Dear People Buying Masks,

Two weeks ago I tweeted,

"Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching , but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!"

Now if any of you general publics were actually able to read my tweet and then pondered it for a very long time, I'm told some of you might have begun to wonder why healthcare providers need all of those ineffective masks.

The truth is that I haven't been completely honest with you. There are some people out there, a chosen few, for whom masks are effective. Take myself, for example. I am a medical doctor. I have been properly trained in the donning and dedonning of masks. Properly fitting a mask is a very intricate and complicated business; a highly sophisticated science. I was in medical school for eight years. Six of those were devoted to mastering the minutiae of the mask. You've got angles and tensile strengths; shear tensions and valve velocities. The whole thing's so complicated that I couldn't even begin to give you a proper appreciation of its irreducible complexity. Just take my word for it- studies have definitively proven that people are too dumb to wear a mask. They're too dumb to wash their hands properly too. They wash for five seconds, don't dry completely, which turns their wet hands into germ magnets, and then they touch every knob, switch, and lever on the way out. Or they use one of those damn air dryers that splatter germs all over the bathroom like Jackson Pollock painting with a jet engine.

This is what most of you would look like under a black light after "washing" and "drying" your hands.

Ever see a surgeon scrub in? It's so thorough you need fifteen minutes and a fucking assistant to do it right. That's what actual, effective hand washing looks like. I have zero confidence that any of you idiots will ever get this right for as long as you live but the last thing we need is masks giving John Q. Dumbass another source of false confidence while he rubs his eyes, picks at his ears, and uses his respirator as a platform to catch his drool, smear his boogers, and stick his chewing gum. As my father used to say, if you ask a hamster to solve a Rubik's cube, all you're going to get is a sick hamster and colorful turds.

So trained professionals like myself do need masks.

Who else could benefit from wearing a mask? Sick people. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay home in isolation, but if you are merely coughing and sneezing then put on a mask before going out. Masks can help keep you from infecting others. It is true that many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and it is also true that some people may become contagious before they become symptomatic. Wouldn't it therefore be wise if everyone wore a mask, since most of us won't know we have COVID-19 until after we've risked spreading it to others? No, it is still not a good idea to wear a mask generally. I'm still thinking about my rationale for that recommendation, but get back to me later on that.

So who else deserves a mask? Those caring for or in close contact with someone who they suspect could have COVID-19. Again, this may be tricky since the contagious are not always symptomatic. Also, it's not really possible for you to know whether that homeless man wheezing on the subway platform next to you has COVID-19 or just regular old emphysema from huffing too much jenkem. Here's a clever little trick I like to use - profiling. Note the age, gender, dress, appearance, and overall demeanor of the suspected COVID-19 infectee and/or jenkem huffer. Don't forget the subtle details. Any little bit of information can help you complete your profile and provide insight into the mind of the person in question. Is there dirt under the subject's fingernails? Are they wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt? Do they smell faintly of fermented sewage? If you've answered "yes" to any of those questions then it's probably just another filthy jenkem addict and you have no reason for concern, or a mask.

You've probably seen severely immune compromised individuals, such as those preparing for a bone marrow transplant, wearing masks when outside of their hospital room. This may have given you the false impression that masks can help protect you from other people's germs. Incorrect. Immunocompromised individuals wear masks as a symbol of solidarity and because they think it looks cool. It's a cultural thing that traces its origins back to a Chicago-area hospital in the early 80s. Don't be one of those imperialist, healthy-immune-system-privileged assholes that appropriates other people's cultures.

I occasionally overhear you plebs using your dumb voices to wonder aloud why police officers and the national guard get to wear masks. After all, police officers holding down a check point or soldiers patrolling a road block seem to effectively be doing the same thing you do all day- just hanging out around people who may or may not have COVID-19.

One of these four people has no reason to be wearing a mask and should be ashamed of himself for panicking.

Well, just because they look like you and hang out in a crowd like you doesn't mean that they're just like you. Soldiers and police are selected for and trained to obey orders and respect authority. If I ever run out of these sweet, sweet masks I can just walk up to the armed guard in my building and ask him for the extra individually cellophane wrapped mask in his pocket and you know what he'll say? "Yes sir." Will one of you greedy little proles hand over your extra masks if I demand them from you? I didn't think so.

Should anyone else be wearing a mask? Maybe if you live in Asia and need to adhere to local laws or customs, although it is a shame that all those people are wasting perfectly good masks. Is it a coincidence that the two countries in the world that have managed to actually curtail the spread of COVID-19 are China and South Korea, where the general wearing of masks is either encouraged or required by law? Yes, I choose to believe that it is.

At any rate, even if the general wearing of masks were effective at limiting the spread of germs, WHICH IT IS NOT, we wouldn't have enough to give out to you little fucktards anyway, so suck it up...

just not air through a mask, because that would be ineffective.


Jerome Adams,

Surgeon General of the United States


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