Virus Transmission Prevention Device
The CDC and FAA consider a mask and a mini-pretzel to be equivalent devices for prevention of virus transmission in enclosed spaces. They are correct.
On the return flight from the Unsafe Space Retreat in Texas, I found out about an under-utilized device that prevents transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is according to the experts. President Biden, the FAA, the CDC, Dr. Fauci, American Airlines, and the Mask Nanny flight attendant onboard that day apparently believe this device has a protective medical use equivalent to a two-layer tight-weave face mask.
This simple tool protects an entire plane-load of people from getting COVID from an infected person when held a foot from the mouth. No mask is required when utilizing this device in a fully loaded aircraft. Without it, one may be fined, disembarked at the first possible location, or get banned from future travel on the airline—for not wearing a mask. This is because of the danger of virus transmission in the enclosed space without a protective device. Again, according to the experts listed above.
A mask or a pretzel provides the same protection according to the CDC. They are actually correct—these two PPE devices provide about the same effect on transmission of an airborne virus from an infected person.
I fly with a mask made by my girlfriend, consisting of two layers of cheesecloth, two safety pins, and elastic string. In a roundtrip I typically acquire several new masks from TSA agents and airline staff. I thank them politely, take the mask, and walk away in cheesecloth as if I will switch masks. My cheesecloth mask allows me to breathe easily and doesn’t fog up my glasses.
Cheesecloth provides the most important feature of mask wearing—the visual symbol of compliance to authority and the virtue signal of being a “good” person.
My cheesecloth mask does everything the typical cotton or paper mask as worn by the general public does. We have a year’s worth of data to prove they are equivalent at preventing airborne virus transmission—they don’t work. However, I found it best not to point this out to those faithful to the mask cult, especially if facts are brought into the discussion. Crisis religions don’t allow reality to risk the belief system. It is common in cults, including Branch Covidians.
Most of the TSA and airline staff seem to have grown tired of the mask nonsense and say nothing about my cheesecloth mask. Some presumably don’t notice. In a four-leg roundtrip flight, however, there have always been a couple staff members that object and give me a preferred mask. I always say I don’t have another mask, even if my pocket is getting full. I usually just accept the gift, thank them, and walk away as if I will use the new mask. Then pocket it unused with the others.
However, occasionally there is a real “Mask Nanny” that gets angry, which is the most annoying and the most fun to deal with.
On the Texas trip I collected four new masks. Only in one case did I actually have to use the offered mask to fly home. An American Airlines fight attendant took on the Mask Nanny role, and insisted I put on the mask she gave me.
At the plane the greeting flight attendant said of my cheesecloth, “I don’t think that is okay.” I politely asked why. She didn’t know, so she went to get Mask Nanny, who said because she could see through my mask, it wasn’t good enough. I replied, “I am not wearing a mask to prevent light transmission,” and I asked her what the mask specification was. This set the tone for a conflict that lasted the entire flight.
Mask Nanny said there was a specification and she would be “happy to bring it back to my seat after we boarded.” I said that would be great, as I didn’t know there was a spec. She handed me an official American Airlines mask with a pleasant blue logo pattern. I said thanks and went to my seat wearing cheesecloth.
Before takeoff Nanny came back, told me to put on the mask she gave me, and read some of the spec from her phone. She told me it was a law, and I had to comply. I listened, hearing “see-through” is indeed a violation of the airline’s policy. So preventing light transmission is part of the purpose of the mask. I asked a question about the mask requirement relative to the physical characteristics of the virus and exhaled breath. That didn’t go well. She evidently didn’t want to talk to an engineer about the see-through “specification.” I put the official mask on, and she left.
After takeoff Nanny found me reading with the American Airlines mask below my nose. She sternly objected. I told her I couldn’t read with the mask she gave me, as every exhale fogged my glasses.
I told Nanny the water vapor from my exhaled breath was coating my glasses to the point that I couldn't see my book, and that this meant if there was any virus present in my breath, it was not being stopped by the American Airlines mask. She got annoyed at this and appeared to be contemplating having the pilot stop in nearby Charleston to drop me off early on the trip to Florida.
