By Dr. Jim Ferguson

The sign of our times is the “Mask.” I was always curious seeing Asian cultures such as the Chinese and Japanese wearing masks in public. Understandably, the polluted air of Beijing and industrial areas of China might require a filter – or an oxygen mask. Masks other than the specially fitted and uncomfortable N95 offer the wearer little protection from viruses and bacteria. You realize that surgeons wear masks not to protect themselves, but their patients.

Perhaps masks in Tokyo have some cultural statement that I don’t understand. Maybe living in crowded cities plays a role. Of course, I can imagine extenuating circumstances. If a family member is undergoing chemotherapy, your mask may protect him/her, just as a surgeon protects his patient. However, in the coronavirus era, if you are sick or coughing, sneezing or running a fever, you should be at home rather than wearing a mask anywhere in public.

Recently, several preliminary reports have challenged Dr. Anthony Fauci’s opinion that masks are “largely security theatre.” But then the estimable Fauci has precluded shaking hands, while maintaining a person can hook up on Tinder if he/she accepts the risk. Another stigma of masks might be fear. Some have even described masks as “virtue signaling” or “moral narcissism.”

A study from Hong Kong recently reported that covering hamster cages with a mask barrier reduced the spread of coronavirus. Another report suggested that wearing a mask is superior to the strict lockdown of America. Obviously, we are not hamsters living in cages, so extrapolation of these results to humans is problematic. I don’t believe a mask can prevent coronavirus from being coughed into your eyes.

We should be skeptical of all reports we read and hear these days. Science demands corroboration of any study, and a good measure of common sense. I remember an episode from the sitcom The Office where Michael and Dwight slavishly drove their car into the lake following errant GPS directions.

I learned a new term the other day. According to Mr. Webster, scientism is an “exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation…” The translation is that science and scientists are not infallible. So, the next time you hear someone saying we must “trust the science,” recognize the statement is more political than science.

It wasn’t long ago that people in masks were deemed a threat. Terrorists, Antifa thugs and bank robbers wear masks to hide their identity. Anthropological data suggests that the ability to see someone’s face aids in assessing a threat. There are forty-two muscles in the face. A third are used to smile, whereas several times that number to frown.

Body language is important. And since ninety percent of humans are right-handed, we traditionally greet with our right hand. Historically, an empty hand is deemed weaponless and considered non-threatening. What say you, Dr. Fauci?

Like most Americans we listened to the president and the experts and sheltered in place. We were told that mitigation would “flatten the curve” and prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. Americans were successful and Governor Cuomo never used the urgently constructed hospital in Central Park or the hospital ship USNS Comfort. Instead, he sent COVID-19 patients to nursing homes where 5000 died.

However, our efforts and sacrifice will never be enough for those who choose to politicize the pandemic. We are told we must follow the dictates of tyrannical functionaries like NY Mayor de Blasio and Governors Cuomo of NY, Phil Murphy of NJ, who prohibited AA meetings, yet left liquor stores open, and Whitmer of Michigan, who deemed Planned Parenthood an essential service, but prohibited the purchase of paint and carpeting.

Americans have become skeptical of flawed data (models) and experts like the CDC and Fauci. Incidentally, the CDC now says you don’t need to spray your purchases with alcohol. Perhaps teenage “climate expert” Greta Thunberg will clarify these issues now that CNN has added her to their “coronavirus panel.”

We are told America cannot fully open until we have drug treatments for COVID-19 and a preventive vaccine. I hope you realize that Tamiflu is only marginally effective for influenza and the vaccine is only 60% effective in preventing or lessening the severity of influenza illness. This season forty-five million Americans will get the flu and nearly fifty thousand will die from it.

To date COVID-19 has infected approximately 1.6 million Americans and perhaps 94,000 have died from the disease. Unfortunately, the data has become suspect due to inflated numbers forcing notable corrections. As more and more people are tested the denominator grows every larger and the mortality rate for COVID-19 continues to drop. Perhaps 50% of those infected have no symptoms. Another 30% have mild to moderate illness, but 20% have serious problems, most frequently seen in the elderly or in people with other medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, lung, renal or heart disease. There are marginally effective drugs for COVID-19, but no vaccine. In fact, Dr. Fauci says there may never be a vaccine. Efforts to make a vaccine for SARS and MERS (corona viruses) were never successful. And Dave Portnoy observed, “We’ve gone from flattening the curve to finding a cure.”

Un-masking has become another issue. Apparently, the Obama administration unlawfully arranged for the identification of (unmasking) and then spying on General Michael Flynn and other Americans in what is increasingly being called Obama-gate. I’m no legal beagle, but every day new revelations appear about Federal agencies used to surveil the Trump election campaign, his transition team and his presidency, as the coup d’état continues. Now the Democrat entire election campaign is to keep the economy on life-support to damage Trump and get ole Joe elected.

Masks and social distancing are damaging the framework of our culture. Social media and Zoom sessions are poor substitutes for church, school and actual social interaction. Our grandkids are starved for contact with other children. Our freedoms are slowly being eroded under the ruse of safety. Normal is not sheltering in place and wearing a mask. Ted Nugent poignantly asked, “Why do I have to stay home because you are afraid?”

In their zeal to destroy Trump the left has accepted collateral damage to America. A friend recently decried the polarization in our country. Tragically, this is what happens in war, where a side must be chosen.