June 14th, 2024

City mask bylaw is a powerful tool


By Letter to the Editor on June 18, 2021.

Editor:
Councillor Hyggen has once again attempted to quash the city’s mask bylaw. His previous argument alongside two other councillors, was that a provincial wide mask mandate negated the usefulness of a local mandate.
With the provincial government poised to lift the mask bylaw in early July, Hyggen’s argument is now moot.
He cites low case loads, increasing vaccinations and widespread compliance throughout the city as evidence of progress. That is certainly true but there are two important details to consider.
The first to quote the councillor himself, is that most people are wearing masks in accordance with the law, which is exactly correct but to assume this will continue sans a legal requirement is naive.
Consider for a second, removing speed limits on highways and see how many folk continue to drive at speeds considered safe. The law is a powerful tool.
Second, our premier and health minister have stated several times that we have “crushed” this virus. We most certainly have not and with the rise of more dangerous variants and soon to be voluntary mask wearing, another wave could well be on the horizon.
Thank goodness, sound medical advice and reasoning was followed by a majority on city council – as a result, we will continue to have one more line of defence against a weakened but still dangerous opponent.
John P. Nightingale
Lethbridge

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phlushie

John, take any intersection in Lethbrigde with two stop signs. observe it for an hour and determine the percentage that stop. I doubt that this would exceed 10%. Yes law is a powerful tool.

John P Nightingale

I cannot say I have ever sat for an hour to observe traffic violators. Neither do I have the inclination to do so now but assuming you are correct (and I seriously doubt it) that 10% you mention
may well prevent an accident or, in the case of masks reduce transmissibility. Perhaps you would also agree that bike helmets and set belts are redundant and an intrusion to ones freedom because of some repeat offenders. That despite the fact that these laws have saved lives. Once the “intrusive” requirements are eliminated be it helmets, seat belts or masks , the number of non conforming members of the public will increase. A German study released earlier this year showed an increase in cases of COVID in areas of the country which did not have mandatory mask wearing laws. (This study was not peer-reviewed.)
Masks have reduced transmission and have helped contain the outbreak.

tom mcdonald

Experts disagree with you guys….

Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine wrote that “despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.” Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta says there is no need for masks unless one is elderly or high risk. Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya has said that “mask mandates are not supported by the scientific data. . . . There is no scientific evidence that mask mandates work to slow the spread of the disease.” A new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professors Martin Z. Bazant, professor of chemical engineering and applied mathematics, and John W.M. Bush, professor of applied mathematics found the following about social distancing: “The distancing isn’t helping you that much and it’s also giving you a false sense of security because you’re as safe at 6 feet as you are at 60 feet if you’re indoors. Everyone in that space is at roughly the same risk, actually.” Throughout this pandemic, the WHO’s “Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19” has included the following statement: “At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID-19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.” The CDC, in a review of influenza pandemics in May 2020, “did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.” And until the WHO removed it on October 21, 2020—the WHO had published the fact that “the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider.” 

This is the latest, greatest pandemic mask science we’ve got at present. If it worked I’d be all for it, but it doesn’t. We shouldn’t be so invested on one side of an issue not to consider the evidence when it contradicts our personal preferences. Maybe one day our leopard masks made from discarded clothes will be effective against respiratory viruses, but right now they’re not…. not even those official looking “dr’s” masks are. It’ll be alright in the end…. if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
Seth Anthony

Most of what you posted falls under the category of “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

Virus molecules cling to water molecules, which in turn cling to the mask. For a few reasons, masks aren’t 100% effective, but their effectiveness percentage is a number well above 0.

Above and beyond that, there are numerous and thorough scientific studies to prove that. Although, anyone with a basic understanding of science would already know that.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
tom mcdonald

Oh, I don’t know, Seth. The folks I listed seem to have a pretty good grasp of basic science. However, you could be right… I guess I’m gonna cast my bet with the Oxford, Stanford, MIT, WHO crowd and their studies and conclusions. BUT, you could be right…. Yes, I’m sure their effectiveness % is greater than zero (not arguing that point), but I guess the debate is is it greater than the harms they can cause – of which there are many too. We can’t seem to have an honest discussion about that without casting aspersions. The desire to control others is strong too, sadly.

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
Seth Anthony

Please post the links to the studies you’re referring to.

