Updated: Jul 5, 2020


By: Shira Notes

I worked in the Laboratory Research Sciences for over 6 years so I know that if you want REAL evidence, you have to look at the research. Let's do that now and see if surgical masks and fancy fabric masks with flower patterns on them are really doing anything for our health, and furthermore, if this whole quarantine situation was actually warranted. (Note: I have bolded extra-important facts)

Part 1: Viruses, Flu's COVID's, what is the difference?

Let's take a look at some basic definitions of the "Flu":

Definition of influenza(Merriam Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/influenza)

1a : an acute, highly contagious, respiratory disease caused by any of three orthomyxoviruses. (AKA Influenza A, B, C).

2: any of various virus diseases of domestic animals marked especially by fever, respiratory symptoms, and inflammation of mucous membranes

Note: All types of influenza are commonly called "the flu."

So what about COVID-19, is it a FLU? What is the difference?

"Both seasonal flu viruses (which include influenza A and influenza B viruses) and COVID-19 are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness."

[Rettner, Rachael. (2020, May 14.) How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/new-coronavirus-compare-with-flu.html]


Honestly I cannot find any definite difference between an influenza virus and the COVID-19 virus on the web. Most websites list their similarities which include symptomology, transmission and treatment.

For example, after looking at the scientific research and doing your homework, the differences listed in this article are FALSE.

"Similarities: COVID-19 and the Flu


· Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.

· A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences).

· Both can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear.

"Differences: COVID-19 and the Flu


While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.

[Maragakis, Lisa M.D., M.P.H. Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu. Hopkins Medicine.

Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu]

Oh, Airborne, gee what does that mean again? Why are people who do not understand basic science writing articles about science? She basically wrote twice in the similarities list above that COVID-19 and Influenza are both airborne viruses.

" An airborne disorder is any disease that is caused by a microorganism that is transmitted through the air. There are many airborne diseases that are of clinical importance and include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These organisms may be spread through sneezing, coughing spraying of liquids, the spread of dust or any activity that results in the generation of aerosolized particles. It is important to be aware that airborne diseases, in general, do not include disorders caused by air pollution such as poisons, smog, and dust.[1][2]"

"Airborne Organisms

In almost all cases, airborne pathogens cause an inflammatory reaction of the upper airways affecting the nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. The involvement of these structures may result in nasal or sinus congestion, and sore throat. Any coughing or sneezing activity may then generate aerosolized particles. Some of the common infections that can spread via airborne transmission include the following:

· Anthrax (inhalation)

· Chickenpox

· Influenza

· Measles

· Smallpox

· Cryptococcosis

· Tuberculosis"

[Ather, Binish; Edemekong Peter F. (2020, May 23). Airborne Precautions. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531468/]


SO, it seems the MEDIA is trying to convince us that COVID-19 is much more deadly. But is that the truth? My Answer, no. But you can decide for yourself at the end of this blog.

Part 2: What do we know about how viruses do their dirty work?

Because we have worked so much with flu viruses we must study those in order to understand how to appropriately respond to the "threat" of COVID-19.

Let's take a look at some facts from this awesome article from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security.


a. "In fact, amazingly little is known about influenza transmission."

b. "As many as 50% of infections with normal seasonal flu may be asymptomatic, which may in part be due to pre-existing partial immunity [1]. Asymptomatic patients shed virus and can transmit the disease, but not at the same rate as symptomatic individuals…The implication of this is that public health disease containment measures and infection control measures, alone, may slow but cannot stop a flu epidemic."

c. The degree of viral shedding in flu is directly proportional to the severity of symptoms and height of fever [1]. Therefore, virus is shed to a greater degree by symptomatic individuals as compared with those who are asymptomatic.

d. Influenza can be transmitted by large droplets, which generally travel 3 to 6 feet, and by small droplet nuclei and aerosols, which can remain suspended in the air for prolonged periods and travel significant distances [1]. Studies have suggested that small particles appear to be more infectious. Both the degree of infectivity and the severity of illness are directly related to particle size… In conclusion, the evidence supports the notion that large droplet spread is the principal mode of transmission, but small particle spread of flu may occur as well. Therefore, measures that reduce only large droplet transmission can be expected to slow but not stop the spread of the disease.

