By: Mary Sheldon
After a mentally hectic weekend and rally to support the Newport, VT business who is being sued by the Vermont Attorney General for not complying with Vermont's mask order, I was preparing the post which I just published (An Open Letter to the Vermont Department of Health).
As I was checking through all of the links and such (I urge you to follow those links for some very eye opening information), I came across the study from September 2020 called Risk Factors for COVID-19: Community Exposure and Mask-Wearing (<link).
And I flipped my lid. Utterly and completely.
From the study:
This study has several important policy implications for contemplating different COVID19 mitigation strategies. We find that the key factors associated with a higher probability of being COVID-19 positive were the number of contacts with adults and seniors, particularly contacts with people who are themselves COVID-19 positive. The factors that predict contacts, in turn, are working environment, living environment and, disturbingly, regularly wearing a mask outside of work. This study reinforces the concerns about risks for persons who have high levels of public contact during the pandemic. The finding of the increased risk associated with living in apartments / condominiums likely partially explains higher infection rates in large metropolitan areas (e.g., New York City) and lower income communities.
The findings with regard to mask wearing are more concerning. With many states and governments now debating whether the use of facial masks should become mandatory, more research is needed about the behavioral effects of mask wearing and other policy measures. This preprint research paper has not been peer reviewed. Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3676570 Preprint not peer reviewed 18
Wearing masks may create a false sense of security. It is plausible that mandating masks could be counterproductive if the increased risk associated with an increase in contacts is larger than the decrease in risk associated with the mask itself. That is, it is possible masks may provide a false sense of security that leads to people letting their guard down and trusting the mask more than is warranted. Further research into the effectiveness of marks and behavioral responses to mask mandates is urgently needed.
Interestingly, this study is co authored by Dr Mark Levine, Vermont's very own commissioner of health. Yes. The same Mark Levine who has stood at that podium with Governor Phil Scott , week after week for nearly one year.
See the link above to read the whole study.
I pray for peace and clarity so I don't absolutely lose my ever loving mind over this blatant hypocrisy.
I think I need...prescription strength nature.