Remind me which party doesn’t like to wear masks

This caught my eye:

HT: Razib Khan



40 Responses to “Remind me which party doesn’t like to wear masks”

  1. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. January 2021 at 16:17

    Our elderly host is stuck in the past, so common with seniors. In fact, the real debate is here, how fast we can inoculate people before immunity runs out. My words below from another post. (Ray) “Israel serostudy: 98% have sterilizing immunity after second Pfizer shot; they cannot infect others.” – but if the vaccine is about 95% effective, that means: 95%*98% = 93% and thus 100%-93% = 7% of all people given the shot *can* infect others (either because the vaccine doesn’t work for them, or, they are part of the 2% that can spread infections after being inoculated.

    The real question is not re-infection but how long the immunity lasts. If it lasts less than nine months, then vaccinating even 100M people in 100 days as Biden wants will not prevent R0 from necessarily going less than 1.0, since the first batch of people vaccinated nine months ago (330M people / 100M = about 9 mos.) will start being capable of being reinfected and the Covid-19 chimeric virus will then have a reservoir of people that can then reinfect others, depending on how many months the vaccine allows immunity. Do the math

  2. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    19. January 2021 at 17:52

    Clearly the Republicans are much more diligent about getting tested.

    (I don’t think so. But just seeing this data only, that would so be a valid conclusion?)

  3. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. January 2021 at 18:06

    I was pretty sure before but now I am *positive* has never heard of regression analysis.

  4. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. January 2021 at 18:07

    Positive that Scott has never heard of regression analysis.

  5. Gravatar of xu xu
    19. January 2021 at 18:53

    Fear mongering is a great tool used by apparatchiks and wannabe apparatchiks “AKA SUMNER” to consolidate wealth.

    Their propagandists and illogical avarice scumbags are now trying to convince all of us that “two masks” instead of “one mask” is the key to warding off the virus.

    The propaganda, the misinformation, the Sumner totalitarians, and the dystopian CCP are moving ever closer to a finality of evil.

    Only liberty loving patriots can fend them off.

    Sumner will meet his fate soon. Either through the barrel of an American Patriots liberty loving rifle, or the state of nature. Either would be good riddance, and ensure one less Hamiltonian federalist.

    Burr did the right thing!

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. January 2021 at 19:08

    Ray, LOL, always good for a few laughs. Please keep it up.

    Xu, I thought you were the economic nationalist.

  7. Gravatar of Jg Jg
    19. January 2021 at 19:51

    Scott – you’ve seen the graphs of mask mandate compared to infections over time. The vast majority of these graphs for large cities , states and most countries show a significant increase in infections post mandates. If masks are very effective in stopping or slowing spread , how come so many plots show otherwise? If masks are so efficacious , why lockdown? Have you seen doctor vaping through various masks including I believe N95? Vape goes right through masks. Are covid particles larger than vape smoke? Based on antibody studies it is not unreasonable to assume over 100M infected in USA. If we did not wear masks , what is your guess as to the number of infections and does not this greater number hasten natural immunity? And if sufficient numbers of Americans don’t want to take vax, what is case for more lockdown / masks?
    What are your thoughts about Denmark and Vietnamese studies (randomized control trial) that conclude masks are not effective in preventing spread of viruses?

  8. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    19. January 2021 at 21:00

    “The propaganda, the misinformation, the Sumner totalitarians, and the dystopian CCP are moving ever closer to a finality of evil.”

    Curses our evil, genius plan has been detected!

    As for Aaron Burr seems to me he has two things on his conscience: he killed Alexander Hamilton AND his filibuster killed the Senate for over two hundred years.

  9. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    19. January 2021 at 21:04

    Plenty of smart economists have come out saying we’ve done too much in terms of mitigation (Robin Hanson done a lot of work on the costs being too high). That just shows the gop practicing what they preach. There’s a hypothetical mitigation effort that would have stopped the pandemic and led to reopening but we were never going to hit that level. Once you are in the wrong side of not being to stop the pandemic then seems like the costs of mitigation is too high for what we gave up. If you can be New Zealand then be New Zealand but if you can’t then open.

