COVID: The Business Battle Rages On

It’s been a tough 18 months for all of us.

COVID knocked us to our knees. Westporters lost jobs and businesses. Our kids lost the benefits of in-person school; adults became part-time teachers and full-time counselors. We all lost our sense of security; fearing at times for our lives, we wondered how the world had suddenly gone so askew.

Slowly, we’re emerging from the darkness. COVID is still here, and — particularly among the stubbornly unvaccinated — rampant. We’re learning to live with the pandemic.

But we’re gathering again, in all the places we used to, for work and commerce and pleasure. We’re dining and traveling. We’re welcoming newcomers to town, and their energy makes Westport even more vibrant and wonderful than it was before March of 2020.

Of course, we still have a long way to go. Just ask anyone in the service industry.

The other day, a friend described his recent experiences. He works locally. It doesn’t matter where. His experience is not unique.

He’s exhausted from asking people to wear masks — a mandate that lacks real enforcement power.

He’s tired of asking those with masks to wear them properly. Covering the neck — or even below the nose — will not help stem the virus’ spread.

He’s also tired of trying to change the behavior of the self-centered, pig-headed customers who come into his store. After 18 months, he realizes, they will not listen.

They won’t listen to Dr. Fauci. They won’t listen to the CDC. And they certainly won’t listen to him.

So when I asked him to write an “06880” story about his experiences as a front-line worker, he declined. It’s not worth it, he said.

The ones who are not helping corral the virus have a zillion reasons. “I’m vaccinated.” “I’ll let my immune system work for me.” “It’s my body. Don’t tell me what to do with it.”

The ones who need to read his words won’t, he said. And if they do, they won’t heed them.

They’ll just rage on, berating him and his colleagues. Mocking them. Putting his health in danger, and his nerves on edge.

He has no more strength to tell that story. So I’m telling it instead.

And now — like him in his store — I’ll wait for the abuse.

An anti-mask sign.

62 responses to “COVID: The Business Battle Rages On

  1. charles taylor

    The fraternity of Fake News Hypocritical COVIDIOTS!

  2. Janette Kinnally

    Unfortunately you know you will get it from the self centered pig headed people as you described in the article. Because they will never look at it as a global pandemic and how it affects all of us. They will continue to say this is a free country, and you cannot control me – because it is all about me, me, me – instead of thinking about we – everyone of us!

    • Shannon McArthur

      Completely agree Janette. This Pandemic has brought out the best in some and the absolute worst in others. The utter selfishness of MANY is outrageous.

  3. William Gibson

    It’s really sad, Dan, that those who wave placards such as the one illustrated refuse to extend the same concept to a woman who might be considering an abortion. The issue of vaccinations in a medical emergency versus a woman’s right to choose is not a false equivalency; but the former centers on one’s responsibilities to the community, while the latter is a private matter. Yet, the anti-vaxxers who claim a “right” to not take a shot are the first to want to impose their attitudes on others regarding a woman’s right to choose.

  4. Beth Berkowitz

    Dan, unfortunately, you and the guy who was too exhausted to write the story he has experienced, are in the majority, but those who oppose wearing a mask “so they can breath” and being against the vaccines are the very loud vocal minority. They are “entitled” and will spin everything to try to rationalize their choices to put others in danger. They can’t think about those who are unable to be vaccinated or are immunocompromised. I know of a guy who said he was healthy and strong and didn’t believe in the vaccines and the virus was being made to “seem like it is serious, but isn’t that big a deal”. He walked in and he was obese and a smoker. He truly believed he was very health conscious and physically in great shape. You can’t convince people with rational reasons and science who live in an alternate reality. He didn’t think it was possible for him to infect anyone else either “because he’s healthy” so even though it was the rule to wear a mask inside he didn’t want to. He finally agreed to wear a mask because he was refused entry to the building unless he put it on and put it on properly. He was there for a deposition about his grandchild who died allegedly from doctor malpractice. So it’s his right to sue someone because he didn’t think his grandchild should be dead, but if other people’s children and grandchildren die due to his entitlement of being allowed to potentially infect them since they aren’t eligible to get vaccinated yet, that’s ok.

    It’s totally deplorable, but they don’t see it that way!

