Mania Maskuria - The Region of Waterloo - Part #1

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Mania Maskuria - The Region of Waterloo - Part #1


“This is our new normal and it will continue to be for a long time to come." ~ Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang

This K/W Record article, Region may make masks mandatory on public transit, was recently shared on social media. It's a shame that journalism has dropped so low in quality. It's the not the writing that's the problem but rather the content. Leaving the door open to forcing mask wearing region wide, this is a very serious pathway, emotionally charged, and represents an egregious infringement of rights. Where then are the deeper questions, questioning these so-called smart authoritative figures to justify themselves and their claims; the burden of proof is on them after all. I've asked or mentioned this in almost every piece I've penned on this topic: where is the co-morbidity data? Not here either, just like the province, just like the fed. One has to wonder why this is…actions speak louder than words. There is no way I'm going to believe it's not recorded, give me a break, I'm not a total turnip yet.

Anyway, here's what's missing from the Record piece: data. Let's provide some. Also keep in mind that this is supposed to be the same data that the TV talking heads and politwits are using as well.

Waterloo Region: Waterloo Region COVID-19 summary
Ontario: COVID-19 Data and Surveillance

In Waterloo Region there are approx. 617,870 people according to its website. Age breakdowns are not consistent in ranges recorded and/or quoted by the various govt groups so I'm going to use the 2016 census as a base. I could find nothing too signficant suggesting the ratios would have changed between then and now, if anything the population of the under 70 demographic has increased due to expansion in technology related businesses and research, so I'm going to use the same ratios to estimate the current demographic.

** census population: 535,155

0-69:  483,390 (90.33%)
 70+:   51,765 (  9.67%)
 
** Current population: 617,870

difference: 82,715

0-69:  558,107 (increase 74,717)
 70+:   59,763 (increase   7,998)

Fatalities in The Region of Waterloo: said


The age breakdown of fatalities in The Region of Waterloo: said

0-39   none
40-49   1
50-59   2
60-69   9
70-79   26
80-89   46
90+      32

Total: 116 fatalities (although The Record article quotes 115)

Let's now look at where the fatalities took place: said

The Westhill RH (Sifton): 1
The Village at University Gates LTC (Schlegel Villages): 1
Victoria Place RH (Revera): 4
Trinity Village LTC (Lutheran Homes): 19
A.R. Goudie LTC (Salvation Army): 9
Lanark Heights LTC (Steeves & Rozema): 3
Forest Heights LTC (Revera): 51
Highview Residences RH (Highview Residences): 7

Total: 95

Of the total 116 fatalities in The Region of Waterloo, 95 were in longterm/nursing homes, 21 fatalities in the general population. Of the 41 total facilities listed, two accounted for 70 of the 95 longterm/nursing home fatality total.

Of the 21 fatalities outside of long term care, 12 of them were in the 0-69 bracket. said

By percentage, the COVID-19 fatality rates for The Region of Waterloo: said

In terms of the total population: 0.019%

If you do not reside in a long term care facility: 0.003%

Let's look now at the data for the so called pandemic as a whole: said

With the exception of those under 20, which is consistent with many other jurisdictions, we can see the reported infection rate to be quite consistent across the age groups. The younger ages are out in the general population and social settings compared to the older demographic. This coupled with younger ages comprising a larger portion of the population strongly suggests an explanation for the lower rates in the above 60 demographic.
This graphic outlines the difference in fatality rates across the age groups. I don't think it's biasing to state that there is a marked difference in the fatality ages and the chance of a fatality upon reported infection in the sub 70 age group.

I included both 'Episode' and 'Reported' for comparitive purposes. The former is described in the data dictionary as: "The field uses a number of dates entered in the Integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) to provide an approximation of onset date." whereas the latter is defined as: "The date that the case was reported to the local public health unit (PHU)." The reported infection rates are consistent in pattern with influenza. One notable observation is the lack of dramatic drop off early to mid April after lock-down, physical distancing and sporatic masks. Mid April was ~ 3 weeks after the last provincial ordered closure. Lack of this drop off suggests that all actions taken did little to curb reported infections. Further, there is no noticeable spike in reported cases even after many of the restrictions have been lifted for a few weeks. It would be a good thing to have testing schedule numbers per region instead of just province wide.

This graphic shows a marked drop in fatality rates. At time of writing, there have been 3 fatalities since May 15 which is now past the 6 week point.

Analysis

Since the original Record article was published and completion of this article, The Region of Waterloo has decided to hold a vote on Monday July 6, 2020 to determine whether mask wearing will be made mandatory in indoor settings and on public transit.

The data is overwhelming: correlating with many other jurisdictions globally, SARS-CoV-2 turned out to be a nothing-burger, full stop. There is also room for discussion as to whether it was anything at all in the first place as many, myself included, have asserted but that is for another day.

