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Korean professor surprised Western people don’t wear masks which are “very effective”

Professor Kim Woo-Ju, Professor Infectious Diseases, Korea, says that masks are “definitely effective”. “I find it quite odd” that the west people don’t wear masks.” “People wearing a mask have a significantly lower chance of getting infected than those who don’t.” WHO says not to wear masks, he says “I disagree.”

Around the middle of the interview he says that one of the reasons Korea has  low rate of infection is because they wear masks — as good as N95 (P2) — this is the same type as what the doctors wear.

He says Korea, and all the South East Asian countries are also experienced because they went through the SARS and MERS outbreaks. They knew what to do, they knew they needed tests fast.

He speaks well. h/t MichaelSmithNews. (via Annie ) and Chiefio somewhere (via Bill in Oz)

“In 30 years of pandemics, Ebola, MERS, Swine Flu … the Covid-19 epidemic is the most challenging”.

  • In the 80+ age group the death rate is 11%
  • With the largest number of tests anywhere, they find 20% have no symptoms. But it is still not random testing. And the number may be different in other countries due to genes, climate (which affects vitamin D levels) or diet.
  • About 30% of cases the patients cannot smell or taste. That can last 5 – 10 days. (It’s good to know their senses come back).
  • They are seeing reactivation of cases released from hospital — people who tested negative and have been released. This is occurring a week or later and is very unusual. (5 – 6 minutes)
  • At 5 – 10 degrees and 30% humidity the virus can survive a long time at least 5 – 7 days on a table.
  • 20% of their new cases in Korea are from flights.
  • Anti-virals are the most promising form of treatment, including the anti-HIV and Chloroquine related ones. He didn’t rave about them, but said they are somewhat useful.

Airborne transmission can happen in churches or where people are singing and shouting loudly. The airborne droplets can stay elevated longer, can dry out, and that means people will be infected much further away. This explains why churches or mosques can be the largest sources of infection. Presumably rock concerts would be too.

They use phones to track people in self quarantine and expect them to enter their symptoms daily. (!)

Schools have been delayed, but many young people are still studying at academies at night time and people are still going to night clubs, but 10% of their cases are in their 20-something group.

As I said last week some people are making their own masks

Does anyone here want to make masks and sell them to readers? I’m happy to connect up supply and demand if you know someone with a sewing machine. There must be a way to solve this. If we got people wearing masks and it reduced spread by 50% that means we all get out of this faster…. (and in that last post there was a study of Australian parents looking after kids with influenza and if they wore masks they prevented 3 out of 4 infections in parents.) 

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Rating: 9.8/10 (32 votes cast)
Korean professor surprised Western people don't wear masks which are "very effective", 9.8 out of 10 based on 32 ratings

72 comments to Korean professor surprised Western people don’t wear masks which are “very effective”

  • #
    Jacques Lemiere

    good video generally speakin.

    22

  • #
    Sceptical Sam

    The Australian population can only wear masks if they can buy them. They are as rare as hen’s teeth in any retail outlet.

    Even our Medicos are not wearing them because they have none available. Front of house in medical surgeries around where I live do nor have access.

    Phamacists’ staff seem to have them. How does that work?

    It would be very helpful if the government let us know what it is doing to increase the quantity of marks, gloves, goggles and hand sanitizer available to the Australian people.

    Yes, yes. I know. I know. Make your own.

    I have. However, I’d prefer to make them from a template that Brendan “let them die” Murphy has endorsed and wears.

    Didn’t they name a law after Brendan? What was it called again?

    102

    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      Moderation? Please!

      00

    • #
      toorightmate

      Sam,
      Get some from the Greenland Group; they have plenty.

      60

      • #
        PeterS

        The company that was founded in Shanghai, China and drained us of our masks to send back to China?

        30

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Half the Australian population wouldn’t wear a mask if they were given free.
      People should stop whinging, you got the message now get out and make your own maybe to save your life!
      GeoffW

      20

  • #
    PeterS

    Are those the same masks that China shipped out from here? Give me a break. I would love for my family to have masks. They are not available for love or money. I’ve seen women plea to our local chemist for masks but was told sorry none here. She stood there for a minute and shook her head. So before anyone tells us to have mask first tell us where to get them here in Australia.

