As a traveler, the whole mask debate fascinates me and so I read with interest that the Netherlands is moving in an opposite direction from its European neighbors, bucking conventional wisdom by not only failing to mandate masks, but even discouraging their use.
Dutch Scientists: No Evidence Face Masks Works (And They May Even Be Harmful)
120 countries around the world now require facial coverings in most public places. That includes almost all of Europe. But the Netherlands has been a visible holdout. Despite mounting pressure, however, the Dutch are firmly resisting a mandatory mask mandate.
Coen Berends, a spokesperson for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, said:
“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence. There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”
That negative impact is the false sense of security masks brings, leading people to let down their guard and forsake the more important effort of social distancing.
The Netherlands has fared well in its battle against COVID-19. With infection and death rates lower than many of its European peers. Instead of face masks, the Dutch government has stressed three pivotal factors in fighting the spread of virus:
- wash hands regularly
- maintain social distancing of 1.5 meters (~5 feet)
- stay at home if suffering any symptoms
There is one exception: masks are required on public transport, as social distancing on crowded trains and busses is virtually impossible.
Holland has also suffered a recent outbreak of cases, but has traced those to family gatherings in which masks would not have been worn even if they were required.
I don’t purport to draw any conclusions from the Dutch attitude toward masks. On a personal basis, the position is appealing because I don’t like wearing masks. Who does? But for now, I continue to view masks as a non-invasive extra layer of protection that I gladly wear when required in public. It will be fascinating to see how the numbers in the Netherlands compare to those of surrounding countries in the weeks ahead.
Hmmm. Is that not the same in Germany as well? Wear a mask where you can’t distance, e.g. in public transport; shops; restaurants when you are not sitting down…but outside if you can distance you don’t need a mask…
No restaurant requirement in the Netherlands.
in Germany, too. Or do you think the Germans are eating in restaurant through invisible mask?
Germans only wear masks on public transport?
And in shops. Basically everywhere indoors when it’s impossible to keep the distance (except when you with your peers)
Both in Germany and NL people are required to use mask when social distancing is not available. In restaurants, it is not necessary if they are eating (obviously).
A big problem that I see with masks is no regards to fitting them at the nose. Dispo9paper ones have metal bands embedded at the top. Squeeze it so the masks fits the nose. Home made face coverings lack these but have the same gap.
if everyone abided by the other controls, the face mask benefit may well be incremental….problem is people are not following the other rules. So while in laboratory conditions you get one result, in real life its something different
I can’t fault other countries like the Netherlands, Germany, or even Sweden for having their own approaches. Their government and people are overall more science-based and there isn’t a deep distrust of government that exists here in the US.
Face masks are necessary here because people don’t social distance, don’t wash hands, don’t have a reliable health care system etc…
Eh, don’t let high profile events distort reality: Most Americans have been wearing a mask outside for months now and people have social distanced overall as much as Europeans have. We’ve definitely had some morons, but that’s just reality.
Air conditioning making it worse here than Europe makes sense to me, as well as places like CA and TX just seeing their outbreaks a few months later than NY and NJ. Now CA, FL, AZ, and TX are slowing down. And now, MT is seeing an outbreak. This thing just does what it wants.
This virus is hard to stop. Peru and South Africa shut down completely, had strict rules, and now both are getting destroyed by the virus. Sweden likely had the right strategy on this after all.
The US doesn’t have a reliable health care system? Really? Have you been to a hospital in South America? Or even in Europe? I never had a better health care treatment anywhere in the world than in the US. Not sure where you go for treatment but I have no idea what is your model of healthcare. Being expensive is very different than being reliable. BTW, just as an example, I have lots of friends that work at Mayo Clinic. They are a reference of healthcare anywhere in the world and kings, presidents, prime ministers of many countries fly there to get healthcare treatment.
Earth to Matt: nobody LIKES wearing a mask. It’s taken as a given, so mentioning it weakens the impact of the following sentence.
Is there a correlation between rates of infection and dysfunctional government?
Here in the UK we have the highest death rates in Europe and a government of clowns, in the US you manage to beat us on deaths and you have Trump and I won’t say more.
Places like the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Denmark and France where there is trust in the government are doing better.
UK death % 345K cases 13.5% pop 66M
Spain 349K 8.2% pop 46M
Italy 248K 14.2% pop 60M
France 216K 14.3% pop 67M
Germany 213k 4.3% pop 83M
US Deaths 156K 3.3% pop 335M
The US is a federation of independent states much like the EU.
Although the US has tested almost 5M people that were positive for DNA of SARS2-COVID) (not necessarily sick).
