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My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.

We have all encountered people in grocery stores not wearing masks. Including the employees. Jane makes a valiant attempt to get through to those folks. And to the store managers.

We have all encountered people in grocery stores not wearing masks. Including the employees. Jane makes a valiant attempt to get through to those folks. And to the store managers.

• Topics: Bellingham, Health & Home,

“We’re all in this together,” means what exactly? The new PSA should be: “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.”

PSA announcements keep repeating the mantra, “We’re all in this together.” But what does it mean, beyond that any of us could die or go bankrupt and if you’re not stressed you aren’t paying attention?

Let me translate in practical terms: What I exhale, you inhale. The question is just how far what I exhale travels when I speak, laugh or sing and whether I’m indoors or out. Sneezing, however, has been studied extensively.

According to the American Lung Association: “A cough can travel as fast as 50 mph and expel almost 3,000 droplets in just one go. Sneezes win though—they can travel up to 100 mph and create upwards of 100,000 droplets.”

An MIT study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine states: “The largest droplets rapidly settle within 1 to 2 m (3 ½’ to 7’) away from the person. The smaller and evaporating droplets are trapped in the turbulent puff cloud, remain suspended, and, over the course of seconds to a few minutes, can travel the dimensions of a room and land up to 6 to 8 m away (19’ to 26+’).”

So, here’s what “We’re all in this together” really means: “I’m a danger to you and you’re a danger to me,” especially since some of us are asymptomatic and have no idea when we’re spreading the disease. None of us want to have to go through another round of social isolation and job losses like this. We all want to see the economy recover ASAP, no matter our political leanings, and none of us want to end up in the ICU…or dead.

Turns out that we are all in this together and how we get out of this without causing another spike of Covid-19 cases will require continued social distancing. Until we have a vaccine and treatment, it is the only answer. Where physical distancing is not possible, we need a couple of new PSAs.

“My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.” According to a study out of the University Medical Center in Hamburg, “Masks, especially when we’re talking about home-made ones, are not going to be perfect at preventing infection, but they can help reduce transmission. ‘Face masks are the only option in situations where social distancing cannot be practiced.’” And this, from The Atlantic, “Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or…to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult… But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others,… If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths… blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth mask.

My PSA for businesses is also simple: “It’s bad for business to sicken or kill employees and customers.” At least 40 U.S. grocery store employees have died, as of this writing, and there is no way of knowing how many of us got sick from exposure while shopping. Some stores are just impossible to do physical social distancing in, were never designed for it, and can’t be reconfigured to create more space. Period. Think about grocery shopping and trying to get items off shelves while someone is restocking that shelf. I have tried and failed to accomplish this maneuver at Fred Meyer, twice, both times having to get close to the barefaced employees, or not get the items.

Fred Meyer sent out an email saying they are “encouraging our associates to wear personal protective equipment like masks.” Many employees were not wearing masks, nor were many of the outside vendors. In contrast, Costco, Walmart and the Co-op are requiring employees to wear facemasks, as are other stores in town.

And yes, I inquired through the Governor’s Office about masks being required in retail businesses where social distancing was not possible. I was told by a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Enforcement & Education Division Officer that the State can’t require masks, but the city can. It struck me as an odd division of authority, but then we are all making this up as we go along.

So, I am making a plea to all of us, and especially to businesses. Everyone who has contact with the public, or works in spaces where the public goes, should wear a mask provided by their employer. It’s a nuisance and a pain and masks are hard to find and the elastics hurt my ears, but avoiding a second round of this pain is worth this minimal effort compared to prolonging the pandemic.

As to all you shoppers, strollers, joggers on busy trails, and everyone else, I’ll wear my mask to protect you. Will you please, please wear yours for me?

Thank you.

Comments by Readers

Michael Riordan

Apr 25, 2020

Grocery-store clerks are essential workers, almost as important as doctors, nurses and EMTs. To help protect them from our exhalations, we should all be wearing masks when we enter the stores. And for their own good, their managers should REQUIRE them to wear masks, period.


Jane Bright

Apr 25, 2020

Well said! Thank you.


Jane Bright

Apr 25, 2020

Just got an email from Fred Myer:

 “We’ve provided masks for all of our store associates to wear, and starting this Sunday, we’ll be requiring our associates to wear them, in locations where they’re not already mandated. Our associates are also welcome to bring their own suitable masks or facial coverings to work, if they prefer.”

Thank you! Now it’s up to the public to do their part. Please wear a mask when in public. For now, it’s not just the best medicine, it’s the only medicine.


Michael Riordan

Apr 26, 2020

Looks like we may have had an impact, Jane!


Dick Conoboy

Apr 26, 2020

I sent a message to Haggens Sehome a week ago.  I got back a canned msg thanking me for the comment.  Nothing else.