  5. I don’t know what happened to common courtesy and don’t know why people love to shame others without even knowing their side, their story, or their private medical history. Why is everyone so concerned with whether someone is wearing a mask or not without knowing their side. I am a front line worker and have encountered dozens of people that have perfectly medical reasons for not wearing a mask. Many of my co-workers have medical and religious reasons to not wear them either. Together, we have worked through this pandemic, many of us battled COVID, and we also went above and beyond by donating meals to the needy population that was at a much higher risk of contracting COVID.

    I won’t speak for all the people I know, but I can speak for my own medical reason not to wear a mask. I listen to my personal family doctor. He has known me for over a decade and he knows my blood cell counts, past diseases, operations, medicine I have taken. He knows about me maybe even more than I know about myself. He certainly knows more about me than anyone here reading this blog. He has strongly recommended I don’t wear a mask. There are many private reasons for that medical requirement, but basically since I am an extremely low risk of catching COVID (prior COVID Infection history, age group, immune system) and therefore I have an extremely low risk of passing it to anybody… he strongly recommended, even required with an exemption that I don’t wear a mask. He explained that for myself, because of the combination of reasons, the mask is much more damaging than the risk of catching and spreading COVID.

    Now I ask, if my personal doctor has given his assessment based on over a decade of knowing my health history, why should I be shamed to go against him? Why should I feel embarrassed and bullied into wearing something my own doctor told me not to?

    Why are we not hearing our own personal doctors? Why are people more concerned with what news anchors and commentators have to say than what our own personal doctors have to say? Why are people so ready to jump into shaming someone without asking them their reason? Nobody is trying to continue this pandemic.

    • Hi Breno- You are being totally misinformed and supplied with bogus information. Please give one religious reason to not wear a mask. The Pope said get vaccinated and wear a mask!

      Give me the name of your doctor and I will submit their name to the state medical board to have their practice reviewed for malpractice! My doctor said wear a mask and get vaccinated!

      By the way- I am a physician who had COVID in March 2020 when we didn’t know much about COVID.

      • Thank you, Steve. I think your passion for the subject may be fogging your common sense. As a physician, you know there are many diverging views in the medical field and you also know that every person is medically different – there is not one size fits all answer, ever. I do respect your views and hear you.

        • Hi Breno- I hope we can agree that there is only one way to die from COVID- in an ICU and on a ventilator! Wearing a mask indoors and getting vaccinated helps you, your family, relatives, friends and your community.

          More people have now died from COVID than from the Spanish Flu of 1918 or all the wars the US fought during the 20th century- and still counting.

          And your doctor’s name is?? And your religious advisor?

          • I don’t disagree with you. I just pointed out that there is not one size fits all answer, gave my personal example, and believe that shaming people into submission doesn’t do any good to the debate.

            I won’t give you my doctor’s name or religious advisor because 1) it is none of your business, respectfully, and 2) I wouldn’t release that information when the person asking is showing ill intentions.

            I think we agree much more than we disagree, Steve, and I respect your views and personal experience.

    • You need to find a new doctor

  6. Bonnie Erickson

    Your body, your choice? Right. What about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body? Oh, but that’s different, right? And when they drink do they get into a car drunk? Mostly probably not. But that’s different, too, right? Does a stand apply across the board or only when cherry-picking suits their argument? But I’m talking to a wall.

  7. Michael Kaplan

    There are many words that come to mind when thinking of these anti-vacers and anti-maskers, SELFISH, IGNORANT, DEPLORABLE AND, DANGEROUS to name a few. It also doesn’t help when our First Selectman refuses to adhere to CDC guidelines, and secretly in the middle of the night carves out exceptions to the mask mandate for local gyms. This sends a terrible message and only give these anti’s more ammunition to their baseless and stupid arguments. Hopefully we will see a leadership change in Westport, and we will then have a leader that makes decisions based on science and not on the whim of some constituencies.

  8. Hi Dan- Sadly there is a misled and poorly led vocal minority who have the idea that a pandemic is about constitutional rights and not the duty to preserve and protect the community where many old, immunocompromised, unvaccinated children or cancer patients are at higher risk of dying.

    There are only a few ways to prove a vaccine is safe and effective (and they are), but the most predictive is by how overloaded emergency rooms become, how crowded intensive care units become and by how many COVID patients become dead patients (currently 1.6% of all cases die- 10 to 15% of older and sick people die).