e. " Surgical masks reduce the dispersal of large respiratory droplets when worn by infected patients; however, there have been no studies of the use of masks for preventing transmission of flu. Surgical masks were clearly associated with protecting healthcare workers from SARS [10]. N95 masks and powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) provided additional protection [11]. Current CDC guidelines for influenza infection control call for the use of droplet precautions, which include the use of surgical masks [12]. This is reasonable in the context of a disease with a low case fatality rate, widespread partial immunity, and widespread community transmission such as is the case in a normal flu season. In the setting of a highly lethal novel virus, however, such as might be the case in an H5N1 pandemic, airborne precautions that include the use of N95 masks or PAPRs would clearly be advisable, at least until the virus becomes ubiquitous. This is consistent with the current CDC guidelines for avian influenza [13]."

Note: He says N95 masks or PAPR's, not surgical masks. So, what is with all of these new trendy face masks? Are we kidding?

f. " Quarantine is commonly meant to convey the large-scale sequestering of persons with the purpose of trying to stop the spread of a contagious disease. It is different from isolation, in which symptomatic persons with a contagious disease are isolated individually so they do not infect others. There are no studies of quarantine in the setting of influenza. Experience with the SARS epidemic suggests that large scale quarantine of a population or geographic location is logistically very difficult [15]. Further, mathematical models of quarantine for flu show that there must be a nearly perfect degree of limitation of travel to be effective [16]."

[Toner, Eric M.D. (2005). Do Public Health and Infection Control Measures Work to Prevent the Spread of Flu? Clinicians' Biosecurity News. Retrieved from https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/cbn/2005/cbnreport_103105.html]

e. "Current CDC guidelines for influenza infection control call for the use of droplet precautions, which include the use of surgical masks [12]."

I don't know about you but I need some further explanation on the effectiveness of the mass use of surgical masks which are required now in many states including here in California. Let's take a look at reference [12].

Part 3: What is with this new fashion trend of medical masks?

Interim Guidance for the Use of Masks to Control Seasonal Influenza Transmission, Guidelines and Recommendations.

This site reviews prior CDC guidelines regarding viral transmission in an epidemic, and also refers to the last bad outbreak of H1N1 in 2009. Remember, based on my research, Influenza viruses and COVID viruses are transmitted via the same routes.

a. " The following recommendations focus on the appropriate use of masks as part of a group of influenza control strategies in healthcare settings. Masks are not usually recommended in non-healthcare settings; however, this guidance provides other strategies for limiting the spread of influenza viruses in the community.

b. "Adults can shed influenza virus 1 day before symptoms appear and up to approximately 5 to 7 days after onset of illness; thus, the selective use of masks (e.g., in proximity to a known symptomatic person) may not effectively limit transmission in the community. Young children, immunocompromised persons of any age, and critically ill patients with influenza can shed influenza viruses in the respiratory tract for prolonged periods. Moreover, because no single intervention can provide complete protection against influenza virus transmission, emphasis should be placed on multiple strategies including pharmaceutical (e.g., vaccines and antiviral medications) and non-pharmaceutical interventions. The latter group include: 1) community measures (e.g., social distancing and school closures); 2) environmental measures (e.g., routine surface cleaning); and 3) personal protective measures such as encouraging symptomatic persons to:

cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,

use tissues to contain respiratory secretions and, after use, to dispose of them in the nearest waste receptacle, and

perform hand hygiene (e.g., handwashing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, and alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials."

OK, so here at least we see that Social Distancing is recommended, although as we already read, 6ft is not enough to prevent viral transmission of small droplet nuclei and aerosols.

Here are the hypocrisies I see with this rule:

1. Just passing by someone in the grocery store is less than the 6ft distance we are required to wait in the line outside the store.

2. Uber, Lyft, Cabs, Busses, Trains, people are going to be right next to each other, not 6ft apart, these are still operating for obvious reasons.

And the best part for my argument against healthy people and/or invisible virus carriers being forced to wear masks in public:

c. " No recommendation can be made at this time for mask use in the community by asymptomatic persons, including those at high risk for complications, to prevent exposure to influenza viruses. If unvaccinated high-risk persons decide to wear masks during periods of increased respiratory illness activity in the community, it is likely they will need to wear them any time they are in a public place and when they are around other household members."

Right, so if you WANT to wear a mask, all the power to you.