  10. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    19. January 2021 at 21:51

    It is amazing how much ink can be spent by commenters to try and explain away the obvious. And, btw, if these guys weren’t so bent on US navel gazing they would maybe, maybe even realize that masks are used… well pretty much everywhere in the world. Yea, total effectiveness hasn’t been studied to the death yet but for a device that costs just cents and is painless to use, why on Earth not, even if you have doubts. But no. So let’s go on instead with hairsplitting about significance levels in studies, because, yea, we have plenty of time and the subject is not important. It doesn’t get any more absurd.

  11. Gravatar of sarah sarah
    19. January 2021 at 22:54

    The military industrial complex is dancing in the streets again.

    Biden has not yet been sworn into office, and the French are already calling for “increased US military presence in the middle east”.

    And I’m sure that Biden will put American boys in harms way again for special interests, starting another frivolous war, to appease the corrupt.

    Trump was the first President in the last forty years to NOT involve the USA in foreign wars, and by that I mean both overt and covert. Obama and his “fake Nobel Peace Price” were responsible for millions of global deaths. That lunatic was a war criminal, and now his pedophile vice president is back for more with same strategy of drones and dark money covert ops. Who is the next frail target? Assad again?

    Trump was more deserving of the Nobel than Obama or his pedophile VP.

    Lord have mercy on us all.

  12. Gravatar of WokeBC WokeBC
    19. January 2021 at 23:54

    Wait, I thought all disparities in statistical outcomes were evidence of privilege and systemic discrimination. Isn’t it more than a little suspicious that the Democrat-designed Obamacare produces better health outcomes for Democrats than for Republicans? Time to Defund Obamacare. #RepublicanLivesMatter

    Regardless, no one should now tolerate Democrats trying to Demsplain to Republicans that they need to take Covid seriously. Republicans have more lived experience of being Covid victims!

  13. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    20. January 2021 at 01:36

    ‘”Trump hasn’t started any new wars!”: yes, but he’s maintained or expanded every existing one (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen), launched a coup/economic war on Venezuela (on top of the ones on Cuba & Nicaragua), and done every thing he can to start a war with Iran.’

  14. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    20. January 2021 at 02:54


    Yes, I’ve paid little attention to these mask discussions since Scott first expressed doubts about expert advice not to wear them early in the pandemic. It was a “Duh.” moment, because, mask-wearing has been part of disease spread prevention for many decades, doctors routinely wear masks under some circumstances, and as you mention, it’s much quicker and cheaper to just put a mask on when. In public than to conduct a literature review.

  15. Gravatar of Scott H. Scott H.
    20. January 2021 at 05:29

    The Republican party.

  16. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    20. January 2021 at 05:50

    I don’t know how many papers and case studies need to show that masks reduce infections by 60%-70% before Republicans believe them. We had the evidence back in April, and we have more of it now. They would literally rather kill and die than admit they are fools.

  17. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    20. January 2021 at 06:33

    Scott is getting lazy—-throw some obvious chum into the water and get 16 people to respond. He knows this means nothing—-yes nothing, No timing of when these happened, or what states these people were from etc. See what I mean? I am actually responding as if this were a serious point being made.

  18. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. January 2021 at 06:59

    This is an obvious result. Totally predictable.

    Ray actually made a good point (until the end when he went tin foil hat)… if immunity runs out before we get to herd from the vaccines, it’s endemic and will not disappear.

    We will be taking annual covid vaccines with flu shots. Another question is how long will the virus stay so virulent? We will it become basically a cold virus like the other coronaviruses endemic to humanity.

  19. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. January 2021 at 07:09

    Now I will go a bit tin foil for shits. The Neanderthals were wiped out by a new virus (to them at least) introduced from populations migrating out of Africa. It devastated their populations quite like old world viruses viruses decimated humans living in the new world.

  20. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. January 2021 at 07:11

    Those that didn’t die out were absorbed, resulting in Elizabeth Warren levels of trace genetic material in us all.

  21. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    20. January 2021 at 07:48

    1) Scott, I think the link is wrong. (But interesting!)

    2) I go the other way, which is that it’s likely that the infected Republicans have *other* risk-promoting behaviors in addition to masks, (I suspect less social distancing in particular), but I agree that its good Bayesian evidence for mask efficacy.