    Highly vaccinated and highly masked states like Connecticut are doing well- with available ICU beds and unused ventilators. Poorly vaccinated and poorly masked states like Texas and Florida are suffering from their governors political denial and lack of responsible leadership that result in unnecessary death claiming many of their more vulnerable citizens with no available ICU beds and ventilators for COVID or nonCOVID patients.

    This pandemic has turned into a deadly debate about individual “rights” and the right to die from COVID versus being a good citizen during a health crisis and trying to protect the community from COVID by wearing a mask indoors and getting vaccinated.

    • I need to point out that the difference in ICU beds and ventilators is completely bogus. There is very little difference between the states you mentioned. That’s where the media becomes damaging when they start publishing lies and misinformation and attacking states governed by their opposite ideology. Mostly everything else you said, I agree and respect your views.

      • Hi again and so soon- You are getting bad information from somewhere. Maybe Idaho? Low vaccination rate and poor masking- they are shipping cases to Oregon and Washington!! Texas or Florida?

        The progression is- no mask, no vaccination, exposure to virus, get sick, hospitalization, ICU, intubation, death!! With 1.6 to 15% death rate even with treatment with extra corporeal blood oxygenation, monoclonal gamma globulin. Don’t ask for hydoxychloroquine, ivermectin, Chlorox mouth wash or vitamin x,y or z.

        • Or maybe you’re getting bad information? Anyhow, I must go back to work. One of the many that needs to go out to work as opposed to a job that affords the stay-at-home scenario. I usually find that the people fighting hardest for restrictions are the ones fortunate to work from home.

          But I’d be happy to continue this spirited debate in person sometime. Only rule is that we check our egos at the door. Thank you for views. Respectfully,

  9. Last week 225,000 children 18 and under were diagnosed, representing 26% of all new Covid cases. We’re moving on from a pandemic of the unvaccinated to a pandemic of children.

    Partly that’s a feature of the math. If an increasing number of 18+ are vaccinated, and no one under 12 is vaccinated, the cohort under 12 will be an increasing percentage of a declining number of cases. The same math is at work for the vaccinated.

    Still, anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are asserting a putative right that is increasingly in conflict with the rights of children, including a right to education.

    Meantime, in Portugal 83% of the population has been fully vaccinated, almost 80% of those 12-24 have been fully vaccinated, and over 97% of those 65+ have been fully vaccinated. The vaccination centers are shutting down. Outdoor mask mandates, almost universally observed, have expired, and restaurants are fully open. Indoor mask mandates, also almost universally observed, may soon follow. The rate of new cases is less than half what Connecticut is, a fifth of what Florida is, and a tenth of what Texas is From their standpoint, we are the terror, so it makes sense that you have to test negative to go to that haven of comparative safety.

  10. I hereby nominate all the anti-vaccers and anti-maskers to the Darwin Awards.

  11. No abuse from me, Dan, ever. We should be able to talk in a civilized manner about anything and agree to disagree when necessary. No need to go to war over a difference of opinion. And yet, isn’t this how it starts? I tend to be on the loud side, myself, with my opinions. I’ve always expected to be heard. But I think of your friend, exhausted, silent, and overruled by the loud ones who expect to be heard and, in the process of shouting their truths, destroy a life, little by little. What are we doing? Best vibes going to your friend.

  12. Janette Kinnally

    I can tell you that when I was in the hospital last week for chest pains (not Covid related) it was completely filled and people were even waiting outside of rooms because they were so busy! The doctors and nurses could not have been friendlier, but told me that they were tired of people not following the rules because of their own moral code and exhausted from dealing with people who were not vaccinated ending up in the hospital because they thought their immune system was strong or because they think they are healthy or many other reasons. Honestly, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, that is your choice, but then do not go out in public to risk getting sick or risk getting someone else sick right now. Because the people working in the hospitals are really tired of it now.

  13. Man in yard:”I’m wearing my mask to protect me from the China virus.”
    Neighbor:” I’m installing this chain link fence to protect me from mosquitoes.”