Now, if you'll recall from above, there have been 12 fatalities in the 0-69 age group meaning that the fatality risk in this age group using the census numbers is 0.002%.

This is 2 1000ths of 1 percent. Now, it doesn't take a medical expert to recognize that this number is statistically insignificant but let's add more context. According to the Waterloo Region Police Services, there were 16 motor vehicle fatalities in the region during 2019 and yet one can still see vehicles on the road, why have they not been banned?

Since every victim of an auto accident could not know what was coming ahead of time, perhaps a few seconds at most for the majority, and because auto accidents can happen at any time in almost any place where humans and vehicles are together, IMHO this is a valid metric for comparison/context purposes. [note: additionally it is difficult to obtain accurate regional infectious disease statistics]

One of the most glaring points of data in the context of mandatory maskery though are the reported infection statistics and reported fatalities. In the case of the former, a now over 6 week period of little fluctuation significant or otherwise and in the case of the important metric, fatalities, there have been thankfully just 3 in the same time period.

There have been both enforced measures and eased restrictions during this time period with little noticeable impact suggesting that these measures have had corresponding little effect on transmission rates. I'm speculating here to be sure but I would not at all be surprised to see similar patterns with the common cold and influenza, also coronaviruses, if testing regimes were the same, but they are not.

Summary/Conclusion

So where are we then?

A vote is to be taken that if passed represents a most egregious infringement on human rights (before freaking out, please note the commentary section), rights that no government group can give or take, these are rights by virtue of being born a human on this planet, period. This bylaw will be created with no backing of supporting data as evidenced by their own data. The reason(s) for a 'yes' vote then can only be one or many of:
  1. political/financial motivation
  2. succumbing to vocal minority
  3. personal conviction
  4. job incompetence
The claim of any government, even tyrannical, is "for the people". Any one of the above mentioned is for the person instead, the politician in this case. This vote should be struck entirely due to dereliction of political duty coupled with the fact that the vote results have the potential to cause great harm. Additionally, given the data information we have at hand, it's simply morally repugnant as well as a blatent infringement on rights.

If the vote proceeds as planned, make note of those who vote in favour of compulsory masks for they definitely cannot have the majority of the public's best interests at heart….and isn't majority public welfare the very foundation of democracy as described by these same folks, both in this case and in the context of govt overall?

Commentary

One more thing to consider: in an industry that has decades of experience with infectious disease and prevention thereof, how did such a monstrously disproportionate amount of fatalities occur in long term care? There needs to be a full 3rd party public inquiry. If negligence is determined to be connected to these outbreaks and subsequent fatalities, then a full on criminal investigation needs to be launched with no one being able to hide, including the person with whom the buck stops, the premier of Ontario. You want to play with the 'big boys' and be a leader then you have to accept responsibility, full stop.

Humanity was not born with masks or vaccinations so the burden of proof is entirely on those trying to enforce both. Since both areas have human impact potential and most of the measures are being generated by government, meaning the public has little to no choice but to comply under threat of monetary penalty or harsher, the precautionary principle must apply here:

"The precautionary principle (or precautionary approach) is a broad epistemological, philosophical and legal approach to innovations with potential for causing harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. It emphasizes caution, pausing and review before leaping into new innovations that may prove disastrous." Wikipedia

I understand the fear, I really do, but we cannot, must not, let our decisions be unduly influenced by fear, by emotion, by preconceived bias. Whatever one wants to call this event, whatever one wants to believe about this event, there is one common denominator: biology. This is the realm of science, not emotion, not bias, and definitely not science as the industry it has become but rather science as in: what? where? when? why? how? provable? falsifiable? repeatable?.

In other words, for all us, the end of blandly and passively accepting all that is jammed down our throats without the asking of even just the first 5 questions in the preceding sentence.

As for the quote that began this blather: count me out Doc. Your so called new normal of fear, uncertainty and doubt, the majority of which is needlessly spawned by those among us claiming to be smart and in authority, like yourself, will never be a normal for me: I unreservedly reject it and any claims that I should be accepting it.