Her reply to my fact was “that’s your opinion.” It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with someone who is unable to separate fact from opinion. If they don’t understand there is a difference between fact and opinion, then no actual debate is possible. I told her she could see my glasses were fogged—it was not my opinion that the mask she gave me doesn’t work.
Fog is about 10 um ( 1 um = 1/1,000 of a mm). The SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 100 nm (1 nm = 1/1,000,000 of a mm). The virus is about 100 times smaller than fog. Fog easily escapes the American Airlines mask, enough to fog my glasses. It goes through the material and escapes around it as it does not sufficiently seal against the face to filter all exhaled breath. This isn’t complicated, folks—something 100 times smaller isn’t getting filtered better. If I had an active COVID case and was infectious, my glasses would be covered with that, too.
Mask Nanny headed toward the cockpit, perhaps to tell the captain to stop and put me out. As I wished to get back home rather than be dropped off in Charleston, I pulled the mask over my nose and put the book away.
I was reading Michael Malice’s “The Anarchist Handbook,” the last Unsafe Space Book Club selection, in the chapter on how to implement all police and court functions in a free market.
I would need to wait to better understand why the government doesn’t need to be the police and why it would be better if they didn’t. I already understand why the government shouldn’t be in charge of anything related to medical care. Anyone who used to think it was a good idea to mix government and medical care and is paying attention should have had their mind changed by observing the last year of massive government failures in their foolish, ignorant, and evil pandemic responses. Medical care doesn’t need a chapter in the Anarchist Handbook—it should be obvious government can’t run that well.
Mask Nanny came by regularly, watching me like a hawk. I tried lifting it partly above my mouth and reading, but got caught quickly and scolded.
Then the official reprieve time came, where everyone gets to take a mask break when the flight attendants distribute the pretzels. I got back to my book during the beverage and snack service. Mask Nanny gave me the pretzel virus protection device and said I could now remove my mask. I had brought lunch with me and had an hour without a mask to eat and read. A bag of grapes followed by the airline pretzels maintained the virus transmission safety zone, so I could finish the chapter without fogged glasses.
All around the plane, weary travelers exposed their faces during the mask hiatus. The conversation volume jumped an order of magnitude and sounded happier. Smiling faces chatted with the other travelers while everyone was protected by the pretzel device. Making people cover their faces isn’t conductive to social behavior, so the conversation is suppressed. It was like an instant party, until snack time ended, and we were instructed to mask up again. I had lots of grapes and the pretzel protection device, so didn’t require my mask as quickly as my seat mates. Mask Nanny left me alone with my grapes, pretzels, and book.
Both my seat mates said they agreed with me. We had a nice chat about the need for people to push back against stupid rules. One told me of her son, in college and playing football. He has been tested for COVID 63 times, is currently getting tested 3 times a week, has a mandatory vaccination rule to play football, and has to wear a mask everywhere. Student dorms are segregated into first class (vaccinated) and second class (unvaccinated). My seat mate said that me politely objecting was inspiring her to start pushing back on dumb rules at work and when shopping. People in the row across from us were nodding their head to me.
During the final approach “seat belt and mask check” (the new pre-landing safety check), I had one pretzel protection device left, held up ready to eat so I could read maskless. Mask Nanny said I needed to put my mask on, and I replied I had one pretzel left, so everyone was safe from infection. She said, “then finish your pretzel,” in the manner a kindergarten teacher would use. I ate the last one. She said, “Well, now then, you have to put the mask on,” Without the pretzel to protect me and the other occupants from the virus I masked up for safety.
I received one last Mask Nanny demand just after landing, during taxi to the gate. Her watchful eyes spotted me, and she got up from her jump seat to tell me to pull my mask up over my nose. I replied, “You should sit down during taxi to be safe.” Is one passenger not wearing a mask a legitimate reason for a flight attendant to risk moving about during taxi?
I do give Mask Nanny credit for knowing there is a specification and telling me. In the end she backed off to “you agreed to wear the mask, so you have to wear it.” I told her that is a better approach than attempting to justify masking. It isn’t her policy, of course, but she is the face of it for passengers.
