Yes, Wearing a Mask Matters

Last week, posting was light, in part because I caught a cold* from someone**. I also was at an in-person conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, and by the last couple of hours or so on Wednesday, my symptoms had started–which I only realized in retrospect. But because I wear an N95 mask in these situations, I mostly likely didn’t infect anyone.

The point isn’t that I’m an awesome person, but that, if we all did this routinely, we wouldn’t be making other people sick nearly as often–and no, this wasn’t COVID, but it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable week either. And if it had turned out to be COVID, well, I could have infected the whole conference***.

It’s just not that hard to be considerate of other people, and take reasonable measures to not infect them. Wear a mask.

*Multiple antigen tests and one LAMP test. Based on Bob Wachter’s data for UCSF hospital, even when asymptomatic patients tested positive in single digits, the large majority of patients didn’t test positive for COVID. A cold is just a cold sometimes.

**Related to the above point, the person I caught it from didn’t test positive either (daily antigen tests).

***Many viral diseases don’t really become infectious until symptom onset. That’s why COVID is so nefarious: even with vaccination (which also lowers the asypmtomatic, but infectious period), someone with COVID can infect others in the absence of noticeable symptoms. In my case, that would have been Tuesday (no symptoms at all), but I still wore an N95 mask then. Of course, most other people weren’t wearing masks either…

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