  14. Here’s another consideration for the conversation. Take a look a the growing number of re-infections —vaccinated people who nevertheless are stricken by the COVID virus. Just to name a few of the better known: the Governor of Texas, Chris Rock, Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Jackson, Bill Maher; the list goes on and will continue to as long as unvaccinated and unmasked people are in our midst.
    There’s only one way to avoid infection that 100% effective: avoid contact with everyone. Vaccinations and masks are the most effective ways to avoid infection if we are to return to some modicum of our former lives.
    As a child who experience the universal joy associated with the first polio vaccine, I am mystified at the reactions of some to the COVID vaccine.
    Have we not eliminated polio, and smallpox* through vaccination?(*Universally eliminated in 1980 as the result of unprecedented global vaccination). How have we of society taken a giant step backwards in the evolution of society.
    None of us are safe until everyone is safe.
    Booby Herman is spot on to raise the subject of Darwin’s Principle. There is an alternative to vaccines as a way of attaining herd immunity. We can wait until all of the nay-sayers have expired from COVID.
    “Not with a bang, but a whimper…”

    • Thanks, Gloria, but contrary to many peoples’ opinions of me, I’m really not a “Booby.”

  15. Correction: “How have we of society taken a giant step backwards in the evolution of HUMANITY.”

  16. Richard Johnson

    There is currently a mask mandate in place in Westport. In this comment section, the owner of a Westport business is openly admitting that he and his business violate that mask mandate. I won’t identify the violating business but it’s the first thing that comes up on google. Proceed accordingly – I will, by not ever spending a penny there. (And consider: a business that violates laws intended to protect people’s health and safety in one area – masks – is one that can’t be trusted to respect these principles in other areas – think sanitation.)

    If your medical condition is such that you can’t wear a mask, you should probably be on oxygen or otherwise seek emergency medical treatment. You certainly shouldn’t be working in a restaurant in such a fragile state. And there is absolutely no conceivable religious objection to wearing a mask.

    • There is a mask mandate in Westport.
      It was signed by the Selectman on August 19th, effective August 23rd.
      Since that date every Selectman’s meeting has been held in Town Hall maskless.

      The mandate made for good press and the Town gets to say there’s a mask mandate, but if it isn’t enforced then it’s just talk designed to hit news cycles

      • John D McCarthy

        Would love to see evidence to prove that every selectman’s meeting since the mandate has been maskless. Can you point me to any evidence?

    • Yes, there is a mandate. Which is clearly not followed by the own people that created it, as pointed out by Mr Falk below. The mandate also provides accommodation for medical exemptions, as is my case. It is very low to resort to cancelling or boycotting a business because of their medical history. Especially a business that employs 36 hard local working individuals. If you read my comment, I said that my doctor strongly recommended I don’t wear a mask based on my medical history (prior COVID infection, vaccination status, immune system, etc) and based on the fact that the mask is more damaging than the risk I have to contract and spread COVID. I have a medical exemption. I don’t need to make apologies for it. There is not one size fits all answer and I appreciate your views and truly respect them.

      Also, the first thing that shows up on Google is this beautiful community nomination for spreading good and donating meals:

      • I am impressed that someone so medically infirm that they are unable to wear a mask during a global pandemic has built an impressive business, and has the time and energy to do all you describe!

        People chronically underestimate those who are disabled — even invisibly– and your energy despite your adversity is a model.

        Sadly, while I love coffee I am a cancer survivor and my doctor has advised me to stay away from businesses owned by the unmasked. I will be unable to patronize your Westport and Stamford locations.

        Alas, as you said, there is no one size fits all answer!

        • Hi Mr. Lassoff, I have much respect for you as a cancer survivor. I have close friends who went through it as well. I have a very close friend, 35 years old, who is going through a nasty cancer right now. I love to share survivor stories to her, it lifts up her spirits.

          • I hope you’re not sharing those in person— as someone who doesn’t wear masks (for valid medical reasons, I’m sure!) you are a greater danger to anyone medically fragile like your friend.

            • Yes, I do actually. I also take her to places like the grocery store, doctor, coffee shop, and friend gatherings, when she’s feeling up to it. We both have had COVID and we consult our respective doctors very often. Her being social and around people that love her have helped tremendously. I can’t imagine living thinking everyone around you is carrying a disease. Masks are not the end all, Mark.

              • Well, so much for respect. Your misinformed, cavalier attitude endangers others. Especially a cancer patient. I’m done. You really ought to rethink your value system and where you get your information.

                • Chill folks, keep this up and you’ll have a higher likelihood of dying from a stress-induced heart attack than dying from Coronavirus.