    141

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Same message to you Pete. See above . .
      Do you want to live or die complaining?
      GeoffW

      20

  • #
    tonyb

    Personally I find the wearing of masks quite disturbing, a little like Muslim women covering up their faces. We are used to seeing a persons face and take our cues of their personality from them.

    Personally its not a habit I would like to see continue after the current crisis ends.

    In order to write my articles about historical climate I like to read a lot of material that provides background and context, which often contains unexpected climate references and insights. Consequently I thought this observation by Ian Mortimer was relevant to today’s Covid 19 pandemic, as described in his excellent, densely researched and well referenced book ‘The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England.’

    “There are myriad other diseases in medieval England which you may end up catching. Many of them will cease to exist before the advent of the modern world. Several ailments described by the chronicler Henry Knighton do not correspond with anything known to modern medical science. Similarly there are afflictions such as ‘Styche’ and ‘Ipydyme’ which have no modern equivalent. Some diseases have simply become less common; malaria is endemic in marshy area, such as Romney Marsh in Kent and the fens of Lincolnshire and Norfolk. On the other hand fourteenth century England is free from a number of diseases which affect us in later centuries; you will not find cholera or syphilis.

    In some cases this is due to barriers of travel. In others it is because our vulnerability to specific infections alters with our living conditions. Diseases change as they circulate around the pool of humanity. Rodent carriers of disease are replaced by different rodents carrying different diseases. Certain illnesses which are initially lethal grow progressively less dangerous as the decades go by.”

    So ailments change as they ‘circulate round the pool of humanity’ and time and geography alters. Are Koreas and Chinas and Italys circumstances identical to ours so we should all follow each others remedies and actions?

    We should not be surprised in the modern world that different groups of humanity should react differently to Covid19, which will become modified by the way people live , their health record-past and current, their lifestyle choices which might encompass obesity, smoking and excessive drinking, their ability to access good medical services, natural immunities, their personal robustness, age profile, their diet etc.

    So it should be apparent that different countries and communities within those countries and individuals within those communities will have different outcomes to such conditions as Covid19. History tells us that we are not all destined to follow the path of Italy and Spain for example .

    One over-riding lesson from reading such books as ‘The Time Travellers Guide” is that this day and age is the best in history for ordinary people to live in; that we are currently at the peak of human civilisation and any action by govt. that deliberately or inadvertently pushes us back to the living and health conditions of pre industrial-let alone medieval- times, should be strongly resisted.

    LP Hartley wrote; “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” We can surely do an awful lot of things better than we currently do, for example with the environment and curbing excesses in consumption of goods and foods. However, Hartley’s phrase and Mortimer’s insights should remind us that the past was not some Arcadian idyll, and we should not want to retreat from our current levels of health and prosperity, longevity and freedoms, but enhance them in a responsible fashion, whilst helping other countries less fortunate than ours to similarly advance.

    72

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Same message to you tonyb . .
      Sorry but not interested in your ‘historical’ expertise. Just go make a face mask like I said above. All you guys should wake up to reality and take note of what Jo has been saying.
      Could save your life !!
      GeoffW

      10

      • #
        tonyb

        Geoffrey

        I never used the words ‘historical’ expertise. it is your phrase.

        Thank you, I have face masks as history (and sge) tells us people panic and you need to secure reasonable supplies of certain items in good times without going over the top about it.

        I don’t mind you criticising me but you could at least read the item first.

        My point was that History and academics tell us that diseases mutate, they affect different communities and peoples in different ways at different times due to a long list of factors. My observation was that we should not treat all countries as being on the same path to some unknown shared fate as the circumstances of Say Spain and Italy are very different to those in Australia and the UK.