Here is just one of the many studies that show the efficacy of mask wearing:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2?fbclid=IwAR0HbSTy0Sv8WArHXwg6PJBUKunjUL34FxED42Cz95zaNeI6-DCWFhe04e0

What harm from mask wearing are you referring to? I mean you might have a minor valid point in this regard, but I fully suspect that even if you could prove some harm from mask wearing, the benefits of wearing a mask would far outweigh any harm.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
tom mcdonald

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/332293/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.4-eng.pdf
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042291v2.full-text
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/17/e2018995118
https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/masking-lack-of-evidence-with-politics/

Here are the studies requested….

I am surprised that you have not seen any information discussed on harms of mask wearing and here is another part of my concern. Any information supporting the government’s position is promoted/pushed/taught as gospel, while anything questioning it is suppressed/ignored/punished by the media, governments, and government supported academia. This is all quite anti-science and does not support finding the best path forward. If masks are so darn effective, then by all means, please wear your mask and let the rest of us hicks die from covid…. I don’t understand how freedom of choice isn’t the answer for this and many other problems. Live and let live to the greatest degree possible. My best friend, comedy connoisseur, and intellectual giant, h2ofield, and others were having this discussion in the comments section of another herald article here….. As you will see, I have no desire to force my preferences on anyone else…. I just ask for the same in return.
https://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/opinions/2021/05/12/endangering-other-peoples-lives-not-a-charter-right/

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
phlushie

the water droplet THEORY was the justification used to warrant the legal requirement for mandatory use of masks
this was the justification used to warrant the legal requirement for mandatory use of masks

Last edited 2 years ago by phlushie
John P Nightingale

Since you brought up influenza and other respiratory viruses, why is it that countries in the Southern Hemisphere and now here in northern countries have had next to zero influenza cases this year?
Simply because of (to some extent) social distancing, hand washing , lockdowns AND mask wearing.
As I said, it is but a simple tool to enhance the populations health.There are many studies completely refuting those cited above.”Our review of the literature offers evidence in favour of widespread mask use to reduce community transmissions” (of COVID) ( Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA / Jeremy Howard, Austin Huang and others.)
For another reference read: “Face Masks What The Data Say” (Nature Oct 2020).
This is not just about YOU, it is about simply lessening the chance of contracting the disease but perhaps more importantly preventing transmission to others.
Why would Gupta accept the fact “ the mask be worn around the elderly or in confined , crowded spaces “ if they were of little use. Clearly she believes their value in the aforementioned setting. She also , last October cited Sweden as a source of inspiration because of their approach which was the “herd immunity” concept pure and simple – except that it did not work!
The list of deniers is short , those supporting the use , even recognizing there limited use overall, is long.

tom mcdonald

John, I guess I’m not understanding how my promoting freedom for you and me…. you get to wear your mask, along with anyone else that wants to, stay home, go out, whatever, where, I, and a few others, might choose differently (great!)… is making it all about me, and you saying we need to force everyone to act according to your preferences by law and punishment, turns you into Mother Teresa concerned about everyone, but yourself? I absolutely admit to being slow and not the sharpest knife in the drawer (ask h2ofield!), but I just can’t wrap my mind around that one. Perhaps you can please try to explain that to me one more time?

I’ve never argued not to protect the most vulnerable (along with Gupta)… this seems obvious and the right thing to do (but even then I’d give them the same freedom as everyone else).

Oh, I suppose we can have a ‘scientific study’ measuring contest all day, but suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree, as unsatisfying as that is.

But to your point, I think Sweden is an important case study, as is FL, TX, SD and a few other jurisdictions that didn’t shut down early, and hard, with overarching mask mandates etc, etc. Without them it would be all too easy for heavy handed gov’t and those ‘my way, or the highway’ proponents to play both sides of the fence and say: “See! We saved you! With out us, it would’ve been way worse.” This would have been unfalsifiable if everyone had reacted the exact same way. Sweden and others who stayed much more open and promoted freedom and personal responsibility had the same results as everyone else… worse than some, better than some (middle to top of the pack for best results from what I’ve seen), for many reasons, but we can clearly see that mask mandates, lock-downs, and ruining lives and livelihoods, did not decrease the overall effects of the pandemic.