  22. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    20. January 2021 at 08:49

    I thought there were a lot of competing theories about Neanderthal extinction including the pathogen theory you reference but also competitive replacement by Homo Sapiens, climate change and the fallout from a major volcanic eruption.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. January 2021 at 10:04

    Jg, I don’t have time to answer all your questions, but there’s a lot of misinformation there. For instance, the Denmark study does not say masks are ineffective in slowing Covid. It does not even test that proposition.

    I have no idea whether mask mandates works, but there are studies that suggest they do work. Mask mandate are endogenous—they tend to be enacted when Covid is rising for some reason. Testing picks up the effects with a lag.

    Over in East Asia, the public reacts with disbelief when told that many Americans refuse to wear masks. It’s just common courtesy.

    I’d say there’s about 75 million Americans exposed, and I’d say there’d be 220 million without any social distancing. I don’t know the impact of masks alone. There’d be over a million dead already w/o social distancing

    To me, this is like global warming denialism, I’m just tired of it. Masks don’t work perfectly, but they slow the spread. The virus doesn’t travel as far after a cough if wearing a mask.

    Sean, There’s a solid argument for not mitigating, but it would have meant more than a million dead back in the spring, and hospitals in a state of complete collapse. We never even came CLOSE to what this would look like without mitigation.

    In any case, it’s a moot point, as the government doesn’t decide this issue, the public decides. I freely chose to mitigate.

    WokeBC, Cute.

    Student, So I have just as much right to claim I’m a caveman as Warren has to claim she’s an Indian? 🙂

    J Mann, 1. Thanks I fixed it.

    2. Yes, but their “other behavior” is hanging around other Republicans that don’t wear masks.

  24. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. January 2021 at 10:15

    Scott, maybe, maybe not… I forget the exact shares but I’d guess Elizabeth Warren is an order or magnitude more Native American than we are Neanderthal but that’s just because the time spans are an order of magnitude longer. I was joking. Maybe badly 🧐

  25. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    20. January 2021 at 10:20

    Scott, re 2:

    Sure, plus I suspect going out to eat more, having larger social gatherings and more in-person gatherings vs video. They also may be more likely to show up for events with mild symptoms.

    But agreed, the main difference between GOP and Dems personal behavior in this area is likely to be masks.

  26. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. January 2021 at 10:20

    That’s true Carl… but after living through a relatively small event compared to those massive ones… my prior has shifted to the most likely explanation being a pathogen and absorption senario.

  27. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    20. January 2021 at 14:09

    A million deaf seems way to high on deaths. Though possible. It’s my belief that the death rate is in the .25 to .35 range now. Depends on death rate but would only put us at 700k deaths according to your exposure data.

    The problem with masks mandates wasn’t wearing them in the grocery store it was being defacto closures of bars and restaurants.

  28. Gravatar of JC1 JC1
    20. January 2021 at 14:50

    And the Keystone pipeline is gone. Scott, the libertarian conservative, must be pleased.

  29. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. January 2021 at 18:55

    Sean, You are completely wrong, but I see this sort of mistake all over the internet. The IFR started at around 1% and is now around 0.6%. Without social distancing it might well have been over 1%, and 2/3 of the entire US population would have been infected last spring.

    Heck, almost 0.25% of the entire population of NJ has already died of Covid and more die every day. Probably more if you add Covid deaths not counted in the stats. How many got infected? Without social distancing, I’d guess at least 0.40% of New Jersey residents would have died, probably more.

    The US has 330 million people. If even 0.3% of the US population died that’s a million. All you’d need is an IFR of 0.45% and 2/3 of the public getting infected. And if there was no social distancing the deaths would have been front loaded to last spring, with many people not even getting treatment in overloaded hospitals.

    So many people are in complete denial about the seriousness of the problem.

    JC1, How does that relate to masks?

  30. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    20. January 2021 at 23:02

    @Student – thanks but nothing I said is tin foil hat at all. See this thread: (South African strain of Covid-19 appears to be resistant to the C19 vaccine, or trending in that direction). Again, failure to achieve herd immunity will defeat the entire purpose of vaccinations as the chimeric C-19 virus will gain a foothold (analogous to malaria, which gets a foothold and then is hard to wipe out; smallpox was similar; polio similar, dengue fever, the common flu, etc etc etc).

