Not clear about the data

Chuck Pezeshki, in his Aug. 14 “His View” editorial said that he supports vaccination but that he thinks masks don’t work to prevent COVID-19 infection. It isn’t clear where he’s getting his data, but a recent review from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concludes the opposite. Masks do reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Masks do not work, though, if we don’t wear them right. Just today, in one of my medical journals, researchers evaluated mask use during a large sporting event. About 74 percent of people used their masks in a way that actually works — using an adequate mask covering nose, mouth and chin.

Models that look at mask effectiveness indicate that if less than 80 percent of people use masks properly, they are strikingly less effective. Some other data that is interesting includes the fact that women are more likely to wear masks (right) than men and that countries that culturally value the good of the community have higher mask use and lower COVID-19 rates.

Professor Pezeshki, whose specialty is mechanical and materials engineering, keeps repeating his wrong opinion and he is then corrected, most recently by Terence Day (good letter) in July. I encourage everyone to listen to Pezeshki’s advice on vaccination (get vaccinated) and also use a mask that fits well enough to leave it on, covering nose, mouth and chin, without fiddling with it or letting it ride below the nose or mouth, when in situations that carry a significant risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Janice Boughton

Moscow

Taking issue with ‘expert’about wearing masks

I take issue with recent columns by Chuck Pezeshki and his “expert” opinions around tackling COVID-19.

Dr. Chuck tells us that masks don’t work, we don’t need to worry about our kid’s health, while fanning the flames of a political divide about something that should be a public safety issue. It’s disgusting that he uses his status as a professor at Washington State University to promote falsehoods as his “obligation.” Would WSU support the statements you have made? Such statements have banned others from multiple platforms, and I wonder when editors have a moral responsibility to fact check.

COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets. Cloth masks routinely block 50-70 percent of the droplets. It doesn’t take a mechanical engineer to realize that any barrier; mask, bandana, your hand, impedes the flow of respiratory droplets from reaching another person. Masks, vaccines and common sense are the tools we have. Our neighbors in Kootenai County would benefit from this.

Dr. Chuck uses the argument that masks hinder breathing. Studies have shown no change in oxygen/carbon dioxide levels with cloth or surgical mask during rest or physical activity even if you have COPD. It’s a miracle more medical professionals don’t pass out.

People bring up the psychological harm from not seeing another’s mouth. Never seeing that person alive or being responsible for their death would be worse.

This past week, police were brought in to protect educators in Colorado because of the anti-mask crowd. Is that what you want here, Dr. Chuck?

It’s the weekly voices like yours that can help solve the problem or fuel division. My son is a tough dude but he has asthma. I don’t want to gamble with the health of others and I will look to medical professionals for advice. I encourage everyone to verify information from multiple, qualified sources.

Benjamin Harlow

Moscow

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