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
John P Nightingale

This is not the flu . Sure flu kills annually thousands of people but millions, no. (Funny though how this last flu season was next to nothing). Without intervention, not merely masks but social interventions before vaccines, hospitals had exponential rises in admissions due to COVID and worse, the ICUs were taxed to the hilt.
Therein lies a big problem, which finally abated with a combination of vaccines and multiple social interventions.
You may disagree on masks, which under normal circumstances I would have no issue with but this and to repeat myself, it not about you so much as the population at large. As with anti-vaxxers (not suggesting you are one), the herd immunity concept is compromised by such folk – we have seen this before whenever there measles outbreaks across Canada and elsewhere.
No, masks work, not 100% for sure but it is but a minor intervention in our lives to wear them when indoors in public places at least until as many as possible are fully vaccinated.

tom mcdonald

I respect your opinion. I just think more freedom is the only way everyone gets what they want, pandemic, or no…

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
phlushie

could not be that the simple flu was called covid-19 for the last year, this also refers to the guide line sent to corners to consider to list an unclassified death as covid-19

John P Nightingale

I think you are suggesting that “simple flu” was called COVID FOR THE LAST YEAR. SIMPLE ANSWER IS “NO”. Serological testing confirms totally different viruses. Perhaps you believe Trump who stated publicly multiple times it was the “flu”?
I assume also you mean “coroners” but am puzzled by your source?

Southern Albertan

Let alone the ‘law’, masks are effective. That’s why they are worn by surgical teams and why Alberta health care professionals have been wearing masks for their entire shifts since March/2020. Many of us will continue to wear masks, particularly indoors as long as much more communicable COVID variants such as the Delta variant are still a threat. Even double immunization is not 100% and for a certain percentage of folks, the efficacy percentages may be less than what is touted. This is why the one death at Foothills of the double-vaccinated patient who had the Delta variant did not survive.

tom mcdonald

I’d tell you a covid joke, but there’s a 99.896% chance you won’t get it…

McKnight

In Alberta, the chance of someone not getting it is closer to 95%; but who does math these days?
And one wonders what that number would be if the nation hadn’t taken action?
And try telling that joke to the folks in retirement homes (Those that made it through the storm). See how many of them think it’s even vaguely funny.

tom mcdonald

We went from….

“2 weeks to flatten the curve,” to “not until I see your papers”

In a year.

I did Nazi that coming.

Hope you like this joke better…. I knew you wouldn’t get the first one!

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
h2ofield

Tasteless, classless, cherry-picking douchebag.

tom mcdonald

I bow to the master! I thought you might not be able to resist, my old friend! Haha!

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
h2ofield

pffft. Deluded clown.

tom mcdonald

😙 I love you, h2ofield! I wish I could give you the hug you so desperately need… be well, my friend!

Last edited 2 years ago by tom mcdonald
biff

this is now emerging as a greater issue than covid, notwithstanding how the variants may affect us henceforth.
never before have we authored or accepted the reality of vaccine passports in order to be able to practice fundamental freedoms. but here, with a moderate pandemic no less, we acquiesce to open yet a new door to limitations and infringements. mind you, such incursions upon freedoms are not new…the system just keeps chipping away at them, creating new “abnormals” that we, in short time, come to accept as “normal,” only because we are made scared and insecure enough. before checkstops, our courts nor the majority would ever have found them acceptable; before random carding, ditto; before cctvs everywhere, ditto; before mandatory blood testing in order to be able to do certain jobs, ditto. with the systematic destruction of one’s right to privacy – ie the now exponential mining of people’s digital communications and interests; and, all the while govt and big corp privacy and exceptionalism increases – let me say, welcome to totalitarianism/autocracy.
here is a worthwhile read – easy and light, but wickedly sharp. https://www.evcforum.net/DataDropsite/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Seth Anthony

Peiganman,

Let’s back up for a minute.

I completely agree with your sentiment when you said:

“Never in history have we forcibly quarantined the healthy to make the sick feel better, and harming countless others in countless ways in the process”.

(My underline).

It was pretty much known right from the beginning that Covid had little to no effect on the vast majority of the population, yet immediately, draconian measures ensued, then continued. We could have just temporarily closed the borders, and allowed the vulnerable to isolate if they want. The point is, it should have been the people’s choice, not some bureaucrats choice. Instead we got the, “harming countless others in countless ways.
 

