Letter: No right to put others at risk

Graphic by Lori Deaton

To those who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, to those who believe it is their right not to practice social distancing or wear a mask: Yes, you have that freedom, yet no, you do not have the right to put others at risk.

I believe that if you refuse to wear a mask, and/or refuse to social distance, you should not be allowed to enter a hospital and place our valuable health care workers at risk and use medical resources.

Your ignorance is not to be rewarded.

— Casey Fitzgerald


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

20 thoughts on “Letter: No right to put others at risk

  1. C-Law

    @Casey Fitzgerald

    Masks and 6 feet spacing are fantasy, magical thinking, have no proof in any random clinical trial ever. It is not ignorance to question such notions. Ignorance is unquestioning acceptance of extraordinary claims that have no basis in the real world of physics and math!

    Let’s look at physics and mathematics Casey…

    We’ll start with a single cough or sneeze.

    Everyone “knows” that if you cover a cough or sneeze, and you should do it into your sleeve instead of your hand, this will reduce the risk of someone else getting a virus you may have, right?


    It doesn’t. So says the science! This is a myth, just like it is a myth that you can wear a mask and reduce transmission.

    Wait — you say! YUCK; that’s obvious that it helps.

    Well, no.

    Here’s why.

    You sneeze and a huge loogie comes out your nose. Yuck! Nasty! Mucus, full of germs.

    It goes, if uncovered…… downward, on the floor.

    And harms nobody.

    It’s disgusting, but that’s it. You should still do it anyway because it’s disgusting not to, but you won’t stop a virus by doing so.

    What? If I stop the loogie then how come that doesn’t do anything?

    Because in addition to the loogie out come a bunch of large drops, each also laden with virus. Maybe a few hundred drops. Yuck! Thus covering or physically blocking those will reduce transmission to other people, right?

    Wrong again, statistically speaking.


    Because in that same forceful exhale are an enormous number of sub-micron water droplets that are formed as the saturated vapor in your lungs (100% RH in expired air) cools slightly as it travels up from the lungs to the trachea and out the mouth or nose and comes into contact with the ambient air (well, unless it’s over 98.6F in the air where you are anyway!)

    Remember your basic physics: As any saturated vapor cools it condenses. Any saturated vapor that cools by even a tiny amount will condense — that is, coalesce the individual vapor molecules into larger aggregates.

    Ordinary “tidal volume” (that is, the amount of air you move in a resting condition with each inhalation) is about 500ml. For a cough or sneeze it is much larger; the maximum volume of air that can be inspired in adult human lungs typically is in the range of 4-6L, or eight to 12 times the “at rest” breathing amount.

    When we breathe normally we produce very few or no large droplets. When we sing, play a wind instrument, yell, scream, cough or sneeze we produce a fairly large number of them.

    But none of this matters at all, statistically, because with each breath we produce millions of small condensate drops, and all of them which do not aggregate beyond the pore size of the medium in a mask will go right through said mask in either direction, most of those condensed molecules are produced between the lungs and either before or just after exit from the body due to condensation of the 100% RH water vapor and each of them, if you are infected with a virus, carries enough virons to infect another person.

    We’ve all “seen our breath” outside when it’s cold.

    That’s aggregation and condensation to a great enough degree that the aggregates are visible; there are thousands to millions more said aggregates that are too small to see and when it’s not cold outside none of them aggregate and condense sufficiently to be visible but they are all still there.

    This is why physics says that masks don’t work against viruses and exactly zero RCTs show that they do.

    ——Xiao, J., Shiu, E., Gao, H., Wong, J. Y., Fong, M. W., Ryu, S….Cowling, B. J. (2020). Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 26(5), 967-975. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2605.190994.

    Never mind the repeated attempts to do so including in 1918, which did nothing to prevent the spread.

    Every single person that has ever “seen their breath” in the winter months knows, if they think about it for 30 seconds, why masks can’t work and don’t.

    They can’t work because blocking 1,000 pretty-large droplets sounds like it’s great except hundreds of thousands or even millions of condensed water vapor molecule clusters were also expelled, they have enough virons on them to infect another person and very nearly zero of those are caught by the mask in either direction. Worse, every one of those, unless condensed out or breathed in by someone else can remain in the air for hours since they are small enough to remain within the purview of brownian motion of air molecules; that is, they “float” so to speak because the energy of said molecular vibration and ordinary air currents, even indoors, is large compared to the pull of gravity toward the ground and thus they remain suspended in the air.