                  • That’s an attitude I can stand behind. Thank you for bringing some positivity Mr. Vogel.

                • Mr. Lassoff, I will take her doctor’s opinion over yours anytime regarding her health. I don’t even know you or where you get your information, it is rather presumptuous to think I should put your opinion over my friend or her doctor. They definitely do not think I am a danger to her.

                  I am all for making new friends, but I am not quite sure I’d be fond of you if that’s how you treat people on a friendly local blog like Dan’s. Nevertheless, I respect your views and where you come from and wish you truly the best.

  17. Take a clear plastic spray bottle and write COVID on the side in big black letters. Fill it with water. Take it shopping with you. When an unmasked person approaches, mist the air between you. Watch their face. It’s fun!

  18. ..And with apologies to Bobby Herman.

  19. Dermot Meuchner

    America ranks 37th in vaccination rates worldwide. Cambodia and Bangladesh do better than we. The amount of Dunning-Krueger syndrome here is extraordinary. And as far as religious exemptions go, pack them all in houses of worship and bolt the doors.

  20. Michael Kaplan

    John D McCarthy, every selectmen meeting since the re-imposition of the mask mandate by our current selectman has been in person and mask less. it is very easy to prove since these meetings are video recorded and you can find them on the town’s website. Look for yourself!

  21. Breno, I don’t know where you are getting your “facts” from.

    But the HHS website link below – which journalists would consider a primary source, and free of subjective interpretation – shows a clear difference in the number of hospital beds used for Covid patients between states with higher vs. lower vaccination rates:

    The stats were updated today. Click on the map in the lower right, and the middle tab at the bottom (Inpatient Bed Utilization for Covid-19.)

    Connecticut, thank goodness, currently has one of the lowest utilization rates.

  22. Chris Washington

    Dr. Hooman Noorchashm MD, PhD:

    Even during the small pox pandemic & the vax campaign that eradicated it, physicians did not vaccinate the already infected and recovered.

    My colleagues and I have just submitted this paper for peer review.

    Based on this analysis it appears that natural immunity is at least equivalent, if not superior, to vax immunity – and that the added benefit of vax in COVID-recovered persons is slight.

    Equivalency of Protection from Natural Immunity in COVID-19 Recovered Versus Fully Vaccinated Persons: A Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis | medRxiv

  23. Werner Liepolt

    Under federal law the owner of a business has a right to deny entry to unmasked persons so long as the rule of masking is applied uniformly to all who enter. There is no religious exemption so long as the rule is not being made to exclude those of any religion.

    A sign saying “No Sikhs allowed” would be illegal; “No headware allowed” would not.

    Whether proceedings that occurred when community leaders were breaking a community rule would be valid and legal poses an interesting problem.

  24. Yes, but this doesn’t address the possibility that those who have already had Covid, or have been vaccinated, can still harbor the virus in their nasal passages and spread the virus to others, particularly the Delta variant.

  25. CONGRATS TOYOU DAN , FOR EXPOSING THETWO SIDES OF THE CONTRoVERSY.. PLEASE —don’t stop WRITING ABOUT COVID until it ends. ..Will it, if the unmasked continue their selfish craziness?Andcan you legally list the businesses where owners and/or staff are not masked? That would be a positive step in protecting those of us who care,,,

  26. Mr Donatti if you don’t want to wear a mask or can’t wear a mask
    Just don’t go where you are not allowed to go
    Take long walks in the outside, but stay OUT of any place you threaten the lives of other people. Don’t drive 100 mph when the speed limit is 60
    Live your life as you choose without threatening everyone elses

    • Certainly, Ms. Stein. I love taking my kids to school in my bicycle every day and enjoy long evening walks with my wife. Thanks to my informed doctor I am also allowed anywhere else, including have taken over 30 flights around the country in the past year, always following airline protocol for people with a mask exemption. I haven’t found much resistance at all to be honest, most people are sympathetic and as long as we follow their rules and guidelines, everything works well.

      • It does indeed sound like you are a very special person. Imagine! Taking your kids to school each day on a bicycle while being so medically compromised wearing cloth on your face could be injurious!

        • I never said I was medically compromised. Maybe you misread it. Thank you for the good vibes, Mr. Lassoff, you sure are a special person, truly.