        I do not know why you should therefore go off at a complete tangent and post a response on something I did not say

        00

    • #

      “I find the wearing of masks quite disturbing”
      Get over it Tony. I donated all my P1/P2 masks to local nurses. Thought I’d cut out the middle people and help the coal face workers directly. Get yourself a sewing machine. The old ones are cheap enough and can last for centuries. My first machine was made in about 1909 and I bet someone is still using it. Otherwise get a cheap new one, but go easy with it. They are much easier to break. I broke the foot on my new “heavy duty” (joke) Singer. Had to put a 40 year old replacement on it. You just need some material, cotton or cotton mix, old shirt, anything with a reasonably fine weave, no pinholes, test that it “draws” when you breathe through it eg tightens on your face, but is no so fine that it is hard to breath. elastic to fit round neck and mid back of head. Or try a bra cup? Handle the mask so you don’t transfer virii to your hands. Make sure you wash it or UV sterilise it every day.
      “Get over it” yep maybe I’ll hand-print that on my masks. Don’t use t-shirt transfer paper. Too hard to breathe through.

      20

    • #
      Annie

      An interesting post tonyb. I agree with a lot of what you say. However, re masks. I never ever saw myself wearing one but now I do when I go out shopping.

      20

      • #
        tonyb

        Annie

        Thank you. At least you actually read the post and understood its historical point.

        I said ‘Personally its not a habit I would like to see continue after the current crisis ends’ surely implying that I can quite understand why people are wearing them now.

        00

  • #
    Bill In Oz

    I have masks !
    How come ?
    Well Jo started posting about this bloody Corona virus at the start of Feb.
    And all the photos from China showed people wearing masks
    And then in Japan they were wearing masks
    And in Taiwan
    And in South Korea
    And in Singapore….
    The penny dropped for me then : GET MASKS ( AND SANITISER ) !

    I got a box of them at a large pharmacy here in the Hill.
    The staff wondered why ? I told them “Because of the Corona virus” and I got quiet titters !
    They had sanitiser too but I was not happy with the quality and wound up buying 3 bottles of alcohol based sanitiser from the local Filipino Sari Sari store. $6.50 a 500 mlg bottle. Good value !

    PS Jo, I swear I posted about the Korean professor here last Saturday after Cheifio posted about it..But maybe you did not see it what with all the BS comments swamping the blog !

    Sighhhhhhh !

    But if anyone reading here did not see the penny drop back in early Feb. they were asleep on the blog !

    100

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Fantastic.

      30

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Thanks Bill,

      After reading that I feel like an Idiot.

      KK

      30

    • #
      Choroin

      Good work Bill.

      You’ll remember that purchase for years to come.

      50

      • #
        Kalm Keith

        I definitely screwed up.

        Siiigh!

        20

        • #

          So, perhaps a reader out there has a sewing machine or knows someone who does — does anyone want to offer to make some and sell them here. I’ll connect people up. Supply meets demand. I’m sure we can do something.

          If I wasn’t blogging I’d do it myself.

          50

          • #
            Peter C

            Wrap a tea towel or scarf over your face. It should still work, 50% protection is better than none, and not much less than 70% for a proper mask.

            Also wear glasses. Someone may sneeze. The droplets go everywhere.

            After use let your mask (teatowel) dry out. Clean your glasses. Then were them again.

            It is not rocket science. Other countries show us that it works.

            10

        • #
          Geoffrey Williams

          Me too Keith . . .

          10

    • #
      AP

      I bought my box in 2015 when H1N1 was a potential thing. Eventually the rubber will perish but they are stored in a cool, dark cupboard. I haven’t started wearing mine yet. If we get several thousand cases, then I will.

      Hand sanitiser – at home you are far better off just using soap. Hand sanitiser is for going out when soap and a tap is unavailable, in which case any old pure alcohol (metho even) will work as hand sanitiser – unless you are talking about something like norovirus, or parvovirus in dogs, which is a nasty little SOB and can survive outdoors for a year or longer. I am wary of trusting hand sanitiser.

