Thoughts on economics and liberty

Proof that masks work against coronavirus

Compiling the knowledge I’ve acquired so far:

Yes, N95 masks DO minimise the chance of getting the virus. Taiwan had planned and got itself fully prepared even as the virus had barely started. They were on the front foot and started mass production. By end February they were producing 4 million masks per day. Now 10 million per day. Plus 120 other actions.


The Government Was Wrong About Masks

Wearing a protective facial covering was more effective than increased hand-washing, slathering on the hand sanitizer, avoiding common areas, stepping up workspace cleaning, and trying to stay physically distant from others.


ADDENDUM It remains true that “if people don’t wash their hands before taking off a mask, “you could increase your risk”. Washing hands before putting it on is important, and likewise after washing, since some virus might transmit from the mask to the hands. Hand sanitisers are therefore a crucial part of the mask toolkit.


Claim: ‘Face masks don’t work’

Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).

If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask.

However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.


The high rate of infection may be blamed, in part, on inadequate hand disinfection and sparse use of N95 respirators, which are designed to filter out virus particles, according to a study posted Feb. 19 on the preprint server medRxiv.


“commonly worn surgical masks are not effective protection”. “A heavy-duty mask, called an N95 respirator, is considerably better protection, but it is uncomfortable and can make breathing more difficult, the radio network said.”


“Masks known as N95 respirators guard against the virus, but only if used properly. Other masks don’t filter out small particles harboring the bug.”


N95 masks offer more protection. But they only work if they fit properly, and aren’t suitable for children or people with facial hair


“Doctors at the largest public hospital in New York say equipment shortages have resulted in them wearing the same masks for as long as a week. [This means that despite concerns, they can be re-used in emergency situations]



Guess what? Life is normal in Taiwan and everyone, including toddlers, are wearing masks."the government banned the…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020


This is official Taiwan advice on prevention. See under the "prevention of disease" tab at

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16 March 2020

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020


MASKS WORK"In late January, shortly after Japan’s first infection of a person who had not been to China, hand…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

And Japan has the same requirement to wear masksFrom Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Koreans also wear masks.From Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16 March…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Jo Nova’s Masks do help, even (maybe) stopping 75% of influenza, and you can make them







The Science That Shows Why Masks FAIL Against COVID-19

My comment: Yes, they seem to be problematic if worn incorrectly (or removed incorrectly) or worn for too long, but if worn correctly for short duration in crowded places they can reduce the chance of getting “sufficient” viral load.

Viral load is the most significant predictor of catching an infection. For most of us, the chance of getting the disease is extremely low already. We can lower it by a further bit by using masks in crowded settings. Those who work in high viral load settings (e.g. nurses/ doctors) can receive very high viral doses daily so masks may not protect them well enough. They should probably use stronger protections.
Having said that, since this disease generally is not transmitted by aerosols (except during very extended contacts), masks are probably unnecessary for most of us.
The main reason I support masks is the experience of Taiwan which actually gives its citizens an N95 disposable mask every two days. They have had only 441 cases so far, and 7 deaths. And Taiwan is 100 per cent open for business. It never closed. They use other techniques as well, but masks do seem to work.



Sanjeev Sabhlok

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