Monday, March 30, 2020

Among whites, Czechs are the face mask pioneers

If you look at it, I have considered the face masks to be a key tool in the suppression of the propagation of similar flu-like viruses at least since January, a tool that has clearly been successful not only in China but also in Japan, Taiwan, and some other Asian countries. On March 11th, I explicitly wrote the minister of health to make them mandatory and it basically occurred since March 18th.

The girl, actress Aneta Kernová (*1996), is a typical communicative pretty Czech girl that foreigners may date etc. Through some fast DNA-GPU calculations, I can see that if I were pretty and a girl, I would look almost just like her.

The Czech data really suggests that the peak of the daily new cases occurred about a week after that new duty, as expected. The change of the trend due to the mask is visible, unlike the hypothetical change of the trend due to the cancellation of events and businesses.

The video at the top is officially endorsed by the Czech government. It explains that in contrast with the widespread misunderstanding (even by some officials at the WHO), even the simplest masks help. But they mainly help "others", not the carrier of the masks, according to the slogan
I protect you, you protect me.
Too bad that this rudimentary point still remains misunderstood, even after 2 months in which the virus has been the #1 topic for 24 hours a day. In the video, various physicians and particle physicists speak.

There exists a global website which mainly shows the persuasive data from Asia – where the high face mask culture leads to negligible health problems with Covid-19 – but it also features the Czech video. On Twitter etc., the relevant hash tag is #Masks4All.

In Czechia, the country of 10.6 million, we had the first three cases on March 1st. We're currently doing over 4,000 tests a day or so, 6% of them end up being positive. The maximum daily new cases peaked at around 370 on March 26th or so. Now the daily new cases seem to be below 200 again. Some 200 are hospitalized, including 45 serious cases, 17 people have died, almost all of them very old or very ill, in most cases both. One nurse has died, too. 11 have officially recovered, a 9-day-long break in between two negative tests is required.

The pride about Czechs' being the "honorary Asians" is widespread. Aside from the viral song by Mirai which has 1.6 million views now (I am happy they didn't credit me with the translation of the subtitles into Lumo English), you may find hundreds of YouTube videos how to create a home-made mask.

Here, the Czech PM Andrej Babiš, a Slovak-born billionaire (or former one?), urges the world to be as smart as Czechs. In another tweet, he told Donald Trump to make America great again and climb back down from the chandelier. Oh, sorry, I meant that Babiš told him to introduce the masks for all.

The Slovak atheist pretending to be Czech didn't forget to urge God to bless America (Babiš claims to debate with the Universe, like I do, but when two men do the same thing, it's not the same thing). Of course, the world starts to take notice. For example, this article at Breitbart is very good.

Some 95-100 percent of the droplets are shielded even by the simplest cloth masks. Because the infection is often all about one droplet, this may translate to a 95% reduction of the number of new cases. Even when the number of droplets is sufficient (and the chance of at least 1 droplet only drops by 80%), it's possible that the initial viral dose matters for the severity of the disease and, as several people correctly observed in the context of the previous blog post about viral doses, that's also why the masks could be damn useful in reducing the fatality count.

Despite lots of misinformation and superstitions, I think that the world will ultimately – hopefully extremely soon – figure out that the lockdowns are absolutely unsustainable (Hesse's finance minister figured it out and cleverly jumped under the train) and they have to be ended as soon as possible (too bad he didn't read the rest of this sentence first). Masks – which actually work, unlike lockdowns – will probably be around for a while. I think that with the big decrease of the infections outside due to the masks, the dominant channel of infection could be at home or inside apartment blocks etc. It may even be a good idea to make masks mandatory or recommended at home, to prevent the transfer of the virus in between family members or roommates.

P.S.: The amount of material and cultural resonances of the #Masks4All is huge. See this document for a starter. Famous women, ex-First Lady etc. are sewing, dogs and statues and streetcars wear masks, there are first vending machines with masks etc. Slovakia followed us with a 1-week delay, interestingly, the third full-blown European mask country is Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Austria is doing so now, at least in supermarkets, and Germany plans it soon. The document also mentions that Czechs might be honorary Asians because of our big Vietnamese community – Czechia is by density the 3rd most Vietnamese-rich country after Vietnam and Cambodia. Our reed men found the masks particularly natural.

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