      Parvo – I used to date a vet many years ago (incidentally whose sister (an ER doc in the UK) tested positive to Covid yesterday) who told me all about this virus. Survives up to 50C (will be around long after global warming has finished us all off ;) ). It makes dogs shit everywhere and lasts in the dirt for a year. So a dog with the virus has a diahorrea at the park, then your dog comes along a year later, gets a bit of dirt under their nail, then licks their paw and gets the virus. Or worse still, goes to sniff the poo, and either steps in it or gets too close with their nose. at least we humans aren’t insanely attracted to sniffing each other’s infected bodily fluids or licking our feet :)

      70

    • #
      Annie

      We couldn’t get masks locally even back in January when we needed them to prevent smoke inhalation. We had quite a few days when the smoke from the East Gippsland fires was thick enough to be obvious just to the fence behind the house, maybe 25m. Never bothered measuring it properly.

      20

  • #
    Bill In Oz

    A BBC article about the use of Face masks in China, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines etc :
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-52015486

    20

  • #
    Sceptical Sam

    President Trump on masks:

    @ 5:20

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6145606898001#sp=show-clips

    This man is so far in front of the curve that the silly buggers who hate him cannot cope.

    41

  • #
    Salome

    See how the local CHinese wear them. Touching them, taking them off to shove takeaway in their mouths, putting them back. Those masks are filthy things, or become such in a day’s wear. Keep your distance of people and wear gloves when you are out and likely to be touching things that others have touched, like petrol hoses and supermarket trolleys (yes, think about it). Masks are an East Asian thing for wearing in winter, especially by people who have a cold, because they don’t blow their noses. THey probably serve to keep the sick sharing their germs, but good hand hygiene is still best for not picking germs up in the first place. And when you know medicos haven’t enough of them, you’re not going to find me out wearing one.

    66

    • #
      Choroin

      I disagree.

      If you’re going for the weekly shopping for a few hours and have a mask – not wearing it all day – then it will greatly decrease your chances of inhaling viral droplets.

      All I do when I get home is hang them on a hook over my wood burner (cold in Tas right now) and the rising heat, above 40degC treats it for a week until I need it again, though I’m actually using a fresh mask each week while putting the heat treated one at the ‘back of the queue’ to be used again in ~12 weeks.

      Masks are like gold these days so disposing of them after use is a stupid idea if you can just heat treat them.

      120

      • #
        GD

        hang them on a hook over my wood burner

        There was a discussion on Jo’s blog yesterday or the day before about putting masks in the microwave for a few seconds. If that works, a mask would be re-usable for a lot longer. And it would be quick and easy to sterilise.

        20

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Gloves need to be taken off which means they get inverted.
      And you get contaminated with bugs in the process.
      Better to use paper towel to fill the tank
      And wipes to wipe down down the supermarket trolley.

      As for dirty face masks used by some people ?
      .Well there is no limit to human stupidity of any nationality…
      But I have NOT seen any Chinese doing what you mention

      22

      • #
        tonyb

        Just re watch the comedy shows called Frasier and follow Niles who wiped down everything, a habit then carried on with Sheldon in Big Bang theory who would be revelling in all this and telling his friends ‘I told you so.’

        21

      • #
        GD

        Gloves need to be taken off which means they get inverted.
        And you get contaminated with bugs in the process

        Surely taking them off carefully and slowly avoids that happening.

        61

    • #

      It’s worth bearing in mind that if we lived in nations with 5,000 people per sq kilometer we might all wear masks in winter too. Flu transmission must be awesome…

      60

    • #
      Annie

      They are good if you use them properly. Mine is washable. I use hand sanitiser before putting it on and again before removing it at the end of shopping. It is washed with some disinfectant at home and then pegged out on the washing line to dry in sun and wind. I also put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil inside before putting it on. The oil is supposedly anti-viral, let’s hope it is!

      30

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    It’s interesting that Korea, and I believe Vietnam have both acted early.

    “The expert from South Korea said that this was the most aggressive problem he had faced.”

    Having said that I am concerned at the apparent failure to apply basic scientific and statistical principles to the accumulation and use of “Data” from different sources.

    Australia is not Italy, Spain or the U.S. and the direct use of data from those countries to build Australia’s response is more politics than science.