And finally a recent paper on the usefulness of everyone wearing medical masks!!!

"Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that caused coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the use of face masks has become ubiquitous in China and other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan. Some provinces and municipalities in China have enforced compulsory face mask policies in public areas; however, China's national guideline has adopted a risk-based approach in offering recommendations for using face masks among health-care workers and the general public. We compared face mask use recommendations by different health authorities (panel ). Despite the consistency in the recommendation that symptomatic individuals and those in health-care settings should use face masks, discrepancies were observed in the general public and community settings.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 For example, the US Surgeon General advised against buying masks for use by healthy people. One important reason to discourage widespread use of face masks is to preserve limited supplies for professional use in health-care settings. Universal face mask use in the community has also been discouraged with the argument that face masks provide no effective protection against coronavirus infection."

[Feng, S., Shen, C., Xia, N., Song, W., Fan, M., & Cowling, B. J. (2020). Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. Respiratory medicine, 8(5), 434–436. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30134-X]

Let's examine this further: Here are the current guidelines for flu (viral) prevention from the Centers for Disease Control:

Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings

Guidelines and Recommendations

The following guidance is current for the 2019-2020 influenza season. Please see Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices – United States, 2019-20 for the latest information regarding recommended influenza vaccines. Please see Antiviral Drugs: Information for Health Care Professionals for the current summary of recommendations for clinical practice regarding the use of influenza antiviral medications.

This guidance supersedes previous CDC guidance for both seasonal influenza and the Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings, which was written to apply uniquely to the special circumstances of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic as they existed in October 2009. As stated in that document, CDC planned to update the guidance as new information became available. In particular, one major change from the spring and fall of 2009 is the widespread availability of a safe and effective vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. Components of this vaccine have been included in the 2010-2011 trivalent seasonal vaccine. Second, the overall risk of hospitalization and death among people infected with this strain was uncertain in spring and fall of 2009, but is now known to be substantially lower than pre-pandemic assumptions. In addition, more information has been recently published or presented indicating that face mask use and hand hygiene reduce the risk of influenza infection in health care and household settings. The current circumstances and new information justify an update of the recommendations.

This updated guidance continues to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive influenza prevention strategy that can be applied across the entire spectrum of healthcare settings. CDC will continue to evaluate new information as it becomes available and will update or expand this guidance as needed. Additional information on influenza prevention, treatment, and control can be found on Seasonal Influenza (Flu) web site.

Definition of Healthcare Settings

For the purposes of this guidance, healthcare settings include, but are not limited to, acute-care hospitals; long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities; physicians’ offices; urgent-care centers, outpatient clinics; and home healthcare. This guidance is not intended to apply to other settings whose primary purpose is not healthcare, such as schools or worksites, because many of the aspects of the populations and feasible countermeasures will differ substantially across settings. However, elements of this guidance may be applicable to specific sites within non-healthcare settings where care is routinely delivered (e.g. a medical clinic embedded within a workplace or school)."

[Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings

Guidelines and Recommendations. CDC. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/healthcaresettings.htm]

[Interim Guidance for the Use of Masks to Control Seasonal Influenza Virus Transmission

Guidelines and Recommendations. CDC. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/maskguidance.htm]

The feeling I'm getting is that the wearing of masks should have only been enforced in our healthcare settings, because that is where the most acutely sick people gather, which is why most of these guidelines were written to protect our healthcare workers in the first place!!!!

It makes me so sad, and really emotionally disturbed to be seeing people wearing mask coverings everywhere I go. It is truly traumatizing to an already media-traumatized society.

Again, is COVID-19 viral shedding the same as Influenza viral shedding? Yes, of course. It's a virus.

" For example, a recently published study of 94 patients with COVID-19 suggests that those infected with the new strain of coronavirus have the highest levels of viral shedding right before showing symptoms. Other studies have shown that some individuals may continue shedding the virus even after their symptoms resolve, or subside; one study found that individuals with mild cases of the virus may continue viral shedding up to eight days after symptom resolution."

[(2020, April 21). Defining COVID-19 Terms: Viral Shedding. ACHI. Retrieved from https://achi.net/newsroom/defining-covid-19-terms-viral-shedding/]

Exhausted yet from all of this virus talk? Me too. But surprisingly mainstream media is not! Deep Breath.