Larry Horowitz

Apr 28, 2020

While I agree with the suggestion regarding masks, I believe Karen Selick’s article about Germ Theory vs. Terrain Theory deserves consideration.  Selick is a former attorney who studied Holistic Nutrition at the Edison Institute of Nutrition.  Here are a few excerpts from her article Coronavirus Crisis Reopens 150-Year-Old Controversy.

“French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is widely celebrated as “the father of germ theory”— the idea that we become sick when our bodies are invaded by foreign organisms such as bacteria, molds, fungi, and of course viruses… What’s not widely known is that other French scientists working in the same field in that era held somewhat different beliefs, known as the “terrain theory”. They believed that the most important factor that determines whether or not a person becomes ill is not the presence of a germ, but rather the preparedness of the body’s internal environment (the “soil” or terrain) to repel or destroy the germ.”

“... what lives on after [Pasteur] is the mindset, clearly visible amongst most of today’s medical professionals and health care bureaucrats, that it is the germ (formally designated SARS-CoV-2) that has to be tracked down, isolated, avoided, and eradicated—and that’s all that matters. The “terrain”, to conventional modern thinkers, is nothing.”

“But while Pasteur’s germ-theory mindset reigns in officialdom, savvy consumers seem to be following Béchamp and Bernard, without ever having heard of them. Vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and more exotic supplements such as monolaurin (a derivative of coconut oil which in laboratory tests destroys the viral envelope in a manner similar to soap) have been flying off store shelves.”

“Epidemiologists busily debate the pros and cons of lockdowns and masks in controlling the spread of the virus, but I have yet to see a single report of anyone who has thought to compare the serum vitamin D levels of those who succumbed, versus those who recovered, versus those who have never become infected. This is the sort of data they should be looking at, but imbued with the germ-theory mindset, they are allowing this valuable information to slip away.”


Larry Horowitz

May 02, 2020

Ok, it appears my last comment on the “terrain theory” about the immune system was not a big hit.  Probably too dry for NWC readers.

Let’s try this:  Bill Maher’s May 1st video New Rule: Immunity Booster may be right up your alley.


Dianne Foster

May 03, 2020


It’s not either/or.    The factors are:   host susceptibility (immune system strength),  and parasite virulence.   As hosts develop better immunity,  so also germs adapt;   the Darwinian battle goes on.   In my case, since I’m immunosuppressed to keep down my GVHD (graft vs host) disease,  a complication of stem cell transplant,  I’m more susceptible to the COVID virus and all other microorganisms than the average person.   I’m staying home,  wearing a mask only if I have to go out,  and my spouse is doing all the shopping.  All the vitamin C,  zinc,  and various other Chinese herbs I take won’t keep me from getting sick,  so isolation is the first line of defense.  Immunosuppressed people are also more likely to be vectors,  so my sheltering in place protects others as well.


Larry Horowitz

May 03, 2020

Hi Dianne, thanks for your reply.  What does it take to get a conversation going around here?

I absolutely agree that it’s not either/or.  But your concerns would be similar (if not the same) for an especially virulent strain of influenza.  Those who have risk factors must protect themselves - and must be protected.  Absolutely.  But locking down the vast majority who don’t possess those risk factors is counterproductive, essentially preventing the mass immunity that would ultimately help protect those most at risk.

If you haven’t already read Selick’s article, I hope you will.  She suggests that knowing whether patients who succumbed to COVID-19 have deficiencies in vitamin D levels (or zinc, or vitamin C, etc.) would be valuable information.  I’ve also read that those who received the influenza vaccination were more susceptible to requiring hospitalization from COVID-19.  Confirming that might be useful.

Many NWC readers have made a similar argument against “one size fits all” doctrines in other circumstances.  Our response to COVID-19 need not lock down everyone.  Those who have risk factors are wise to use precautions.  But those who don’t should be allowed to resume as much of their normal lives as possible, including going back to work.

And everyone should be informed that strengthening their “terrain” - their immune systems - is a proven response to dealing with ubiquitous germs.  What else would have enabled mankind to persist as a species before the rise of the medical industrial complex and the development of vaccines?

But most of all, Dianne, thanks for being here to have this dialogue!  It’s always a pleasure to share a conversation with you.

Best, Larry


Larry Horowitz

May 03, 2020

This is certainly beyond the scope of Jane’s ‘mask’ article, but relates to my last comment about various lockdowns.

Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law / Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242


Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.


Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.