    Australian politicians need to pull back, build a reliable picture of what’s happening and then go to work.

    At the moment we only have political clamour, the Border Farce and “Hard Decisions” with little consideration of reality.

    Our National scientific organisation is strangely absent from the picture.

    Australia deserves better.

    KK

    http://joannenova.com.au/2020/03/we-can-hammer-coronavirus-in-weeks-instead-we-go-to-war-unarmoured/#comment-2300894

    30

    • #

      By all means, get the data but don’t hold off quarantining now. We go hard and fast (which we finally seem to be doing), try to get rid of it now — long before winter, while we still have the heat advantage.

      If it turns out in a few weeks we know that it is treatable or mortality rates are not so high, then it’s so easy to take the brakes off.

      But if we take the brakes off today it will be exponentially harder and longer to put them on in a few week.

      70

      • #
        AP

        Yep, how good is that call to close the international border back in Feb looking now?

        If only our leaders were, well, leaders…

        80

  • #
    Ann K.

    This surgeon in Houston, Texas, gives a good overview of how the virus works and why it’s so deadly:

    10

  • #
  • #
    Choroin

    The only reason we’re not wearing masks in Oz (I am, because I prepped years ago and have 99.9% masks) is because we had no strategic reserves and we’ve offshored all of our cheap widget factories to Asia.

    Thanks Neoliberalism!!

    So the Aus govt pretends to give advice that wearing masks is not necessary in order to cover up their utter failure to prepare for even a moderate viral outbreak.

    smh … it’s like Planet of the Apes, except with dumber apes and the dumbest apes running the show.

    120

  • #
    Mark Smith

    We dont have masks because retail outlets oppose free market. If they responded to high demand with raising prices then production would increase.

    A lot political nonsense goes into his answers. He clearly wants Chinese good will. South Korea is not willing to stop Covid-19. This interviewer asks no tough questions.

    24

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Good grief..THe professor talks science and you come back with polly B/S !
      Utter nonsense !

      31

      • #
        Mark Smith

        It is not science to say that China got its infection in December and say they informed WHO on 31st Dec- missing all the scientific cover up and later totally ignoring all the current cover up.

        20

    • #

      What Mark says may be true regarding Chinese good will. How free are any academics to speak in Korea? I don’t know…

      30

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Mark Smith . . Stop playing politics and go make a mask !!
      Simple really . . .
      GeoffW

      10

    • #
      hillbilly33

      Mark. You make a lot of assumptions when you say “A lot political nonsense goes into his answers. He clearly wants Chinese good will. South Korea is not willing to stop Covid-19. This interviewer asks no tough questions.”

      Whilst you are entitled to think that, it is only your opinion.

      It may help you get a better context if you go to Michael Smith News and find out more about the two Australians in their yacht currently cruising to various spots, who sent the tip to him and their reasons for doing so.

      My own comment on the matter was as follows.

      “A grateful thank you to Garry, Wendy and Michael. How refreshing to hear a calm measured expert with everything at his fingertips, impressively interviewed by a non-interrupting professional journalist/reporter. “Our” ABC and other MSM hacks could learn some valuable lessons but it is highly unlikely they will!

      It was a real eye-opener.”

      I saw the interview as being primarily to disseminate information to help others understand more about the virus and in the process explain the scientific reasons why certain containment measures had been implemented in South Korea.

      IMHO, the Korean doctor did it admirably.

      10

  • #
    David A

    Masks help, we all know that now. We should dismantle organizations that lie. The lie is because the medical staff are very short masks.
    So in their arrogant hubris, they say masks are not needed for the general public. So wrong. Be truthful, like saying ” Our health care workers are sick and dying, please make your own masks if you must go out, because we screwed up and did not publically press for more masks for potential pandemics.

