Corona Virus and Superstition -effectiveness of masks

Superstition and the Corona virus:

My above post has been flagged as inappropriate.
It was a link to a WP article, without any comments from me.
I know that somebody don’t like WP, but then don’t read it.

I didn’t flag it but this is supposed to be about actual news, not silly-season stuff even if about coronavirus.

I flagged it.

So here’s the risk as I see it. Tell folks ‘masks don’t work’ and some take it to heart. The full message is ‘dust masks don’t work against aerosol virus particles’ which is true. People can then jump from ‘masks don’t work’ to ‘nothing works so I might as well throw a party with all my friends.’

What next? ‘Hand washing doesn’t work (because it’s aerosol transmission)’ or ‘social distancing doesn’t work (because 70% of the population will get it eventually).’ Great. Party time! :dizzy_face:

That’s why I flagged your post. I don’t think I’ve flagged any post before except obvious spam. Maybe I overreacted. Maybe not.

I enjoy your banter, Ombugge. You bring a lot of excitement and provoke thought on many subjects. But to say ‘masks don’t work’ and leave it at that is in the same category as the daily White House press briefing (1630 EDT today!) as hosted by our President.


I did not make any comment, or voice my approval of the WP article.
You should tell the editor(s) at WP that their reporting is irresponsible.

Now back to Fox News for some believable and well researched reporting on the danger of COVID-19.(They just had a change of mind apparently)

The first boats that I worked Chief Engineer on were ancient <200ft, <500GT supply boats. Those class of boats had very little automation & no high level alarms on the fuel oil tanks. Ridiculous in hindsight. To fill the f/o service tanks (Daytanks) we either used a very slow f/o centrifuge if we had one or a small f/o transfer pump. It was never a good idea to use the big cargo pump because the piping for the daytank was usually 1-1/2" NPT & the piping could leak or burst if the larger pump was used. The centrifuge or small pump could take hours to fill the daytanks & with no high level alarms it was common for these types of boats to have fuel spills while filling the daytanks. Engineers would get distracted, forget they were filling the tanks & the back deck & bayou would get thoroughly lubricated with the pink stuff. Pull out the fire hoses & hope no one called the office or USCG. Very convenient that the tanks had to be filled before midnight & it would be dark if fuel hit the deck. Amazingly I never gave the back deck a diesel bath. I was taught to put a rubber band on my wrist or a piece of electrical tape on my pinky finger to remind myself that the centrifuge or small pump was transferring fuel.

Concerning the coronavirus & the cheap masks that don’t supposed to prevent infection. I honestly believe they would work for me because the mask on my face would be a constant reminder that I had to keep my guard up just like the rubber bands & electrical tape did. Wear the cheap mask if you don’t have anything else IMO.


That’s a good way to think of the masks. I have no choice but to go to a hospital outpatient clinic on the mainland to remove a cast on Wednesday. The hospital has virus cases. All I have is a dust mask which won’t stop fine particles but it’ll serve as a constant reminder to be on my guard. The small island on which I live is closed to non-residents and has the same size population as a cruise ship. We have a tiny hospital that would be instantly overwhelmed if I came back infected.

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You probably don’t have a Stryker saw, but a pair of tin snips might get you somewhere. If you do have a Stryker saw, have at it. :slight_smile:

Stryker saws vibrate instead of rotating, so they don’t cut flesh. If you have a multi-tool with a convex blade and controllable speed that might work out very well.

It’s more complicated than just cutting the cast. Bones were removed from the damaged area and a rod installed to use as an anchor and cables (Yes, that is what the surgeon calls them. Very nautical nomenclature) attached to keep the remaining bones in place. X-rays will be required prior to making a decision to remove the rod/anchor, possible use of nerve blockers to minimize pain during removal, possible need for recasting, etc etc…


A couple of weeks ago a program that I watched showed a CDC spokesperson lick her finger to turn a page & several clips of politicians touching their faces while speaking. They are humans & make the same errors as the rest of us. I’m sure if they had a 10 cent dust mask or a bandana covering their faces they probably would have remembered not to do that. Back in the day I would have loved to have high level alarms, stronger piping, faster pumps & an extra person to set to watch the sight glass but the 1 cent rubber band & 2 inches of electrical tape worked fine when it had too.