          • If you’re not medically compromised, then how could you have a medical excuse? Sounds like your doctor and you are committing fraud. You, as the owner of a food service business, and your doctor should be investigated.

            • Maybe you should re-read my first comment on the blog where I explain that, and if you still don’t understand, I’d be happy to give you a call and explain it to you. If we do end up meeting, my only rule is that we check our egos at the door. And hey, maybe you will end up teaching me to code and I will teach you to make a proper porchetta. I am a fan of your work with kids, great going!

            • I want to applaud Mark Lassoff and some of the other commenters for confronting each laughable fiction with incontrovertible fact. Refuting these people is exhausting and thankless. But thanks.

  27. Michael Kaplan

    I am sorry but there really are no valid medical reasons not to wear a mask unless they are incapacitated by mental health issues. Please read below:

    Medically Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on August 13, 2020
    Sources Experts say there are very few medical reasons for people to skip masks. “If you look at the research, patients with COPD, those with reactive airway, even those can breathe through a mask,” George says. Requests for exemptions due to medical reasons are usually without basis, he says. “Obviously, if someone is incapacitated, for example, with mental health issues, that’s case by case.”

    The Truth About Face Masks
    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s been lots of buzz about covering your face. Here’s the truth about face masks.

    Share on Facebook
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    Christofides says one of her patients cited anxiety and the other cited headaches as reasons not to wear a mask. “I told the one who asked for anxiety [reasons] that she could wear ones that were less tight.” The patient with headaches told Christofides that she had a buildup of carbon dioxide in the mask due to industrial exposure. Baloney, Christofides told her.

    Rizzo says one rare example of someone who can’t wear a mask might be a patient with an advanced lung condition so severe, they need extra oxygen. “These are the extreme patients where any change in oxygen and carbon dioxide could make a difference,” he says. But “that’s also the population that shouldn’t be going out in the first place.”

    Raz co-wrote a commentary about mask exemptions, saying doctors are faced with difficult decisions and must keep a delicate balance between public health and individual disability needs. “Inappropriate medical exemptions may inadvertently hasten viral spread and threaten public health,” she writes.

    In an interview, she says that some people do have a hard time tolerating a mask. “Probably the most common reasons are mental health issues, such as anxiety, panic and PTSD, and children with sensory processing disorders (making them oversensitive to their environment). I think there are very few pulmonary reasons.”

    CDC, Professional Organization Guidelines
    The CDC says people should wear masks in public and when around people who don’t live in the same household. Beyond that, it simply says masks should not be worn by children under age 2, ”or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

    In mid-July, four professional organizations released a statement in response to the CDC recommendation for facial coverings. Jointly issued by the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society and the COPD Foundation, it states in part that people with normal lungs and ”even many individuals with underlying chronic lung disease should be able to wear a non-N95 facial covering without affecting their oxygen or carbon dioxide levels.”

    It acknowledges that some people will seek an exemption and doctors must weigh the patient’s concerns against the need to stop the spread of the virus. “In some instances, physician reassurance regarding the safety of the facial coverings may be all that is needed,” it states.

    Addressing the Excuses
    Here are some of the common medical reasons people give for not being able to tolerate a mask:

    Claustrophobia or anxiety. Raz and others suggests a “desensitizing” period, wearing the mask for longer and longer periods of time to get used to it. Parents could suggest kids wear a mask when doing something they like, such as watching television, so they equate it with something pleasant. Switching to a different kind of mask or one that fits better could also help.
    Masks cause Legionnaires’ disease. Not true, experts say. Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia, the result of inhaling tiny water droplets with legionella bacteria.
    It’s difficult to read lips. People can buy masks with a clear window that makes their mouth and lips visible.
    Trouble breathing. Brief periods of mask use won’t have a bad effect on oxygen levels for most people.
    “There is not an inherent right to be out in a pandemic with an unmasked face,” Raz says. But ”you are entitled to an accommodation.” That might be using curbside pickup for food and medication, she says. That requires much less time wearing a mask than entering a store would.

    There are no ”boilerplate” cards or letters to excuse people provided by the four organizations that addressed the issue, Rizzo says. If he were to write a letter asking for an exemption, he would personalize it for an individual patient’s medical condition. As to whether a state would honor it, he cannot say. The states have a patchwork of recommendations, he says, making it difficult to say.