    Please consider reading this link for information on another kind of mask, the masking of the likely source of this virus, which is the Wuhan lab. ( Ignore the title, but read the very well sourced history of China’s research on SARS, Coronaviruses, and human transmissions via Ace 2 receptors, as China clearly DEMONSTRATED this in the lab, quite likely for defensive reasons.) IMV a must read…
    https://harvardtothebighouse.com/2020/01/31/logistical-and-technical-analysis-of-the-origins-of-the-wuhan-coronavirus-2019-ncov/

    50

  • #
    Lance

    Johnson & Johnson announce Sept 2020 clinical trials, estimate vaccine availability early 2021.

    Commits 1 billion doses to be made available.

    https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-announces-a-lead-vaccine-candidate-for-covid-19-landmark-new-partnership-with-u-s-department-of-health-human-services-and-commitment-to-supply-one-billion-vaccines-worldwide-for-emergency-pandemic-use

    Hoping things work well and everyone safely makes it to the release date.

    50

  • #

    OK. Request added to the post for people who can supply home made masks for readers interested in buying them.

    h/t to Bill as well. I did search for the link, but forgot it was a Chiefio one.

    40

  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    Thanks Jo for putting up this potentially life saving video from the Korean professor.
    The most informative piece of information to date on the Corona subject and from an highly intelligent and modest man. We should have been listening to him from the beginning of this year.
    GeoffW

    40

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Yes Geof, ‘Intelligent & modest”
      To which I would add ‘hard working and NOT political at all….

      30

  • #
    Konrad

    The FDA in the US has apparently approved the use of a machine that can quickly sterilize masks for reuse. I think this is for the more robust N95 masks, not the doctor sneeze masks.

    I’m just misting mine with alcohol inside and out (avoiding the elastic) and rebagging after use. I built a solar UV box, but that is weather dependant.

    I think the main effective function of masks is keeping fingers away from nose and mouth.

    50

  • #
    Bushkid

    No doubt I’m not the first to say this (short fo time to read the whole thread), but if masks weren’t effective, doctors wouldn’t wear them. Simple.

    40

  • #
    Randolph Of Roanoke

    I wanted a mask. But they asked for $15 for one mask and it wasn’t washable. Where can you get a large bunch of masks that are pretty comfortable? One doesn’t want to be anti-social? This may or may not be biowarfare. But is everyone clear now that its a bioweapon? Perhaps an accidentally escaped bioweapon but a bioweapon nonetheless. The evidence suggests, and this may be “low hanging fruit” that part of this bioweapon was sourced in Australia. A component comes out of North Carolina. And there is a story which associates Winnipeg with it as well. In all cases we see Chinese agents exerting influence over Western institutions. Who are by no means faultless. So the lesson is you can trade with Beijing but keep at arms length. The student market should be subjected to a sinking lid policy. The bioweapon side of this is dead easy to prove for people who are specialists in the field. But the specialists will be gagged. So go see what Francis Boyle has to say. Its deeply irresponsible to deny the bioweapon nature of this, since going on past understandings people are quite naturally underplaying the threat.

    00

  • #
    ren

    Brazil may become a great epidemic focus Covid-19.

    00

  • #
  • #
    Morphy

    Every nurse of spoken to says the loose paper masks you see everyday are not effective against the virus
    to protect against the virus you need a mask which seals against the skin with a silicone buffer add a filter pack

    The paper masks don’t seal against the skin which means when you breathe in you getting probably 20% of your air around the gaps in the mask and after time they get moist from when you breathe out)and the virus passes through the mask via the moisture

    Essentially they are effective for around 5 to 8 minutes and that’s it

    The paper mask you see people in Asian countries wearing a mainly for airborne particulates smog and Dust etc.
    Just because people use them in panic against a virus doesn’t mean it’s a good idea

    A lot of people here of falling for the same problem we see in the ACC believers… believing without checking

    00

    • #

      Read my masks posts.

      Studies of parents in Australia who wore even surgical low grade masks prevented two thirds of influenza spread.

      Just make a mask, or don’t leave home…

      00

  • #
    paul

    absolutely . A bit like a dog muzzle , once the dog has one the owner never has to worry about a law suit. A decent air filtration face masks with removable replaceable cleanable filters would be about $50 on a 20,000,000 purchase so about $1 billion …. CHEAP

    00