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
Dennis Bremner

I think most people believe that this is about “YOU” as a person, it never was about “YOU” it was always about overloading the health care system. It was never about protecting you. If it had been about protecting “YOU” then they would have handed out N95 masks which protect YOU to the tune of 95% efficiency rather than handing out the 2% masks or allowing people to pull a scarf over their face. 2% masks protect others FROM YOU. 2% masks were never designed to protect YOU. S if you had COVID and were wearing a mask that was 95% then there would be a 5% chance you could spread the virus. If you wear a 2% mask and cough you decelerate the cough but that is all. Its still in the air, its still there. The Health Care “Professionals” knows all this and at NO TIME did they even make a feeble attempt at actually trying to prevent YOU from getting the disease.
So from the onset of COVID it was “protect the health care system from ICU saturation”, that is all!

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
Seth Anthony

My point isn’t about “me or them”, or overloading the health care system.

My point is that this should have been the people’s choice to make. The repercussions of that choice are irrelevant. For example, if the people felt that their choice wasn’t correct, then they simply reverse the choice.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
phlushie

Actually, if you wore an N95 mask you would only be protecting yourself as the masks a valves for exhaled air. So, if you were infected you would still be spreading the virus

Dennis Bremner

You said: QUOTE Councillor Hyggen has once again attempted to quash the city’s mask bylaw. His previous argument alongside two other councillors, was that a provincial wide mask mandate negated the usefulness of a local mandate.
With the provincial government poised to lift the mask bylaw in early July, Hyggen’s argument is now moot. ENQUOTE
It is not “moot” as you suggest, in fact you identified the issue the “3-6” have raised. That is, once the Province lifts their requirement, the city will have to revisit the issue anyway. The City had a mask mandate before the province did. Once the province removes the requirement that should be the end of it. So why not time it so the mask mandate in Lethbridge expires with the province, seems like common sense to me, something the “3” always seem to possess! Not sure what your objection is, unless its just to object?

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
John P Nightingale

What? Hyggen’s initial argument was that , since the province already had a by law, then a local by – law was no longer required. Now with the lifting by the province of a provincial mandate, it becomes more important than ever that there is some local oversight. Asking someone to wear a mask in a small store (for example) in the absence of a legal requirement becomes even more difficult to explain to an anti-masker, that one should wear a mask at this point in time .
That the province has rescinded the law is absolutely no reason to not enforce it through a local by-law, hence my approval of a majority decision extending it for city spaces.
Why do you resort to ad hominem attacks suggesting I say it to “object”? I state simply the value of a proven tool used in the fight against COVID. That the province is foolhardy in opening up in an untimely fashion is in my opinion, a reason to use “common sense”.
You stated above “…so from the onset of COVID it was to “protect the health care system”, that is all.” More or less true , except there is a degree of protection for YOU as well. Given the rise of variants and medical advice, masking should be maintained for a while longer. Unless of course you can guarantee that medical professionals are wrong , ICU admissions will not rise and non-essential surgeries will not be delayed.