The numbers that have died is a smaller number of deaths than each of those EU countries: UK(exEU), GDR, Italy, France and Spain and a fraction of the combined deaths with smaller combined population of all the listed countries. 1.3M deaths < 300m combined pop.
France death % is worse than Italy.
I mean, there’s some nuance here. The Dutch require them on public transit, trains, in airports, and on airplanes. Does it make sense to require them on busy shopping streets outside? I doubt it. For people to enter a store for a few minutes? I doubt it. Personally, I wear a face mask out of social solidarity, but I don’t like it, and I think Americans are grasping at straws, treating masks as a kind of panacea in the absence of robust European- or East Asian-style public health institutions. And despite Americans wearing masks more than people in a lot of other countries, we’ve still had major outbreaks in California and other states where most people — the odd anti-masker aside — are wearing them.
It’s a little bit sad and a little bit pathetic that Americans — including our CDC director — seem to believe surgical masks will resolve our complicated epidemic in a month or two, but here we are. In contrast, without masks and without draconian shutdowns, Sweden is now down to about ~40 cases/day, but they actually have a robust welfare state and public health system. Americans, even Democrats, don’t seem to want those things, preferring instead to gamble on surgical masks and cloth. Again, very sad, from the perspective of someone who holds European citizenship and has lived and traveled outside the country quite a bit.
Americans are fat. Along with obesity come all sorts of other problems that exacerbate the problems of the pandemic. No one wants to call out the problem for what it is. Fat acceptance is detrimental to society. If Democratic governors hadn’t ordered patients sick with COVID-19 back into nursing homes, Americans weren’t so fat, and the most vulnerable people were protected, this would just have been like a flu.
It’s really not all that different than in Austria. Masks are required on public transport, Uber, Taxi, grocery stores, post office and a few other spots. Restaurants and hotels and most shops etc are mask free. The only difference I have noticed is lately restaurant staff are more likely to be wearing masks as a management decision.
So for all the bold statements of the Dutch Government it’s practically identical to a large portion of Europe.
Yes, it’s Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland that are the real outliers — no masks anywhere, including public transit, except airports.
The Netherlands have a high degree of rule adherence. Managing the nuance of when and where to mask and not mask is something that isn’t an unreasonable ask for the average Dutch person.
Of course, the net/net is that this is interesting but has virtually zero relevancy for the US experience.
So the Dutch are Don’t Mask, Don’t Tell.
Masks mandatory in several outdoor ares in Amsterdam as of tomorrow 8/5
Thanks. So just in Amsterdam and Rotterdam it seems.
Yes and only in designated areas, but a discussion has started if these measures are not against the constitution and if any fines will stand in court (or higher court)
How fast do these issues tend to move through the court system? Is there a potential for emergency relief?
Interesting – this seems reasonable. I always laugh when I see people in the US wearing masks while socially distanced (ex. while on a jog or while in a car).
I have zero issues in wearing a mask. Bough some sporty ones for my kids and they love it. It is really about education. BTW, I watched a very interesting webinar with lots of top doctors and one thing they all said was very interesting. The biggest pandemic that has been devastating the US in the last 3o years is called BAD NUTRITION. Since many Americans adopted diets of fast food, processed foods and cheap sources of sugar and starches, sodas, high fructose corn syrup, breakfast cereals, etc… that is was has triggered astonishing levels of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure among Americans. Add to that a sedentary lifestyle of watching TV and not doing any exercises. Thus, as you know, Covid is mainly deadly when it takes people that fits the categories above. Thus, wearing masks helps not getting the virus into these people that will certainly die. In sum, Covid is just the last straw of an already death sentence that many Americans have chosen for themselves.
Bingo and the Comorbidities from diabetes, heart disease, HBP, kidney failure, stroke, and lung and respiratory issues have been the leading cause of death of Americans each year from CDC for the past decade.
COVID19 will likely be the 4th or 5th leading cause of death for 2020 but if your remove the COVID deaths with comorbidities and only count COVID as the cause of death would likely be less or equal to flu. Reading the ages of the people that have died locally every day I would say close to 40% were 90+ years old, the other 55+% were 60-89 years old.
All other leading causes of death you mentioned are not infectious. To compare them with Covid-19 is stupid. Heart disease doesn’t get transmitted by respiratory droplets. Covid-19 far more lethal than a flu and there is so much not known about the disease. The fondness of the virus to ACE2 receptors can wreck havoc to kidneys, lining of the heart blood vessels and other organs. There hasn’t been enough time to monitor the effect post infection. Most likely that the mortality and morbidity rates will increase.
Stupid? Where did I say those conditions are infectious? I will stop there.