    The reason we have a flu season, as I’ve noted, is that the higher the absolute humidity, which tracks with temperature, the greater the odds that further agglomeration of these clusters of molecules will occur and once they get large enough gravity takes over as they are too heavy and they fall to the ground harmlessly.

    So your mask stopped the nasty-looking and smelling loogie which can infect exactly one person, unless you wipe it around on people, and 1,000 of the 5,000 modest-size droplets you expelled. This is why the mask gets nasty all over the inside (which, by the way, if left on for any length of time or reused will breed bacteria on the inside surface which you can inhale, and it will be very bad for you if you do so.)

    But it’s worthless in terms of protecting anyone else because at the same time you expelled the 5,001 droplets and stopped 1,001, which sounds like a decent hazard reduction, you also expelled hundreds of thousands or even several million micrometer-size drops, an effective none of which were stopped, all of which are infectious, and thus you actually caught materially less than 1% of the potential infections that can screw someone else!

    1% is not statistically significant. Filtering out 0.1-1% of the infectious events out at the source DOES NOTHING.

    The reason workers in a virus lab wear moon suits, go through triple sets of sealed doors with decontamination procedures before that suit is removed and breathe pressurized outside air while inside the lab is that these are facts and said virus — any virus — will go right through any “mask.”

    Oh, and don’t run any bull**** about “oh it’s only so-called droplets”; nonsense. There’s zero scientific evidence for that. I’m not the only one who’s noticed this — there’s a group of 239 scientists who signed a letter to the WHO.


    Not that they should have needed to; unless you’re a mouth-breathing idiot the early outbreak in an apartment building at Wuhan where there were no plumbing traps and thus gas (aerosol) from people’s scat was getting into other people’s apartments and the outbreak occurred across floors units where the individuals had no reasonable possibility of personal or droplet contact along with the choir group that took all manner of reasonable precaution yet got infected anyway all make clear that in fact the so-called “large drop only” theory is nonsense. It not only has no basis given the spread we have observed it has no basis in physics either.

    Further, as I’ve repeatedly noted, that Covid-19 isn’t following the laws of physics on the agglomeration that occurs with absolute humidity is very strong evidence (but not proof), again on the science, that it is not predominantly being transmitted through the air but rather by contact with contaminated surfaces and since we know intact virus is found in feces fecal contamination is very likely involved (exactly as it is with polio, which also didn’t follow the laws of physics on aerosol transmission because it wasn’t, in the main, transmitted that way.)

    We have known all of this since February, as I have documented.

    Physics is not a list of suggestions folks.

    It is a list of natural laws that nobody can violate.

    Masks are worthless when it comes to viral transmission and in addition they are obviously also worthless against transmission that occurs due to contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. That’s the physics of it and nobody has ever demonstrated an ability to modify the laws of physics.

    Grow up, deal with the fact that masks are worthless, learn to live with the fact that this virus will not be responsive to voodoo or magical incantations by governors, mayors or anyone else. Manual removal of potential contamination from your hands by washing with soap and water will help, but there is no guarantee because as we know this virus can spread through multiple vectors. The sooner those who are not significantly harmed by this virus get it and thus inhibit transmission the sooner it will be equivalent in its impact to seasonal flu or less.

    There is no other reality folks, and for reasons I’ve explained before a vaccine is unlikely to work either. Don’t get your hopes up for that as you are very likely to be disappointed.

    If this nation cannot face the realities of physics then we are back to the persecution of Galileo and the burning of “witches” at Salem. There is utterly no point in my, or any other thinking person’s continued engagement on any matter of economics, politics, public health or other policy if that is to be the regression of intelligence and logic among the people of this nation as what was America is doomed to collapse back into the Dark Ages.

    • bsummers

      Right. All the other countries who practiced mask wearing and social distancing are coming out of the pandemic. We’re the only country where this “I’m smarter than the scientists and besides, it’s all just a anti-Trump ChiCom conspiracy…” nonsense has taken root. And we’re the country where infection is exploding while the rest of the world starts to shut US out. Brilliant thinking, geniuses.

