Sigh. Back to masks in Philly

With the city now recommending that even vaccinated people, like me, wear masks indoors and in crowds, I had some questions, which I put to the city Health Department.

Here are my questions and edited versions of the replies from the Health Department’s Matt Rankin.

Philly twist. Let’s mask again, like we did last summer. (Photo: CNN)

Q: I am fully vaccinated. How do masks protect me?

A: Masks protect people from spreading virus to others, but we also know now that masks protect the wearer as well [from breakthrough infection].

Q: What is the likelihood a vaccinated person will get a breakthrough infection?

A: Very low, but still a concern. Out of 754,821 fully vaccinated residents, there have been 741 (1.3%) breakthrough cases since January 2021. There have been 12 deaths (1.4% of all deaths) and 71 hospitalizations (1.5% of all hospitalizations). It is important to note that your chances of becoming infected with COVID are more than 90% lower after being fully vaccinated. And if infected, it is less severe. Vaccines are about mitigating risk, lowering the chances for a bad outcome.

Q: What is the severity of a breakthrough infection in a vaccinated person?

A: Most breakthrough symptoms range from very mild to asymptomatic, and people tend to recover quickly.

Q: Can a vaccinated person still be a carrier and infect others?

A: Vaccinated persons can contract, carry, and can transmit the virus to others. However, their contagion period is much smaller than that of an unvaccinated person — two days versus 7-10 days.

So, that’s that.

I will follow recommendations and go back to the mask indoors. It amounts to punishing those who took precautions — the vaccinated — to protect people too stupid and selfish to protect themselves — the unvaccinated. 

41 thoughts on “Sigh. Back to masks in Philly”

  1. I have never stopped wearing a mask. The persons who refuse to get vacinated are putting all our lives at risk

  2. I do not plan on wearing a mask. We already know from Fauci’s emails they are worthless. Ur I do not object to anybody wearing a mask. Do it. Wear it while you sleep and shower. The beauty of America!

      1. I was going to ask that question Stu but you beat me to it. Whenever someone says that to me I ask that question. To date nobody has answered it with an answer that makes sense.

        1. 1. Surgical masks are primarily to prevent bacterial spread.
          2. Surgery involves ripping human skin open, which is the primary defense against virus and bacteria. And a patient under general anesthesia is wearing their own mask (which is also not cloth)
          A common cold could injure or kill a patient undergoing surgery.
          3. Surgical masks are NOT cloth or simple pleated paper. And they must be changed each time the wearer changes rooms and/or patients.

          None of the above points hold true for Covid masking, so there is no analogy here.

  3. Stu,

    Bravo! You have said what needs to be said; it is long overdue. In fact, the next step should be mandates if one is not vaccinated. For example, if you are not vaccinated, you are not allowed to fly; that’s a start!

  4. I will do whatever the establishment or person whose residence I’m visiting requests. If they request that I wear a mask and I don’t have a mask with me, I won’t go in. Their loss as much as mine. If they don’t request it, I won’t wear one. I’m vaccinated. As the responses above indicate, I’m in little danger either to myself or others.

    One of the motivations for vaccination is so that we can go back to life as usual. Rather than recommending that the vaccinated go back to masking, our resources would be better used getting the unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

    1. Hey Andrew. Your friend Tom here. Here’s my problem: what more can we do get people vaxxed? It’s already free and accessible at your local pharmacy on a walk-in basis. Even free beer hasn’t worked.
      Still, my attitude would likely be yours except for one thing: my sister-in-law and her 20-something kids are anti-vax. Every time I start to shrug and think, well, “those folks” aren’t my problem, I think about her and my niece and nephew. In a perfect “love thy neighbor” world I wouldn’t need this reality check, but maybe it is a useful thought exercise in thinking about measures “to protect people too stupid and selfish to protect themselves.” Those folks are parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters to someone.
      So, I’ll wear my mask. Small as the chance is that I will unwittingly transmit the virus and kill someone, either directly or a few times removed, I will feel better knowing I tried not to.
      And, at the end of the day, masking and encouraging people to get vaccinated are not mutually exclusive.
      However, one silver-lining to wearing a mask is that it throws a monkey-wrench into facial recognition software that government and businesses are now deploying. A tool in the fight to remain anonymous.

      1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
        Go to the PFFCU. Try to make a transaction with your mask on. Let me know how you make out.

  5. We’ve masked up indoors this entire time. My SIL does research in this area and recommended we continue to do so even though we’ve been vaccinated since March. That recommendation was good enough for me and really, masking is no big deal.

    1. It is if you find it difficult to breathe when masked, or when one suffers from a form of claustrophobia brought on by the masking.

      1. Anybody with those conditions should see a doctor or therapist. They have more problems than simply being unable to wear a mask. In any event, I doubt the number of people with these conditions is statistically significant.

    2. My favorite sign posted in the malls: PLEASE STAY SIX FEET APART. I’ve tried, but my arms and legs are too firmly attached.