Ryan M. Ferris

May 03, 2020

Masks for the general public possess a real danger to spread infection which is why so many smart minds and researchers are against them. In clinical/hospital uses they are indispensable but only if they are the correct equipment that is used and disposed of properly which is generally after one potentially infectious use! Otherwise it is absolutely dangerous and potentially an infection spreading practice to use a mask in the general public. Here are are some authoritative voices on the dangers of masks for general public use:

 Here is the recent peer reviewed Rapid Expert Consultation from the National Academy of Sciences on cloth mask use:

This last article is important because this group from the National Academy of Sciences has been designed to inform government policy during the CoronaVirus crisis. Their “Rapid Expert Consultations” are peer reviewed:  

Here is a summary of some recent pre-prints on mask use:

There are certainly *RXIV pre-prints that attempt to justify the use face masks in the general public. I find many of them lacking from a test engineering perspective. You can see some of these pre-prints here:

I don’t know how the use of masks by the general public became viable or a useful piece of advice. Perhaps another statistical misuse of p values by well meaning scientists? Or perhaps the general public believes their “common sense” ideas somehow overcome the obvious limitations of their understanding of science?


Jane Bright

May 03, 2020

This conversation is a perfect illustration of how rapidly advice and knowledge change. “Novel” is the operative word for Covid-19. Several of the studies Ryan includes were done in early April. More recently, the CDC is recommending cloth mask by the general public: 

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” The CDC includes a whole section on face mask management for properly removing and washing the masks and they are very clear such masks are not appropriate for healthcare workers. 

Will new research change that? We’ll see. As to the need for more data on how this virus works and who is truly at risk, yes, yes, yes, and the scientific community has stepped up.

Ironically, while many are looking to strengthen their immune system, it is the over reaction of the immune system that is killing people when Covid-19 triggers one’s immune system to attack the body as well as the virus.  This is also how the Spanish Flu worked in 1918, only then, it was younger people in their prime at greatest  risk. For those of us who have or had an autoimmune disease trigger by an infection, this is particularly scary. Ever been too weak to pick up a coffe pot and not be able to feel your hands and feet and wonder if your whole body was going to be paralyzed? I have and don’t recommend it.

We have so much to learn, why some 90 year olds survive and 20 year olds die, why so many people are asymptamatic, and thereby a threat to others and why there is so much variation in the mental health reactions people are having while they cope with unprecedented threats, both to their physical and economic health.

As to protecting oneself, given how contagious this is, protecting you means I need to know when I’m contagious and stay home. We don’t know that yet and still lack the testing to identify carriers easily, so we all need each other’s cooperation for now. Americans admire individualism and self reliance and are focused on treatment, not prevention, so it’s not surprising that staying home “for the greater good” is difficult.

Let’s just try to stick it out a bit longer. I certainly don’t want to go through this again. How about you? 



Ryan M. Ferris

May 03, 2020

As of tonight, we now have to deal with the fact that the “conspiracy” theorists were probably correct all along:

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says ‘enormous evidence’ coronavirus came from Chinese lab”

“Coronavirus NSW: Dossier lays out case against China bat virus program”:

It was at least a four nation program (China,France,Australia,US) under WHO guidance with NGOs that had state government financing that helped create, finance and build the Wuhan Institute of Virology Corona Virus P4 lab. SARS-CoV-2 was (at least) let loose from a lab! They are saying it was a ‘leak’. But many others I read are documenting the clear “Gain of Function” enhancements this virus has been enabled with. “Gain of Function” is supposed to be part of the research that keeps us safe: By enhancing dangerous viruses with human transmissability we supposedly prepare ourselves for future pandemics.  The conclusion of many of us is much more simple and brutal:  This is a bioweapon designed to kill some part of humanity. 

How would you feel if someone you loved died because of a lethal, unstoppable lab enhanced virus financed by a multi-national effort?


Larry Horowitz

May 04, 2020

I hesitate to post this May 4th article by Martin Geddes as it may ruffle many feathers, but I have been following Martin for a few months and have found him to be intelligent, honest, and straightforward.

Coronagate: the scandal to end all scandals

And, if you make it through the article, this companion timeline video is especially interesting…

Bombshell: NIH Knew About Chloroquine



Larry Horowitz

May 05, 2020

Still having trouble determining if this is more funny or startingly sad…

Reuters reported yesterday that:

Tanzania has suspended the head of its national health laboratory in charge of testing for the coronavirus and ordered an investigation, a day after President John Magufuli questioned the tests’ accuracy. Magufuli said on Sunday the imported test kits were faulty as they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw — among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.

Either COVID-19 is ubiquitous or the PCR test amplification process is so intense that the 100 nucleotides being tested for are present - albeit in extremely small amounts - in virtually every living thing.

Bottom line: Don’t kiss your goat today… or eat a pawpaw.



Larry Horowitz

May 06, 2020




Larry Horowitz

May 07, 2020

As suggested in my April 28th comment regarding Karen Selick’s article Coronavirus Crisis Reopens 150-Year Old Controversy and my follow-up comment on May 3rd, vitamin D deficiency may play a role in COVID-19 mortality.

A new study finds that “Vit D may reduce the COVID-19 severity by suppressing cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.”

Thank you Karen Selick for considering this connection.


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