Have a great day! :)


Ponderances

  • "I can't breath with a mask on!" "Masks don't prevent breathing so that's no excuse not to wear one" - setting aside very real anxiety experienced by many who can't tolerate having nose and mouth covered, no worries then being in concentrations of carbon monoxide because you can breath so all is good. This may seem like a false equivalence but it's not: the point is not about breathing in general but instead what you are breathing. Just because it's possible to breath through a mask doesn't mean an individual is getting the required oxygen needed via that breathing.
  • why haven't masks been mandated for flu seasons past? Data and fatality knowledge, assuming accurate, has been known for many moons.
  • to those who are virulently advocating for mandatory maskery: see previous point and exchange 'mandated' for 'voluntarily worn'
  • the media and govt has made this out to be such a horror for humanity…in this case then, as much (accurate) data as possible should be used. Why is it difficult to get co-morbidity breakdowns? Why are autopsies, in the US at least, not required in covid cases? Given all of the other restrictive and enforced measures issued by government, why is the one thing that would be crucial in determining cause of death not required? If the fatality was one that took place in a facility where they were being treated, then that facility will also have the additional safety measures available to allow one to be performed. From the CDC: "Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions with eye protection (goggles or a face shield) should be followed during autopsy. Many of the following procedures are consistent with existing guidelines for safe work practices in the autopsy setting; see Guidelines for Safe Work Practices in Human and Animal Medical Diagnostic Laboratories." Collection and Submission of Postmortem Specimens from Deceased Persons with Known or Suspected COVID-19
  • how many people simply pull the mask out of glove box and/or pocket and put it on thereby negating any possible safeguards? I saw a dude at the mall who had his hanging on rear-view mirror replacing the fuzzy dice. I watched him grab it full handed and slip it on while walking to the store. What happens if a mask wearer gets some bacteria on their hand, very plausible, then transfers that bacteria on to the mask where is subjected to moisture and warmth, two things backy love for growth and prosperity? Stands to reason they will be inhaling ever increasing amounts of whatever organism they obtained via cross contamination. How about when the mask is taken off again and the hand is exposed to a larger number of pathogens to pass along via whatever surface is touched?
  • social media: bullying/shaming someone in an attempt to influence mask wearing is disgusting to say the least but worse still is the very real danger that of putting individuals at a potential health risk…funny how non mask wearers are considered 'the bad guy' while bullying and putting someone at risk is considered on the side of 'good'. This is a pathetic display of Ochlocracy.
Some general mask wearing questions swiped from a comment section:

"So I assume you always wear a mask.  Let me ask:

  • Do you ALWAYS follow proper procedures when putting you mask on and off?
  • Make sure you have sanitized your hands, taken the mask off without touching areas that could be contaminated, etc?
  • Do you follow the guidelines for how long you can wear a particular mask? (do you even KNOW there are time limits to masks effectiveness?)
  • Do you ALWAYS keep your nose and mouth covered?
  • Do you have a good, tight seal on the mask around your face (including - if you are a man having shaved your beard if you have one).  
  • Do you NEVER touch your mask to adjust it or move it without thoroughly washing or sanitizing your hands first (if not you have just contaminated the mask, your hand, or both)?

If you don't ALWAYS do those things, then you wearing a mask is useless and probably makes you MORE susceptible…."

Further Information

A Cluster Randomised Trial of Cloth Masks Compared With Medical Masks in Healthcare Workers - this study is focused on health care use which comprises a profession experienced in mask usage and proper technique, unlike the general public. Despite being health care focused, the same problems noted in their conclusion will most definitely apply to the general public (emphasis mine):

"Conclusions: This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated."

Interesting how the CDC recommends cloth masks and makes no mention of this conclusion in their recommendation. Also note in the CDC document the wide usage of 'may' and 'most likely' etc. I'm assuming they use those terms because they don't really know…same reason I use 'em.

Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures

"We 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 (Figure 2). However, as with hand hygiene, face masks might be able to reduce the transmission of other infections and therefore have value in an influenza pandemic when healthcare resources are stretched."

The first sentence negates any requirement for mandatory masks outside health/long term care settings and the second suggests that (voluntary) mask wearing of or among vulnerable populations might be helpful. While this study is influenza, the flu is also a coronavirus.

The surgical mask is a bad fit for risk reduction Opinion piece with some supporting citations.

Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy
"There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles…The present paper about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lock-down of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history."

Blaylock: Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To The Healthy
"Dr. Russell Blaylock warns that not only do face masks fail to protect the healthy from getting sick, but they also create serious health risks to the wearer. The bottom line is that if you are not sick, you should not wear a face mask."

Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?
"Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection."

Not much support here for mandating compliance.

Surgical mask partition reduces the risk of non-contact transmission in a golden Syrian hamster model for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
"Conclusion: SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted by respiratory droplets or airborne droplet nuclei in the hamster model. Such transmission could be reduced by surgical mask usage, especially when masks were worn by infected individuals."

'Could' times two and a hamster. Not much support here either.

Controversy around airborne versus droplet transmission of respiratory viruses: implication for infection prevention
"Summary: When a respiratory virus in concern only leads to disease with low severity, airborne precautions are not likely to be justified."

'likely' but this time on the other side…balances things out. Not much support here either though.

Mania Maskuria - The Region of Waterloo - Part #1
Mania Maskuria - The Region of Waterloo - Part #2
Mania Maskuria - The Region of Waterloo - Part #3
Edited