    PS–Sumner is humorous. Think of him as a very knowledgeable English professor who knows a lot about humanities but little or nothing about science, but tries and act scientific. Physics envy.

  31. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    20. January 2021 at 23:03

    Solecism: tries “to act” not ‘tries and act’.

  32. Gravatar of Student Student
    21. January 2021 at 05:55

    Yes, I agree with your main point. If we don’t get to vax induced (assisted) herd before immunity runs out for the first waves, then we are like a dog chasing it’s tail.

    but I know what u were dog whistling with the chimeric reference… that it’s lab originated. Maybe but unlikely currently given what we know. More likely it’s more like every other epidemic/pandemic in human history. It’s a natural phenomenon that since the year 2000 seems to occur at least every 7 years. Lab originated viruses are just one more source of disturbance to deal with now.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. January 2021 at 08:11

    Scott on NJ deaths

    Yes, NJ still leads the league in deaths per million with Covid
    But CDC says it is .20% that have died with Covid, not .25%. 55% of these deaths happened in a 6 week period in the spring. Excess deaths during that period were off the charts—-there was one 4 week average of 3x versus expected.

    Seems impossible——or policies which explicitly caused it. New York City also was similar but even worse. Has same population as NJ. And .25% died with Covid. But NYC was even more bunched than NJ. About 75% of Deaths with Covid happened in that same 6 week period——with multiples as high as 6x versus expected deaths.

    Again, since I don’t believe we make up numbers regarding number of deaths, this appears like it was caused in some way. I said “appears”—- different than saying it was. But it has not been explained well.

  34. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    21. January 2021 at 09:55


    those are impressive numbers. All the more so when one considers that the willingness to be tested is probably lower among Republicans than among Democrats.

  35. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    21. January 2021 at 11:08


    If I understand correctly, some of the reasons for the high IFR in early days may have been that (1) the early infections were disproportionately skewed to nursing homes (i.e., some of the most vulnerable population) and (2) we didn’t know as much about treating Covid.

    There’s a third possibility, which is that the relative unavailability of testing undercounted the asymptomatic and low-symptom infected relative to more recent data, but I would hope the CDC has done a reasonable job trying to correct for that.

    (2) definitely supports Scott’s point – much better to have infections now that we have more data on treatment then back when we were flying relatively blind.

  36. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    21. January 2021 at 12:20

    @Student – re the chimeric C-19 virus: there’s too many coincidences for this to be natural. See WSJ – Jan. 16-17, 2021 “The World Needs a Real Investigation Into the Origins of Covid-19” BY ALINA CHAN ANDMATT RIDLEY. You can email me at raylopez88 at gmail . com and I can add you to a running email on this hypothesis too. Note I say hypothesis not theory. But the alternative, that C-19 virus is natural, is also a hypothesis not a theory backed by solid evidence.

    PS–some reputable scientists think the 1977 H1N1 virus that leaked from China and spread into Russia, and killed a few dozen people, was also an accidental lab release. Yes, the dates are correct.

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. January 2021 at 12:27

    Ray, You said:

    “PS–Sumner is humorous. Think of him as a very knowledgeable English professor who knows a lot about humanities but little or nothing about science, but tries and act scientific. Physics envy.”

    Ray—think of him as a troll who wishes he had the ability to write a blog that people were interested in reading. Blog envy.

  38. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    21. January 2021 at 13:53

    Ray Lopez
    The chimeric virus theory that you propose has a challenge explaining why the conclusions reached by the virologists who wrote this in March of last year for Nature ( were wrong:

    It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used19. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone

  39. Gravatar of Student Student
    22. January 2021 at 07:26

    Even if that’s all true… so what? What difference does it make other than we now have a new source of novel pathogens.

  40. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. January 2021 at 09:55

    Everyone, How could a SARS-type virus mutate on its own into a much more contagious version of the virus? It had to be done in a lab. Surely British scientists produced the new and more virulent version of Covid-19; it could not have happened naturally. It was probably Boris Johnson’s idea.

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