    Like most of us bloggers, we are in ‘that’ age group that is most susceptible to the virus. Living out here in the sticks, we are mostly safe from the public. When we do go out into the world, Pam puts on a mask. ( she has more medical problems than I )
    Truth be told, and that’s strange ! The feds have been anything but honest about this virus. Why should they be honest ? They certainly have been lacking in that area probably since the beginning of time.
    I have said to everyone, if this virus really is a pandemic, then the entire population should be vaccinated. We all were part of the ’40s & ’50s medical traumas. Every disease that could kill us eventually had a cure. That can’t be the case if people don’t prepare themselves.
    As for masks. I’ll play along. I am a candidate for most issues concerning the organs. Of course I am amused that people really think that our homemade masks do a whole lot of good. True, they slow down the passage of germs, dust, bugs and food. If the masks contribute 2% toward our health, then that’s another 2% in the win column. But that’s only on day one of a clean reusable homemade mask. SHOW OF HANDS ! How many of you disinfect your reusable masks ? Everyday? Every two days? Three Days? None of the above ?
    What it comes down to is this. Do I care enough about the people that I care about to impose a tiny bit of hardship on myself ? If I have to ask that question, then very obviously, you don’t care enough about yourself .
    Stay well. Live long ( and know it ). Annoy people – especially the government !

  7. Don’t know if the health department got the math wrong (like most other things) or something got lost in the translation.
    741 breakthroughs out of 754,821 is less than 0.1 percent, not 1.3%.

    Found your site a few months ago and enjoy the discussions, even though many don’t directly apply to us in NJ.

      1. Stu,
        Topics for New Jersey:
        1) since forever. trash hauling barges from New York dumping off the Jersey coast resulted in
        EVERYTHING washing up on the beaches
        2) Earle Ammo dump. to this day, water logged live ammo washes up on the shoreline. Many pieces of
        artillery have been dug up over the years
        3)Closed beaches due to bio-hazards
        4) the always rising, ever loving BEECH FEES
        plenty more to come !

  8. As always some relevant points on the amoebas of our species who see any virus as something that will fade away and they will never catch or spread it. Your point on those who took the precautions only to be punished by those who deny reality has a direct effect on my upcoming trip across the country. Had everyone obeyed the warnings and fully considered the plight of their fellow citizens then we would be free to remove all masks and finally enjoy a maskless life because we cared for each other. In essence, I must pay a penalty for other’s self-serving attitude in refusing to be vaccinated. So because of a blatant disregard for their fellow humans, I now will vacation under a dome of prevention and precautions that each state I enter has placed on my movement to what should be a healthy society instead has become a nightmare of callous indifference.

  9. I am fully vaccinated and I am NOT wearing a mask to protect stupid,lazy,selfish people.They scream personal choice well my personal choice is not to wear one.I don’t believe they are effective anyway.No one talks about the CO2 retention masking causes in your body that can do harm especially in children.

  10. 330 million people in the USA; 35 million cases of Covid (about 1-in-10 chance of contacting the disease); 625,000 deaths (about 2% of all Covid cases, for the MOST part the elderly and those sick or weakened with other medical problems); Covid deaths as a percentage of the population: less than .2% (that’s two-tenths of one percent). A serious disease? Of course. But serious enough to virtually destroy the economy? Serious enough to print billions of dollars of funny money, totally unsupported by taxes? Not really. The result of those wonder checks Uncle Sugar sent everybody is the wave of inflation that is just beginning to be felt. I stopped wearing a mask more than a year ago, allowing my body’s immune system to do its job. Whenever someone would mention to me that I wasn’t wearing a mask (and it happened less than a half dozen times) I replied “I’m wearing a virtual mask.” Refusing to wear a mask was right for me, not right for those who disagree. Through the VA I got both shots many months ago. If someplace won’t let me in without a mask, I’ll simply go somewhere else.

    1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
      Purposely using the word ASS-U-ME, in your statics, did you allow for the many deaths attributed to the virus, but were in fact, just a money maker for the various hospitals. Yes, the feds subsidized the covid deaths. It only made sense to a for profit hospital to put the cost on the gov.
      BTW. the longest running scam is the funding for heart disease. Almost all people die from heart failure. Who knew ?!? The gov spends the bucks on the heart !

  11. Stu,It is disheartening to know that there are still those who will not get the damn vaccine.
    I can abide, but not accept -stupid( can’t believe it in this case where Billion$ have been spent JUST to inform/persuade/ cajole) but the selfishness is criminal.
    Keep up the great work.

  12. Our elected officials want to blame everybody and their brother for not getting vaxxed and for spreading the virus. For that they blame Republicans, Conservatives and, especially Donald J. Trump (why not!). They have also thrown in foreign types (English, Welsh, French, South Africans and a host of others. What is most interesting is the fact that few if any from Mexico, Central America, Haitians and most West Indians. Note — one island nation absent is Cuba. Wonder why?
    This leads me to my questions that Main Street Media haas declined to ask and/or not pressed for answers:
    1. How many illegals have crossed the border since JANUARY 1. How many countries are represented in those allowed in? How many have been turned back?
    2. How many of those have been tested?
    3. How many of those tested have been found infected? What has happened to those infected?
    4. How many have been quarantined? How long? How are they monitored?
    Feel free to add a few of your own questions.


    1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
      Here’s one that gets very little – if any, ‘air time’.
      Those attempting to cross the border legally, seeking asylum, etc, are subjected to health screening. Obviously, those that are illegal get the full check up. It is not comforting to know that the diseases that we eradicated in the ’40s, ’50s and ”60s are also causing a medical crisis ! Tuberculosis, for one, is now readily available in the southwest. With the Biden administration moving illegals throughout the country, I’m sure that we’ll be getting more medical issues. You do know that we have several hundred ( if not more ) illegals in Erie, again courtesy of OUR President !

  13. Stu – the Gene Pool needs a bit more chlorine to clean up things a bit….

  14. Not vaxxed. Will never be for several reasons. Always been a germphobe and always wore a mask in public long before the hysteria which began in early 2020. I mask to ward off everything contagious, not just Covid.

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