You didn’t but comparing a highly infectious disease with R0 close to 1 to other conditions you mentioned paints a wrong picture of how severe this pandemic is. Without closing the borders and other restrictions, this pandemic would’ve killed millions. Those victims will most likely be the most vulnerable in the society but their lives matter.
Saw this today. thought it was on point.
In 4 months, the U.S. transformed into an obedient socialist country. Government dictated what events are acceptable to attend. Violent protests that instill fear are OK, but church services, family funerals and patriotic celebrations are dangerous.
And …YOU … bought it … without …a …fight.
Standing in a graduation line is a “safety hazard”.
Small businesses, restaurants and gun stores/ranges were forced to close but crowds to support the corporate money machine at WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot are OK.
Come on. It’s “just a mask” & “safety precautions”.
How about a little hush money. Here’s $2,400 that we stole out of your pay check in the first place. Enjoy. Buy something with it. From a big corporation.
Cash is dirty. We can’t give change. There’s a coin shortage. Use your card. In 4 months, they convinced you to use a traceable card for everything.
In less than 4 months, government closed public schools then “restructured” education under the guise of “public safety”. In less than 4 months, our government demonstrated how easily fearful people assimilate to “guidelines” that have NO scientific premise whatsoever.
In less than 4 months, our government successfully instilled fear in a majority of the population in America.
That allowed the government to control every aspect of your life, including what you eat, where you go, and who you see.
The most dangerous and terrifying part? …. People are not afraid of the government who removed their freedom.
Instead people are afraid of their neighbors, family and friends…. and hate those who won’t comply.
It’s revolting to me that so many people don’t question “authority”.
They are willing to surrender their critical thinking skills and independence.
They just… gave…. up …. without thinking….. Without a fight.
Do you know what’s coming next?
“It’s just a vaccine. Come on. It’s for the greater good”.
Wait until you’re told that you can’t enter any store or business without proof of the Covid-19 vaccine. Wait until you can’t go to public events or get on a plane without proof of receiving the vaccine.
To everyone that doesn’t believe this is possible – DO YOU UNDERSTAND that government successfully dictated to people WHEN they were allowed to be outside, where they were allowed to go, and how their children would be educated in less than 4 months?
A majority of the population followed blindly because they were told to do so.
You’re kidding yourself if you think this behavior won’t be repeated with a vaccine. Or whatever the next step is.
6 million Jews were exterminated in Germany because 97% of the population cowered to populist control.
Nobody wanted to think about it. It’s easier to just ignore it.
But that couldn’t happen here, right?
So says the fool who linked to a post by a doctor talking about demon sex and alien DNA. Keep up the “good work”.
Apparently your analogy also doesn’t extend to the fascist in chief you blindly support…oh sweet irony.
I don’t blindly support anyone. But HCQ works. And nothing you can say or do will change that.
And from now on, I’m also done responding to your comments.
I’ve seen how you constantly attack others on every possible post on here. It’s always political. And it’s always inflammatory and rude. Sticks and stones.
If Matthew should block anyone, it should be you.
Lol – claiming it works for Covid when no reputable national health organization will go near it now due to organ damage. 63mm useless doses in the US now.
And your post literally compared countries taking minor actions (temporary shutdown, mask wearing) to the Holocaust. Holy S. That is truly, epically terrible that you would go there.
(@Matthew – just an FYI that Twitter and Facebook and every other reputable social media site removed the posts that this guy is advocating for, just an FYI)
I see people walking their dogs or jogging with masks. That’s just ridiculous, you can easily avoid people doing most outdoor activities. I even see people driving by themselves wearing a mask. A mask in such cases is useless. People are such sheep. Of course if you can’t social distance, especially indoors, then wear a mask, but come on people, have a little perspective. Don’t be mindless fear driven drones.
Oh, and airline eyeshades don’t make effective masks.
I’ve seen a couple sitting on a park where I live wearing N95 masks. That is the most effective mask but also the most difficult for anyone to breathe. It was 95F and the closest person to them was probably 50ft away. They sat there for 90 minutes under the sun (we were all watching kids practicing soccer in an open park). My point is not even on the wearing mask outdoors but if I had to do that I would rather stay home.
This could be a reason why in the Netherlands they have three times as many new infections per 100.000 citizens than in Germany.
Earth to MaKr
Folks with allergies or asthma LIKE wearing a mask. They can rapidly reduce symptoms without need for medicines. Folks in San Antonio, Texas who really suffer in the winter from extremely high Mountain Cedar pollen counts also LIKE wearing a mask as Mountain Cedar pollen is not just an allergen, but also a respiratory irritant.