    Rizzo tells lung disease patients who are able to go out that wearing a mask for 15 to 20 minutes to do an errand won’t harm their oxygen levels. And he reminds them that having an exemption, in the form of a doctor’s letter, may bring more problems. “Even with an exemption, someone may confront them” for their lack of a face covering, he says. People with COPD have a higher risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19, according to the CDC.

  28. Chris Washington


    • Chris Washington


      1. Surgical mask / cloth face mask studies
      Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in
      11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020
      The US Centre for Disease Control performed a study which showed that 85 percent of those who contracted
      Covid-19 during July 2020 were mask wearers. Just 3.9 percent of the study participanets never wore a mask.
      Erratum. correction:
      2. Facial protection for healthcare workers during pandemics: a scoping review
      This study used 5462 peer-reviewed articles and 41 grey literature records.
      “Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to critical shortages of medical-grade PPE. Alternative forms of
      facial protection offer inferior protection. More robust evidence is required on different types of medical-grade
      facial protection. As research on COVID-19 advances, investigators should continue to examine the impact on
      alternatives of medical-grade facial protection”
      So how is your cloth and surgical mask working again if EVEN medical grade alternatives are failing ?
      Study Article:

      3. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses
      “There is moderate certainty evidence that wearing a mask probably makes little or no difference to the outcome
      of laboratory-confirmed influenza compared to not wearing a mask”
      Study article:

      4. Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery
      “We included three trials, involving a total of 2106 participants. There was no statistically significant difference
      in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials”
      Study article:
      5. Disposable surgical face masks: a systematic review
      Two randomised controlled trials were included involving a total of 1453 patients. In a small trial there was a
      trend towards masks being associated with fewer infections, whereas in a large trial there was no difference in
      infection rates between the masked and unmasked group.
      Study article:
      6. Evaluating the efficacy of cloth facemasks in reducing particulate matter exposure
      “Our results suggest that cloth masks are only marginally beneficial in protecting individuals from particles<2.5
      Study article:
      7. Face seal leakage of half masks and surgical masks
      “The filtration efficiency of the filter materials was good, over 95%, for particles above 5 micron in diameter
      but great variation existed for smaller particles.
      Coronavirus is 0.125 microns. therefore these masks wouldn’t protect you from the virus”
      Study article:
      8. Comparison of the Filter Efficiency of Medical Nonwoven Fabrics against Three Different Microbe
      “The filter efficiencies against influenza virus particles were the lowest”
      “We conclude that the filter efficiency test using the phi-X174 phage aerosol may overestimate the protective
      performance of nonwoven fabrics with filter structure compared to that against real pathogens such as the
      influenza virus”
      Study article:
      9. Aerosol penetration through surgical masks
      “Although surgical mask media may be adequate to remove bacteria exhaled or expelled by health care workers,
      they may not be sufficient to remove the submicrometer-size aerosols containing pathogens ”
      Study article:

    • A quick search on wikipedia show – LifeSiteNews is a Canadian Catholic far-right anti-abortion advocacy and news publication. LifeSiteNews has published misleading information and conspiracy theories, and in 2021, was banned from some social media platforms for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

      In the case of the above, there is little to no connection between the studies and the conclusion of the publication. This is a publication that could write that seat belts are not protecting passengers because most of the people who die in car accidents wear seat belts.

      Dan – I am all for informed factual based discussion/opinion exchange, but Mr. Washington is using your blog to spread misinformation that is banned on many other platforms, because it is inaccurate (the least).

  29. Chris Washington

    5. Disposable surgical face masks: a systematic review
    Two randomised controlled trials were included involving a total of 1453 patients. In a small trial there was a trend towards masks being associated with fewer infections, whereas in a large trial there was no difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group.
    Study article:

    6. Evaluating the efficacy of cloth facemasks in reducing particulate matter exposure
    “Our results suggest that cloth masks are only marginally beneficial in protecting individuals from particles<2.5 μm”
    Study article:

    7. Face seal leakage of half masks and surgical masks
    “The filtration efficiency of the filter materials was good, over 95%, for particles above 5 micron in diameter but great variation existed for smaller particles.
    Coronavirus is 0.125 microns. therefore these masks wouldn’t protect you from the virus” Study article:

  30. I asked earlier today for people to stop commenting. Comments continued. Comments are now closed.