Covid-19 has changed our lives, maybe permanently. But most of what you hear about is the number of cases—and the number of deaths. We want to explore further. This is one of a series of articles we are writing that covers more than the basics. We already compared the current pandemic with the “American Flu” of 1918, and effects we may expect, including the “pandemic” of lawsuits we can expect.

This report is specifically about wearing masks.

MASKS COULD KILL COVID IN 4-8 WEEKS

According to Fox News, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said last Tuesday if all Americans wore a mask it could bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control in four to eight weeks. Trump’s surgeon general says growth could slow in as little as two weeks.

the data is clearly there, that masking works — whether it’s a face covering, whether it’s a simple surgical mask,” Redfield said. . . “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams also said the U.S. could slow new novel coronavirus infections in two to three weeks if everyone does their part by following CDC guidelines, including mask wearing and social distancing.

MASKS COULD SAVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES

And Fox continues, that means lives saved.

According to a widely-cited coronavirus pandemic model used by the White House, if almost everyone wears a mask in public over the next few months, tens of thousands of lives could be saved in the United States.

MASKS COULD ALSO SAVE THE ECONOMY

Meanwhile, we must consider the financial/economic implications of wearing masks, again, according to Goldman Sachs, as reported by Fox News. Along with an even rosier outlook—that the pandemic in America could be shut down in two to three weeks.

The Wall Street bank studied the link between COVID-19 infections and mask madates across the country. The study found that the mandate could prevent the need for lockdowns that could prevent a 5% GDP loss.

Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, wrote, “So just as we’ve seen cases skyrocket, we can turn this thing around in two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least six feet of social distancing, doing the things that we know are effective.”

Donald Trump disagrees.

“I don’t believe in that, no,” Trump answered. “And I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody would wear a mask, everything disappears.”

WHITE HOUSE WAR ON THE CDC

In fact, Trump has even taken the CDC out of the loop, instead having the White House in control of the information–directly. Well, not directly. Numbers will be crunched by Palantir, a private, profit-making external company that will “filter” the numbers, and duplicate what our tax dollars are already paying for—sent to Palantir owners.

Health experts worry that the move could make data — such as infection rates and trends — less transparent. By presenting all information to the Trump administration to filter through the public, experts say that we are running the risk of putting a political spin on coronavirus cases, particularly at a time when White House representatives are urging for reopenings and downplaying the death toll in America.

As part of that effort, the CDC site was temporarily shut down.

Hospitals have been ordered to send all COVID-19 patient information to a central database in Washington instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Trump administration made the order that starts Wednesday, according to a Health and Human Services document updated July 10. . .

The disappearance of the site takes away a useful metric of the pandemic for health care workers – changes in the number of hospital beds tells public health officials how close they are to being unable to accept new patients.

CASES HAVE SPIKED WHERE RULES HAVE RELAXED

The article also points out that we’re losing a lot of lives while we debate whether it makes sense to protect ourselves—and others—from the virus.

A USA TODAY study found almost half of all states are spiking at a faster rate than they had been in the spring. In Texas, officials once again reported a daily record-breaking number of 10,745 new cases on Tuesday. The previous record was 10,351 on Saturday.

MANY HAVE DIED FOR LACK OF A MASK

It’s not funny. We’ve had many cases of people bragging about not wearing a mask. And then we hear that they died. The latest was Richard Rose of Ohio.

Richard Rose III, an Army veteran who spent nine years in the United States Army according to his obituary, died on July 4. He was 37.

Rose’s death gained notoriety on social media after expressing that he was “not buying a (expletive) mask” less than three months before his death.

“I’ve made it this far by not buying into that damn hype,” he said in a post published April 28.

Rose didn’t think he had to worry, since he was young, but of course, even if he were not to get symptoms, he could have spread it to all the people around him. A friend remembers him.

“Rick was like a lot of my friends, and didn’t feel the need to wear a mask because he was young and healthy,” Conley wrote in the post, shared three days after Rose’s death. . .

Conley closed his Facebook post with a warning: “Please know that this virus is real. Just because you don’t personally know someone affected yet doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

This reminds me of Ernest Hemmingway’s book, and the quote upon which it is built, referring to a church bell, announcing another death.

[In] a sermon by John Donne, Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The line also suggests that we all will die: the bell will toll for each one of us.

It tolls for thee.