The phrase, “duck and cover,” became a common household term in the 1950s due to a national awareness campaign promulgated by the Federal Civil Defense Administration to educate the public on what to do in the case of an atomic bomb dropping in the neighborhood.
When the Soviets first tested an atomic bomb in 1949, the world was caught off-guard as the government believed the Soviets were years from developing a bomb. By 1950, President Truman formed the Federal Civil Defense Administration. While a part of protecting the population was fallout shelters, the budget didn’t go very far. The federal government had to do something to calm Americans.
What’s the next best thing to concrete and steel? A public relations campaign bought by tax dollars. Well, and the development of the “Blue Book” which was the cornerstone of civil defense measures for 40 years. National Atomic Testing Museum
One of the most recognizable campaigns developed by the government was, “Duck and Cover” featuring Bert the Turtle teaching children to seek the cover of desks in case of an atomic detonation.
Fall out shelters in basements in commercial buildings were built, and some were stocked with food and water, but they would have held the tiniest percent of the population. Some people built their own shelter, a little like today’s tornado shelter. But by the 1970s, people were used to the fact that a nuclear explosion (no longer an atomic bomb) could be in the future.
If you haven’t seen Bert the Turtle, you really should take a gander. There’s even a happy little song that goes along with the “duck and cover” message. The short film about being prepared shows children in a classroom taking cover. A demonstration of the warning siren is also part of the message. Duck and Cover Film
We’ve come a long way since 1950. Right? None of us today believe “duck and cover” would work against either an atomic bomb or a “nuclear device.”
However, for the past 18 months we have been told that masks prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, despite the studies to the contrary, and the spread of the disease despite both masks and social distancing. While N95 masks provide some protection, the cloth and fabric masks are porous and don’t seal against the face.
So why the push for masks? Maybe it’s the same reason the government pushed the “duck and cover” campaign. There’s really not anything a citizen can do to be safe from an atomic or nuclear explosion, but we don’t want mass panic. Perhaps stopping the spread of a virus and keeping it from replicating is a task much larger than masking can handle. The mask, while ineffective in the control of the virus, allows people to feel as if they have some control over their destiny.
Today, instead of “duck and cover” we have “mask for cover.” I have read articles and studies on masks until my eyes are rolling. Instead of completely boring you by citing study after study that prove masks are ineffective, I rely on an American Institute for Economic Research article by Paul E. Alexander, MSc PhD with contributions from five well-qualified doctors. AIER’s Review of Masking
The article is well worth a read, as it’s littered with references to studies. Just a few samples supporting the conclusion that masks are ineffective are summarized below:
- CDC study reported more than 80% of COVID-19 cases were in people who always or often wore masks.
- When masks are damp, like after wearing for 20 minutes inside or one minute on a hot summer day, they do not work according to the Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Sydney.
- CDC reviewed seven studies about the use of disposable masks on the spread of influenza-like illnesses to determine that the mask had no significant effect on stopping the spread of disease.
- University of Oxford reported after 20 years of preparing for pandemics the evidence shows masks alone do not interrupt the spread of influenza.
The doctors remind us that “Persons who have been infected and experienced Covid, are not required to wear any facial coverings. . . . No facial covering/masking is needed when in ventilated, open air surroundings; the risk for becoming infected with SARS CoV-2 is extremely small to non-existent. . . .
Children must be allowed to interface with their natural environments (environments in general) so that their immune systems remain constantly taxed and ‘tuned up’ and is optimal for immune system development as well as their cognitive development, particularly in children with special needs such as autism.” AIER’s Review of Masking
Medieval Superstition? . . . Yinon Weiss, who is a U.S. military veteran, and who holds a degree in bioengineering from U.C. Berkeley, . . . remind[s] us how masks constrain our return to a more normal life. . . . Masking drives fear in the population and a perennial sense of ‘illness’ that is crippling. . . . ‘Our universal use of unscientific face coverings is therefore closer to medieval superstition than it is to science, but many powerful institutions have too much political capital invested in the mask narrative at this point, so the dogma is perpetuated.’” AIER’s Review of Masking
Review the Science. Ditch the Cover. More and more Americans are standing up against masks in schools. Perhaps it’s time to review the science and ditch the cover. It took 20 years before we gave up the duck and cover ghost completely. Are you prepared to wear a mask for the next 20 years?
And, for you employers requiring masks, what signal are you sending to your employees? Employees do not generally appreciate arbitrary rules. Before continuing or reimplementing mask mandates, read the AIEA article.