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.
0-69: 483,390 (90.33%)
70+: 51,765 ( 9.67%)
** Current population: 617,870
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: said0-39 none
Total: 116 fatalities (although The Record article quotes 115)
Let's now look at where the fatalities took place: saidThe 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
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: saidIn 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: saidWith 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.
AnalysisSince 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/ConclusionSo 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:
- political/financial motivation
- succumbing to vocal minority
- personal conviction
- job incompetence
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?
CommentaryOne 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:
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.
Have a great day!
- "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.
"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…."
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.
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.
Not much support here for mandating compliance.
'Could' times two and a hamster. Not much support here either.
'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