Erin's Journals

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Just a thought… You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. [Daniel Patrick Moynihan]

As usual, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page or here on YouTube.

I hope that you had a restful long weekend. They say that a change is as good as a rest, and for many of us, change is just not an option. So we rest. We choose our clothes for the day based not on what fits or what looks good, but what’s comfortable and whether or not there will be Zoom calls or vlogs.

For some, of course, it’s business as unusual – the incredible people: health care workers, teachers, cops, drivers, mail carriers, people who keep us in bread and milk – who are going out into the world and working, trying to make life as normal as it can be at a time when two masks are being recommended as more strains of the coronavirus make it to our shores.

Wearing two masks? Not a problem. I will do anything it takes to help make the people around me safe – especially the more vulnerable – while we wait for vaccines to become available.

What I don’t get (and this is opinion) is opening up when we should be locking down. The science is here; the predictions for a third, even more deadly wave are too. And we seem to be heading towards it like a runaway train.

I understand human nature, the importance of a recovering economy and especially getting people back to work. I get that. But I don’t argue with science and I especially don’t listen to people who come up with insane theories about the vaccine or even the importance of wearing a mask.

Honestly – a year into this chaos – there are people who are refusing to wear even one mask over their face holes. Because they are selfish and, uh-oh, here’s a Colin swear word: “stupid.” How stupid? Have you heard the one making the rounds that because a fart makes it through their pants to my nose, a mask won’t keep viruses from spreading person to person?

If you haven’t heard this argument, well, lucky you. Because I’ve been thinking about it way too much. So, with the help of Snopes, please allow me to demonstrate the difference between how gas and a virus spread. Here’s the Snopes piece, by the way, for actual pictures of petri dishes and so on. 

Let me boil it down for you. For starters, people breathe far more often than they fart. On average, a person takes about 20,000 breaths per day. Conversely, the average person farts between 5 and 15 times per day. Here’s a tip: if you find yourself passing gas as often as you breathe, first of all – this could explain a very lonely Valentine’s Day – and secondly, see a doctor. Like right now. Don’t wait to read how this ends.

If these were equally viable methods of COVID-19 transmission (which they are not, but we’ll address that later), it’s clear why health officials would focus more on getting the public to wear masks instead of pants. Clothing, of course, is already widely used – legally required in fact – in most public spaces. So there’s that. No pants, no shoes, no service. No kidding.

It should also be noted that masks, like pants, prevent droplet transmission. Gosh, I hope so.

But how do we know this for sure? I was afraid you’d ask, but without getting into too much detail, there’s this guy who’s dubbed the Bill Nye the Science Guy of Australia who actually measured the wind of farts – so much less interesting a book, I’m sure, than the Winds of War, although if you’ve ever been subjected to a Dutch Oven (look it up), you’ll know that it can LEAD to war. But anyway, this Dr. Karl (how proud his mom must be!) determined through actual science and testing by the light of a full moon, believe it or not, that wearing pants – just like wearing a mask – can lessen droplet transmission.

There WAS a story going around that the virus could be transmitted through fecal matter. That was debunked and deemed unlikely. No surprise.

In the same way, a mask can prevent droplet transmission, slow the spread of COVID-19 and, like pants, at the very least, it can lessen the overall grossness factor. 

Look – we’re smart people. I mean you’re here, aren’t you? But sometimes if you come across a tweet or a post somewhere that makes you go, “yeah, what about that?” you need answers. Sure, you can block or delete, and that’s usually my first response. But if you think there’s even an iota, a droplet, of hope that some actual science might get through to a person whose whole life is about “keeping an open mind” then you can share this with them. Or, you know, tell them to replace the tin foil hat on their heads with a pair of underwear.

It can’t hurt and unlike their profile picture, it’ll actually show the world who they are.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, February 16, 2021