Local circulation of anti-mask conspiracy theory puts MV residents at risk

EDITORIAL

The Current has been given a copy of a document being distributed to local residents that attacks the wearing of face masks. The reader who provided it says she is aware that other Valley residents have also received it. Image above shows the document’s inflammatory headline attributing irreversible brain damage to mask wearing.

To anyone who might be inclined to believe its contents, you should be aware that the source is the blog of the infamous James Fetzer; we encourage you to Google him, where you will learn that he is a notorious conspiracy theorist whose many “alternative facts” have been repeatedly debunked and his conduct condemned. A former professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, the university disassociates itself from him by stating on its website, “His theories are his own and are not endorsed by the University of Minnesota Duluth or the University of Minnesota System.”

Fetzer achieved particular notoriety as a co-editor of a book alleging that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of Connecticut school children never occurred. In addition to receiving universal vilification for his manufactured mischief-making, in a recent high profile case he was successfully sued for defamation by the family of a 6-year-old victim of the Sandy Hook shooting for cruelly publishing that the child’s death certificate was a fake. A jury in Wisconsin in October 2019 ordered him to pay $450,000 compensation to the father of the dead child.

One can only speculate about the motives of those who are actively spreading false information for the purpose of frightening those who wear face masks. Unfortunately, as with all conspiracy theories no matter how preposterous, some people will still believe them, thus in this case jeopardizing their own health as well as those they come into contact with. Is it a coincidence that this is happening as the wrecking ball known as Donald Trump continues to pour scorn on mask wearers?

Many scientists and medical experts, including the World Health Organization, who are far more qualified than Fetzer and the German neurologist he cites, have discounted any link between correctly worn masks and brain damage. After all, many healthcare professionals wear masks daily through their careers. Is it not strange that during the centuries that people have worn masks for health and hygienic reasons, there has not been any authoritative published medical support for such a theory?

Unfortunately, in an online world when conspiracy theories are everywhere, how do you know what to believe? It all boils down to accessing independent, reliable sources and asking sensible questions. Does the claim offend your common sense, is there evidence to back it up and is there any missing information? Are you being influenced for political or other reasons? If so, what does the source of the claim stand to gain?

14 Comments

  1. Dan Olshen

    Independent thinkers (vs. herd thinkers) might want to refer to the very comprehensive Danish case study (JUST RELEASED) on ordinary mask efficiency on preventing the spread of Covid. The 6000 randomly chosen human control subjects were evenly split between those that wore masks and those that did not. The mathematical and statistical correlation analysis on these subjects suggests wearing those ordinary blue type paper (or their colorful cloth variants) masks (vs. N95 masks), that one sees local users deploy have limited if any effectiveness in preventing one from getting Covid.
    If one is so inclined, listen to Dr. Grace and Reg Bergensen who were hosted by Laura Ingraham (Fox News – Nov 18), and their ratification of the same. There is another case study of US Marines living in close quarters – like submarines and frigates where social distancing and mask usage is mandatory illustrates that infection rates are not abated to any discernable degree by mask usage. These recent studies clearly suggest that wearing N95 masks are effective in highly contagious areas like in hospitals where Covid patients are being treated, but the caveat is that these masks lose their utility after 6 hours and must be changed for new ones daily. It appears from the latest studies released this week, that masks of the variety worn by 99% of MV residents have limited effectiveness in the prevention of contacting or reducing the Covid virus, and more studies like the Danish one are reinforcing this fact to corroborate the above..
    My premise is that one should practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings or attending entertainment venues wherever possible be pursued, but if one thinks walking down Bay St. with a mask on in our cold outdoor weather offers them protection; then keep tuned as more studies will reinforce the highly acclaimed Danish scientific findings in the near future.

  2. Barb Cardwell

    What is freaking wrong with people?!! It’s bad enough this type of garbage is created in the first place – then the idiots who believe anything they read come out of the woodwork and distribute it. These are the brain damaged, not those of us being responsible and wearing our masks!

    facebook/nov.17

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