      • Lou

        Right?!? The biggest joke of all is that these people actually think they are superior to the rest of us LOL. What a sad world.

    • bsummers

      Sorry, should have said “Brilliant thinking, anonymous consequence-free geniuses.”

      Free speech is great, but IMO, “Don’t Wear Masks” should carry the same consequences as yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

    • luther blissett

      The only things this rotting heap of word salad tells us are that there are enough people in the US who are convinced of their own intellectual superiority to make mitigation impossible, and that engineers’ syndrome is real. Who knew that Germany doesn’t exist because physics?

    • Dopamina

      This is an absurd Gish Gallop, do you really expect anyone to read and respond to all of that?

      My guess is no, your tactic, either intentional or non, seems to be to overwhelm your opponent rather than have any kind of discussion.

      Sadly, this is not how arguments are won or minds are changed. Debate is not a race to throw the most crap on the wall in the hope that you threw more crap than your opponent; that exercise sounds an awful lot like stroking your own ego…

      Do yourself a favor and read the story of Typhoid Mary aka Mary Mallon – what should we do with people like her in a civilized society? What should we do with people like *you* in a civilized society?

  2. bsummers

    Right. At the very least people who refuse to wear a mask should have to sign a disclaimer agreeing to forgo medical treatment if they contract the “hoax”.

    • T. Davis

      OK……so we should deny people access to healthcare if their need for it results from not utilizing preventive measures? Well, that logic opens up Pandora’s box! Smoking, alcohol, drug use, unprotected sex, poor diet, high-risk sports, injuries caused by reckless vehicle operation, etc., etc. In other words, individual responsibility! Cool!

  3. Doug Phillips

    You have some good points.
    “You have freedoms but not the right put others at risk” is a valid pro-life statement for people of any age..

  4. NFB

    From now on I will no longer obey any traffic laws. These include speed limits, stop signs, and traffic lights. These laws infringe on my personal freedom. I will also drive on any side of the road I see fit and on the sidewalk if the notion strikes me. This is a personal decision and my rights come before anyone else’s personal safety. Free dumb for ever.

  5. bsummers

    “Retailers commend the governors who have chosen to lead on this issue by requiring citizens in their state to wear a mask, and we respectfully ask that those governors that haven’t yet required masks in public to do so immediately.”
    the Retail Industry Leaders Association wrote in a letter this week to the National Governors Association.

    “We can run around on our high horses and declare personal freedom to infect other people, or we can be a little bit inconvenienced and do what is necessary to save our economy and to save the jobs of Americans. It’s really that simple.”
    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) launched an advertising campaign last week urging Americans to wear face coverings in public spaces.

  6. Mike

    The author complains of unmasked people in hospitals. Around here they won’t even let you in the door unless you are a patient, guardian of a patient, employee, or vendor. And then you have to wear a mask..

    I’ve got little to no faith in the homemade cloth masks though. They leave a gap between face and mask where the pass over the bridge of the nose.. Air follows the path of least resistance .. So most of your inhale and exhale follows that path (and is why my glasses fog up when I go in a cold grocery store on a hot day.)

  7. Jason Williams

    As much as I commiserate with the letter writers sentiments, I believe that healthcare should be a basic human right that all should be entitled to despite their self-sabotaging ways. Therefore no person should be denied access to hospital care.

    • bsummers

      These people aren’t just self-sabotaging, they’re a menace to others. I take your meaning, but there should still be consequences for choosing to spread a deadly disease.

      • Jason Williams

        Agreed. There should be consequences for being apathetic about the health and safety of one’s fellow human beings.

  8. fender

    @ C-Law Anyone can go on the internet and find articles to support their viewpoints, no matter how outrageous they are. The world isn’t round, man didn’t land on the moon, the Holocaust didn’t happen, ad infinitum . From reading your lengthy manifesto it appears you have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It has been scientifically proven that masks and social distancing does help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Just as you did, I could cite thousands of articles that proves my point. The best proof that social distancing and wearing masks works are the countries that implemented the practice early on. The curve has been flattened and has remained there. When you choose to intentionally put my health and well-being at risk the you should be prepared to accept the consequences.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.