordinances and statewide mandates for public mask-wearing and purposefully terrorize our community with their maskless faces.

I say ‘terrorize’ because, in effect, that’s precisely what these offenders are doing to the rest of us who are fearful for our lives during this pandemic. We don’t want to get infected with a deadly respiratory disease just because of some stupid maskless dimwits. So, they don’t ‘believe’ in the effectiveness of masks, which apparently then gives them the ‘right’ to endanger the lives of everyone around them by not wearing one? How dumb and inconsiderate. Don’t they know that whether or not they ‘believe’ in the science of masks, their beliefs won’t stop the spread of the coronavirus? That’s what masks are for.

They really work – masks really do. But I’m not gonna waste any more time right here trying to convince you of it. You can go back and read my previous articles if you’re still unsure. If you’re still denying, though, you’re probably also the type who insists that the official death tolls I listed above are also fake or inflated. You probably tell yourself that the media or the government is purposefully aggrandizing the numbers to scare everyone, to bamboozle the world into some dark, dystopian future. And you’re too smart for them, right? A half-million Americans just couldn’t possibly have died due to Covid. Those deaths must be attributable to other underlying conditions or diseases, like heart disease and asthma, you convince yourself. You soothe and comfort your palpable fears of an uncertain and terrifying pandemic by telling yourself that the situation can’t truly be that bad and that there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.

But you’re wrong. The situation is that bad. And, you can do something about it, too. You can wear your mask. You can help stop the spread. We all can do it together.

How do we know for sure that the deaths reported to be caused by Covid are actually, in fact, deaths caused by Covid and not deaths caused by something else? Well, first off, why in the hell would anyone lie about this? That’s just crazy. Do you really believe there is a coordinated universal plan to deceive the world with inflated Covid mortality statistics? I’m tired of these extravagant Covid conspiracy theories. Stories like how hospitals list down more Covid deaths to get more money per death from the government. As if hospitals have an incentive to have more Covid deaths than other deaths! No. This is all wrong.  

You can get an idea of how wrong these bizarro conspiracy theories are when you understand the simple epidemiological concept of ‘Excess Mortality.’ The Excess Death measurement for the past year here in the U.S. is currently at 604,545. 

So, what does this metric tell us? It’s telling us that there have been 604,545 extra deaths than what typically happened last year. These deaths are ‘extra.’ And what tragic, ‘extra’ event can you think of that happened this past year that has killed millions worldwide? Exactly.

I already told you that over 555,000 reported Covid deaths here in the U.S. – that is, deaths that have been directly and officially attributed to Covid. And, this value makes sense in light of the Extra Death metric. 

Official Covid deaths easily account for a significant portion of the extra deaths reported over the past year. But, if we look closer, it also tells us something more dismal, actually. After accounting for official Covid deaths, there are still 50,000 unaccounted excess deaths. So, where did these deaths come from, and what caused them? Could it be that our official Covid death tally is missing some 50,000 names?

Well, what do you know – instead of overreporting Covid deaths as so many conspiracy theorists blindly claim, we have actually been underreporting them in real-time. After we sort through all the data, and only after the pandemic ends, will we be able to clearly see whether the pandemic was worse than we thought.

Don’t be a dummy. Don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. Wear your mask. Get vaccinated. And tell all your friends and family to do the same.

This race is almost over. But we can do this – together.