Connecting in the Charlotte airport, I stopped in a Smartshop to smarten me up, but it didn’t help. What do they sell in the CNBC Smartshop? A dog learns more from sniffing another dog’s butt than a human learns from cable news, so the shop’s contents must not be related to what CNBC broadcasts.
This is not smart.
At this point mask rules are past ignorance. It is beyond not knowing and not understanding. We have a year of data proving typical cotton and paper masks worn by the public do essentially nothing to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anyone in a position to set policy and rules should be aware by now. If they are not, there is something other than the facts on virus transmission and infection protection driving policy.
I checked Mask Nanny’s stern assertion that mask wearing on a plane is a federal law. I found no such law, no legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president mandating masks on airlines.
What does exist is a CDC order requiring masks on airlines, which includes the statement, “Failure to comply is a violation of federal law.” American Airlines policy also claims there is a federal law for mask wearing, with penalties. So I’ll give Mask Nanny a break on this, as not even the CDC and her employer understand there is a difference between a federal law and a memo from a three-letter agency.
Mask Nanny was correct on the light transmission rule. The CDC issued a separate “guidance” document that provides some mask recommendation details, including, “Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source).” Cheesecloth does violate the light transmission “requirement.”
Also, most or all cloth and paper masks violate it, including the American Airlines logo mask that Nanny gave me and made me wear. I tested the American Airlines mask with a light per the CDC requirement. It failed, lots of light passes through it. Their mask is not even close to compliance with the so-called “specification.”
The CDC memo is not a specification that would pass muster in any kind of engineering environment. The “requirement” of “tightly woven” and “not let light pass” would result in the author getting scolded or laughed out of the room. Hence I put “specification” and “requirement” in quotes, as the CDC recommendation is neither a spec nor a requirement.
Given that Mask Nanny and the CDC do not know the difference between a law and a three-letter agency “order,” why expect them to know the difference between a specification and hand waving?
I don’t use the word “stupid” lightly. This is stupid. Push back, folks, or we will be forever living with stupidity. Meekly going along with dumb ideas and stupid rules doesn’t work out well in the end.
This mask nonsense isn’t about virus transmission, or health. It is about power, about authority. Mask and vaccination requirements are an experiment in authoritarianism. Wearing a mask signals compliance with authority and virtue signals that one “cares about others.” Meekly going along with mask rules lets the power freaks know that the sheeple will do as they say, no matter how stupid. Are they right?
The War for American Independence was fought during one of the worst smallpox epidemics in U.S. history. A virus outbreak, spread by close quarters contact—sounds familiar. Smallpox at that time had a death rate of about 10% for the infected in America. Large, dense cites such as London were worse. The worldwide pandemic even had an experimental vaccine. George Washington himself had natural immunity, having contracted smallpox at age 19, been sick for a month, and recovered. They knew about both natural immunity and about the risk of the smallpox vaccine method available at the time.
Seems a good analogy to me. Consider what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson thought about the federal government mandating protection from a virus during a worldwide epidemic. What would they do today? The smallpox virus epidemic was a major problem in 1776 that some people considered bigger than the problem of the king.
During the Philadelphia debates and the ratifying conventions on the U.S. Constitution, did the founding generation delegate a power to the federal government to mandate mask wearing on stagecoaches for virus protection? Of course not! They would have been appalled at the concept of giving this authority to the general government. There is no power in the Constitution that authorizes any of this. I call B.S. on the CDC mask order on airlines—it is unconstitutional. It is illegal for Congress, the president, and an agency to mandate masks on airplanes.
Not to mention the fact that the CDC itself is unconstitutional and should not exist. What should have been learned from the last year is that the CDC should be shut down and everyone sent home. I doubt there is anything in the free market for Anthony Fauci to do beyond being a greeter in the Walmart pharmacy aisle. And that might be too dangerous of a job for him.
Resist tyranny. Question authority. Reject stupidity. Don’t embolden it all by meekly going along.