• ssu
    Interesting to compare this discussion to here where masks haven't been recommended by the authorities and masks haven't been a huge topic. Outcome: Few people wear them and usually only in shopping malls etc, but if you go for a walk in the park nobody is wearing them. When I went to the hospital for a check up I noticed that none of the nurses and health care workers wore a mask. The doctor put on a mask only when inspecting me, but otherwise didn't have it on in the meeting. On the other hand, Finns seem to be quite OK and good with social distancing. So let's see if this country is setting up itself for a disaster without wearing those face masks.

    How absolutely everything is politicized by some is evident again in the discourse, btw.
  • Isaac
    there are a lot of biases associated with judging other people's intentions and character. Plus if it's an issue you feel strongly about, you'll be inclined to attribute negative character to whoever holds an opposing view.Echarmion

    True, but little different from any other type of analysis, that was my point. Looking to underlying psychological precursors to holding a particular belief (or expressing a particular belief - not necessarily the same thing) does indeed suffer from the risks you suggest, but so does a psychology-free analysis. Selection of evidence with which to counter someone's stated belief is riddled with bias, selecting the wording used to describe that evidence is inclined to be negative or positive depending on your beliefs.

    Bias and negative rhetoric are simply flaws which can creep equally into any type of analysis, even cold hard science. I can see some types of analysis being more inviting than others, but to be honest psychological analysis isn't even highest on that list. If one accuses others of, say, virtue-signalling, as here one can at least point to relatively well thought out and controlled experiments in social psychology to hint at the possibility. Where's the equivalent in, say, discussions about the logic of the Kalam cosmological argument? I think you'd be on much safer ground (in terms of removing bias) discussing the possible psychological motivations behind the beliefs of each party in such a discussion than you would just analysing the propositions for logical flaws. At least you'd have some empirical support for positions in the former case.
  • SophistiCat
    It makes sense because most masks were not manufactured for the purpose of blocking viruses or very small droplets of virus-carrying moisture. They were designed to reduce inhalation of hazardous dusts and pollution (smoke, for instance).Bitter Crank

    Oh so that's what surgical masks are for? To make those notoriously smoke-filled, asbestos-lined hospitals more safe for medical personnel? Who would've thunk.

    There has been largely consistent randomized controlled trial (RCT) evidence in health care workers that wearing surgical masks and N95 respirators can reduce the risks of respiratory illnesses [including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)] by 40–60%, after accounting for key confounders such as other protective equipment or hygiene measures.8,11 However, uncertainty remains as to whether surgical masks are inferior to N95 respirators in preventing infection. A recent meta-analysis shows that, compared with surgical mask use, use of N95 respirators is associated with a >50% reduced risk of overall clinical respiratory illness but has no apparent superiority in preventing viral infection,11 which is supported by a more recent large-scale RCT in an outpatient setting.8 Despite the potential superiority of N95 respirators over surgical masks, the evidence in health care workers defies a common claim that surgical masks are ineffective for prevention because some coronaviruses (e.g. SARS-CoV-2) may be airborne in specific scenarios (e.g. during aerosol generating procedures) and/or can infect people through the mucous membranes of the eyes.

    Trial evidence in the general population is, however, more limited, because it is practically challenging to carry out and there is high risk of non-compliance and cross-contamination.15–17 Nonetheless, several case-control studies conducted in the general population in Hong Kong and Beijing during the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 outbreak found that frequent use of facemasks (predominantly surgical masks in both studies) in public spaces was associated with a >60% lower odds of contracting SARS compared with infrequent use, after accounting for key confounders.18,19 Although the effectiveness could be overestimated in observational studies (as seen in studies among health care workers11) the lack of conclusive evidence does not substantiate claims that surgical masks are ineffective for the public, but calls for further research, particularly on the reason behind the failure of transferring the effectiveness observed in health care workers to the general population, and the strategies needed to boost the effectiveness.COVID-19 epidemic: disentangling the re-emerging controversy about medical facemasks from an epidemiological perspective (Int J Epidemiol. 2020)
  • frank
    Oh so that's what surgical masks are for? To make those notoriously smoke-filled, asbestos-lined hospitals more safe for medical personnel? Who would've thunk.SophistiCat

    Surgical masks protect a person from droplet transmitted organisms. Droplets are produced by coughing or sneezing.

    N95 masks protect from airborne transmitted stuff that floats on air currents. No cough is required, just regular breathing.

    This coronavirus has airborne transmission. In a hospital, they use N95 masks for known or suspected covid-19 cases.
  • Echarmion

    Sure, it makes sense that masks made out of normal cloth don't block viruses. It also makes sense that they alter the pattern of aerosol that you are breathing out.
  • emancipate
    In France it's mandatory in many places. So, I am wearing a masque not because I believe in its efficacy at preventing virus spread, but because I literally cannot enter my bank without one. No virtue involved.
  • Echarmion
    Standards pulled from one's ass can be satisfied in the same manner. Is your argument that nobody has ever signaled virtue for the positive social sanctions that might be bestowed as a result?VagabondSpectre

    No, that's not my argument. We are social creatures, and probably do a lot of signaling. My argument is that you have no reliable way to establish when someone is doing it. So any accusation of virtue signaling is merely ad-hom.

    I think that he is saying while we should certainly be wearing masks inside, the way we process the sight of others with or without masks (especially inside) is now a kind of moral signal in and of itself...

    As if merely wearing a mask gives you some kind of moral coupon that can be exchanged at a later time for adulation and anger from or at others... Right of rebuke...

    That's a good reading. I initially took it as tongue in cheek, but the subsequent comments do support your take.
  • Gus Lamarch
    However, the mask "signals virtue"; it says "this person is responsible, and cares about the health of others.Bitter Crank

    Pure egoism. We all do this consciously or unconsciously not because we are in essence good people, but because we all want to be "seen" by others as good people.
  • Bitter Crank

    To all:

    Thanks for the responses. After reading through them I will withdraw the suggestion that mask wearing is virtue signally. Maybe it signals solidarity, or the intent to comply, but not virtue.

  • Marchesk
    We all do this consciously or unconsciously not because we are in essence good people, but because we all want to be "seen" by others as good people.Gus Lamarch

    Is it therefore more important to be seen as good, than to actually be good? It's interesting how our stated moral systems say the opposite.
  • Gus Lamarch
    Is it therefore more important to be seen as good, than to actually be good?Marchesk

    In the kind of society that we are included, it is visible the "theater" of good deeds that everyone preaches, and meanwhile, internally hate. The act is more importante than the performance.

    It's interesting how our stated moral systems say the opposite.Marchesk

    Of course it does. - Doublethink - Doing an act of "goodness" is seen with good eyes, it is rewarding, both to the person doing the act, as to the one seeing it. The former will be seen as virtuous, and the later as responsible and good-willed.
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