Dennis Bremner

Not sure where you get the idea that the mask offers some protection for YOU. CBC did a efficiency test using the atypical masks that the stores handout and most people wear. The ability to stop COVID of these masks was 2%. How you would consider that “some protection” I have no idea. Now that we know COVID can hang in the air for long periods of time if they had been truly concerned for anything but the Health Care system they would have handed out N95s. What kept you protected was 6 feet of distance, washing your hands or being locked up. That unfortunately is the facts. The entire COVID structure was not to protect YOU.
I would go one step farther, if you wash hands and stay 6 feet apart, you “may” have a 2% less chance of getting COVID if you add in a mask. Even then I am not sure why, because the COVID micro particles can go through the 2% mask. If for a moment one were to consider themselves extremely lucky and have a 2% mask stop the particles, then because no one was really instructed how to use them, they got COVID anyway.
How many people have you seen take the mask from their purse or pocket and then put it on adjusting the outside of the mask with their hands?
The masks that were handed out and you and I bought were symbolic and were intended to give us the impression the Health Care Guru’s making the decisions in Ottawa actually cared about YOU.
The proof of their effectiveness is documented everywhere now. So its a security blanket, that’s all. If it makes you feel like you have a better chance of not getting COVID wear it after the mandate is lifted. If you understand the science behind this useless mask, make your own choice. I wear K95 Masks, to wear what they gave you or you purchased as a protector is quite honestly laughable and proliferates the “Government is here to help you” foolishness.
We would have never had to go to lockdown if the “Government was here to help you”. If they had provided N or K95s to people odds are we may have avoided a 3rd wave.
As a Sidebar- Ever Notice how the monologue changes daily based on Vaccine Supply? Ever notice how when we are short of one vaccine suddenly there appears to be numerous studies saying its okay to mix them? Ever notice as soon as there was a shortage of Pfizer, suddenly now its okay to mix RNA dosages? Notice the first available dose was the best one until we had enough of the other doses to say “Geez don’t take “that one anymore”! Ever notice that the “Liberal Health Advisory Committee seems to be in Lockstep with the Liberal Governments Agenda on re-election? Or is this just all coincidence after coincidence? Try to find one time in this entire fiasco where we had one COVID Vaccine that the narrative was adjusted to NOT take it till something else was available? That narrative never appeared, until AFTER something else was available!! Then when it did appear suddenly they clandestine studies supported the switcheroo.
Never in the history of man have so many been used by “the Professionals, as lab rats because “they could”! “The Government is here to help you” alright LOL
I am not a conspiracist but this one is so obvious a 2 year old wearing a 2% mask could see it a mile away! I would gladly debate this with a Health Care professional as long as they were honest If you ask what were your odds are of stopping a “Cloud of COVID” is with a little blue fiber mask, they would do a lot of stammering, back tracking, side stepping and placating, placation is the key. There would be no debate, they know this was all about ICUs. Things like “something is better than nothing” would be used, but at no time would they ever tell you your odds. Unless of course its effectiveness of the vaccine they want you to take. So the CMOs of each Province remind you continually that PFizer is 94% effective in preventing you from getting COVID but you never hear them say that the mask you are wearing is less than 2% effective because that’s a number they prefer you not to know. Why less than 2%? The mask is improperly worn by 99.9% of us and is improperly handled. They were designed as single use and throw away yet some used them for weeks.
So call a spade a spade. With 70% of Lethbridge vaccinated, with the statistical evidence of less than .05% of Lethbridge getting COVID during the worst 3rd wave, and a mask that offers less than 2% odds of getting it from the less than .05% of the people that are then quarantined, and, then the odds of contracting the disease if you are vaccinated calculated…… do as you wish but the “little blue fibre mask mandate” has become symbolic at best, based on those odds.
PS I am fully vaccinated with Moderna.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
John P Nightingale

Well at least we agree on vaccines….

Dennis Bremner

John if you know a health care professional at Chinook ask them for the truth. Would they ever walk into the COVID Ward of the Hospital with the non-surgical mask they have given us! They would not, and if they said they would then they would caveat it with numerous adjustments, tape it to their face etc etc. but, ultimately they would not want to take the chance.
So if all of Health Care would not enter an area of COVID floating molecules in the Air, one has to wonder why it was eazy-peazy for Tam, the Liberals and all the Provincial CMOs to decide it was okay for everyone else?
Then have the audacity to indicate recklessness if you did get COVID is the pinnacle of blind ignorance pretending superiority! I am truly surprised more did not get COVID, they blindly assumed Tam and the Gov, gave a crap! If you want protection buy a K95, if you want to pretend an “any mask will do”, mandate/law from City hall helps, you are being misled

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
John P Nightingale

There is a big difference between walking into a COViD ward where there are known shedders in a relatively small space and wandering through day clinics or doctors offices.
Day surgeries are performed by “surgical” mask wearing docs and their attendants, as are all the personnel I have encountered in the main hospital settings. (For day surgery)
And why target the “Liberals”? Tam and company are fair game as are the MOH. Other than the PHAC / Health Canada , the provinces are virtually independent on health issues.
Other than declaring a “National Emergency” to instigate control measures and controlling who enters Canada and under what conditions, the Liberals had little direct part to play in strictly medical issues.
That being said, the current government did allow the pandemic response system to lapse under its watch , which led to delays and a failure to appreciate the extent of the pandemic.

Last edited 2 years ago by John P Nightingale