Face coverings on bike path?
“Face Covering Required” to use the bike path! What? Whose idea was this?
Normal oxygen levels in air are 21% by volume. Oxygen almost immediately drops to 19.5% by volume inside the mask since exhaled CO2 displaces oxygen. In the words of a friend — “People were not meant to breath their own exhaust!”
OSHA defines an oxygen deficient atmosphere as “… an oxygen content below 19.5% by volume” and further “all oxygen-deficient atmospheres shall be considered IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health)” [OSHA 1910.134(d)(2)(iii)].
Face coverings can promote health risks to individuals and when exercising it presents greater risks since exhaled CO2 increases during exercise. Outdoor activities have been suspended and local gyms shut down due to the virus fears. Now Town government is making it more unsafe to maintain physical and mental health by restricting use of the bike path.
Was this decision data driven? If so, publish the data. And I don’t mean “we are following CDC guidelines” or some other rhetoric that translates to “I don’t have to be responsible for these decisions.” Provide hard evidence that any of this works instead of eroding individual rights and services we have paid for.
Social distancing and exercising care around others are common sense and may provide a higher level of protection. If someone mandates masks in their own home, that is their right. In stores wearing a mask is mandated but you are not required to wear one if you have a medical condition that prevents it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci admits that masks are not a substantial protection (February 2020). No legislation requires face covering. Everything, at the State or local level is based on a Governor’s order or “guidelines” set forth by people with limited qualifications or knowledge, in my opinion. There is no cohesive story. Increased testing shows more positive cases but deaths and hospitalizations are declining [Ref: Mass.gov COVID-19 Dashboard]. Yet constraints on our individual liberties are getting harsher (i.e. face coverings on the bike path) or not changing.
Fairhaven data are not available on-line. An April 2020 article in SouthCoast Today stated Fairhaven was not publicly reporting virus data. A search of county data to extrapolate town information is needed. That’s not working either. These numbers are essential to making INFORMED decisions but cannot be found easily.
As of June 19, Bristol County deaths were 0.07% of all people tested in the state. County cases are 0.99% of cases in the State. I could not find specific town data but my guess is that up to 80% of deaths were in nursing homes or long-term care facilities if the town is following the state and national trends.
Data allows one to assess the quality of local decision making. Deaths ATTRIBUTED to the virus in Fairhaven are actually a mixed bag with no confirmation data. Terminally ill patients with days left to live were listed as virus deaths because they tested positive just before or after death. As the Wuhan virus has progressed, a person dying and testing positive for the virus was listed as a COVID-19 death. They may have actually died from some underlying condition.
Government agencies and individual medical professionals are all over the place on the benefits of a mask. If the CDC, OSHA and others in the alphabet soup can’t figure it out, how are average citizens or city and town administrators expected to get it right.
Bottom line — use your head, be responsible, wash your hands long and often and be careful around others.
We need to take back our individual rights and If you think wearing a face covering makes sense to you, do it. If you wish to exercise (i.e. bike ride) and realize a mask cuts down on your oxygen intake and is unsafe, skip the mask.
Personally, I don’t expect to be covering my face on the bike path unless circumstances arise where it makes sense.
Marsby Warters, Fairhaven
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal.
Click here to download the entire 6/25/20 issue: 06-25-20 July4Video