Don’t forget the loblolly boy and a bucket.

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OK Patrick O’Brian


A friend who acquired a half a dozen N-95 masks for family some weeks ago just offered to give me one of the 2- packs before I head to Virginia Beach for my visit to the hospital. You find out who your real friends are in times like these.

The difference between dust masks commonly found in the workplace and N-95 masks,

A 1 cent rubber band and electrical tape were a bit handy for measuring/monitoring devices. Still in use today. I get it, You go with what you know or knew what worked no matter how simple or complicated… For a while anyway. Most of my CE were pretty sharp. they kept an eye on AE. Good stuff. Slept well most of the time.

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On my last hitch I actually used the timer on my Fitbit watch when transferring fuel with the purifier. It reminded me to look up at the King gauge.

On masks- more useful for those infected to help prevent spread; but if we don’t know who is infected it can’t hurt to wear one in public anyway. Most designs don’t stop aerosolized particles completely but they stop a lot. If you wear it, keep it on your face. Moving it around can transfer viruses from other parts of your face to the area it is meant to protect.

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I only use full protective gear when, e.g., doing steel repairs in the engine room (asbestos) and cargo tanks. The gear is cover all, hard hat, gloves, boots, ear plugs, glasses, face mask, etc. It only protects against inhaling dangerous particles in the air, which does not include virus of any sorts. Luckily I can breath (in/out) using the gear. Due to this corona I am working from home - without any protective gear at all.

Ordinary surgical masks that you see many people wearing do not protect against novel corona virus according to the experts and WHO (They definitely don’t work if worn under the kin, which appears to be quite common)

Those are meant to protect patients from bacteria and viruses carried by doctors and health personnel, or to stop people that suffer from common cold and influenza etc. from spreading the sickness to other.

Wearing such masks may help to keep people feeling protected, which could be said to be a good thing, although it may also cause them to ignore other precautions (Like keeping (Anti-) social distance when out and about)

The N95 type masks:

Can actually offer some protection, but only if worn properly, not removed or adjusted frequently,

I believe everyone in the United States knows that by now. It’s been on TV, radio, news reports, click bait, junk email, and on and on.

Here’s the problem: You cannot buy the correct masks anywhere in the United States right now. Every hospital has been buying them. Every store is empty of them. You can’t get them online… ok, you can sometimes find a single $1.00 N95 mask for sale for $90.00 or so. There’s a booming business of counterfeit masks now.

This is going on in the United States. This is happening in Italy and Spain. This happened in China. I’d imagine it happens everywhere an outbreak is blooming.

So here’s what folks are likely thinking: Do I use an insufficient mask or no mask at all?

In China medical personnel were filmed using bandanas. In Italy they are using plastic face shields. In the United States volunteers are sewing cloth masks in their homes at the request of hospitals. None of this is sufficient but people will do what they can with what they have.

Personally, I have a pile of dust masks and dust filters at home from my home repair and woodworking projects. I know they are insufficient and yet I will use them because it’s the best I’ve got.

I did have an opportunity to take a free N95 mask from my doctor’s office the other day. I did not take any. Under these circumstances it felt immoral. Others need them more than I do. I’ll use a dust mask and take my chances.


I wore a N95 mask today for a trip to the hospital that couldn’t be rescheduled. Breathing was affected, a little more than a common dust mask, I’ll say 15% over open breathing. Tighter fit and slightly uncomfortable but necessary in that environment. It also helped remind me to keep my fingers off my face. About 15% of patients in the waiting room wore masks. 95% of the staff did but interestingly, (outpatient visit) my surgeon was in the 5% who didn’t.
My wife ordered (I don’t know how much they were, she never looks at prices) some N100 masks which are a grade above but they’re on back order and won’t arrive until the third week of April.
I hear this thing is going to be history by Easter which is on April 12 so they’ll be too late to do us any good. :confused: