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Attorney general is down with making people mask up

Attorney General Maura Healey says there's nothing legally wrong with communities ordering people to wear masks in public as an anti-coronavirus effort.

In response to a tweet from somebody who says that, no matter what health and elected officials in Cambridge and Somerville say, there is no proof masks work and how dare they threaten people with $300 fines, the state's top law-enforcement official replied:

Hi Bob, yes, a municipality can make wearing masks mandatory. They can also encourage people to wear face coverings in public on an advisory basis. It is up to the municipality to do what is reasonable to protect their residents. Thanks for your question & stay safe.

Both Gov. Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have urged people to put masks on while in public places - Walsh this week said even joggers and bicyclists should wear them - but have not made face covering mandatory.

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Comments

...that the towns refusing to turn on water in vacation homes is also legal? There's been no end of screeching there about it. Whole lot of armchair lawyers shouting MUH RIGHTS and THAT'S ILLEGAL, with nothing to back those claims up...

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Once the Town of Salisbury finds out that the strip club, fried dough, and arcade revenues are tanking, thereby lessening the "benefits" to the town fathers, you may see a change of heart.

Just remember, Salisbury and Seabrook were the reported basis for Lil Abner since Al Capp summered in a nearby town. Things don't change much.

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The town can’t have it both ways. If they won’t turn on the water, then surely the assessed valuation needs to be reduced to reflect that the property is unusable.

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What's the definition of a vacation home?

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Is because *wearing* a mask doesn't help you, it helps other people, and helping people is anathema to the modern GOP. What if they wore a mask and it helped a brown person? What if that helpfulness extended to someone who was undocumented?

They hate the idea that we live in a society.

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Voting closed 49

I think the fines are regressive, and hassling sufficiently distant people to wear a mask is a nuisance ... however, these anti-mask civil rights crusaders are really something else. Of all the things in the world, why is *this* the one you feel the need to make a Twitter account and tweet at the AG about?

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Out in exurbia, the people who can only dream of being in that crowd in Lansing yesterday already have it out for our AG. This vague statement on masks might swing some people away from her. I like her but let's gets some clarity.

There is a strong element of common sense with masks lately but a lot of people are seeing overreach going on right now, especially in the smaller towns in the state. What is good for Camberville may not be applicable to Hubbardston, even though yes, biology knows no borders, the density is not the same, nor are the living conditions.

This weekend, with the weather actually approaching mid-April warmth, you may see a little jacquerie here and there with small town cops on their upcycle trying to enforce distancing rules as they see it by keeping a few hundred people off of a three mile long beach.

Also, let us pray for the 911 / 311 people who have to field the calls from the Karens of the world informing us that they think they see a family of four by themselves not wearing their masks at an isolated part of a park.

It would be nice for the AG to issue an actual legal document or cite a precedent saying that mask rules can be enforced over advised. Opinions like mine are just an opinion, issuances on legal clarity by the state's top cop over what is kinda legal would be more helpful. If not, this could come back to haunt her in the future.

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The AG has my vote for governor.

Once the COVID-19 data settles and deaths are correlated with political response, mask usage and social distancing, the nay-sayers and slackers will be exposed.

You might read up on the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 for deaths in cities that imposed social restraints and those that did not.

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What's that? I have never heard of that. Wow. Thanks Anon.

Maybe I should read up on that Anon.

Is Anon a family name since we seem to be on a name to name basis? Good luck to you.

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"What is good for Camberville may not be applicable to Hubbardston"

Fair point, and I think that's why she's just saying that the orders are legal- it's up to the individual city/etc governments to decide whether to issue them or not.

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A Central MA WalMart shut down due to COVID-19 epidemic - 23 employees spreading the joy and counting.

Can't think of a less urban place to exchange virus ... even if exurbanites think their rural purity will save them, SARS-CoV-2 don't give a shit.

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I assume you're talking about the Walmart in Worcester? Because that's pretty urban.

Urban does not mean "Boston and Cambridge".

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Your comment not knowing that the Wal-Mart in Worcester sits in an area with the surrounding neighborhood density similar to Revere meets Saugus shows you are commenting for the sake of commenting.

Try again. If what you said is a Newsflash, then you have the journalistic credibility of OAN.

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What is the second largest city in New England?

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You really need to get out of Boston and its inner suburbs more often

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Besides your Worcester mistake, there are a lot of towns in Massachusetts which are way too small to have a Walmart. Like Hubbardston.

I suppose it's possible for a small town general store's staff to get infected, but it would be a much smaller deal.

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Thank you, Maura Healey.

Thank you, Mayor Curtatone.

Thank you, Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.

Mayor Walsh, please step up and follow Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville's lead.

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if people can maintain safe distance from others and they want a little fresh air after six weeks of being cooped up at home, let them breathe a little fresh air without sending the fuzz after them?

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So bizarre that some people think that they are Mike Pence and are therefore immune to the coronavirus. Don't be a Mike Pence! Wear a mask.

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YOUR fear does not warrant a change in MY behavior.
I will not wear a mask, because I am healthy and am not sick.
I can't give what I don't have. If you are afraid, you deal with that your own way.
And I am a liberal forever; not interested in politics, just a self-actualized responsibility for myself. Breathing is not a crime, and all the force-maskers are totally hysterical with an expertly-triggered emotional response.

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How do you know you don't have the virus? Ate you a Macho Man Vice President who is getting tests scores of times a day to ensure you haven't been exposed?

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I will not wear a mask, because I am healthy and am not sick.
I can't give what I don't have.

How the hell do you know that?

Surely you know of the large number of studies that show that people with the disease are shedding a lot of virus during the couple of days just before they start to show symptoms.

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Obv. the only way we can get people to wear masks is to catch them in the act. We should put cameras all around places where people congregate - especially at beaches - and keep track. I think there's face recognition software we could use already available.

Send them fines and if they keep it up, jail.

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AG cites no authority for this affirmation that municipalities can force people to wear masks. I doubt there is any. There is zero evidence of transmission outdoors and it's impossible to prove. So, there is no evidence-based "safety" argument to subvert the First Amendment.

A $300 fine will prompt someone to challenge the law. It's stupid, unnecessary, and government overreach to tell people they need to wear a mask walking down the street and to fine them if they don't. Masks inside, fine. I doubt people will complain. Walking down the street on a nice day to get fresh air? GTFO. The virus isn't flying around in the outdoor air like the boogeyman.

Consider the odds - I could exhale 1, 2, even 3 breaths as a I walk or run by someone... what are the odds that each breath has droplets having enough viruses to cause an infection... and the odds that the droplets don't fall to the ground or get blown by the wind.. and the odds that someone inhales a sufficient viral load... and that viral load gets to their respiratory tract... I mean, come on. *Maybe* theoretically possible, but ridiculously small odds. Just don't walk close to people. Very different situation from sitting at a table or desk next to someone for an hour.

Cue the Dumb and Dumber crowd... "so you're saying there's a chance..."

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"There is zero evidence of transmission outdoors and it's impossible to prove." Not so fast, there, cowboy:

"The question, then, isn’t whether the coronavirus is “airborne” in the tediously academic way the word has been defined. As the journalist Roxanne Khamsi puts it, the virus is “definitely borne by air.” The better questions are: How far does the virus move? And is it stable and concentrated enough at the end of its journey to harm someone’s health?"

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-...

"The virus isn't flying around in the outdoor air like the boogeyman."

"The question, then, isn’t whether the coronavirus is “airborne” in the tediously academic way the word has been defined. As the journalist Roxanne Khamsi puts it, the virus is “definitely borne by air.” The better questions are: How far does the virus move? And is it stable and concentrated enough at the end of its journey to harm someone’s health?"

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-...

"I mean, come on. *Maybe* theoretically possible, but ridiculously small odds. Just don't walk close to people. Very different situation from sitting at a table or desk next to someone for an hour."

Here is the thing for all you budding infectious disease experts. What I understand of this virus and what I only care about is that 1) it spreads very easily and 2) it can kill you. I, personally, don't want to play theoretic theory games and/or what is my odd of dying with my life or another life. And as I can't control other people and I can only control my own actions, I will wear a mask outside.

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You should probably just stay home if that's your approach. I mean, you could also get hit by a bus, or lightning, or have a tree limb fall on you if you go outside.

That article actually makes it pretty clear that outdoors is safe if you're not congregating with people.

"To be clear, every expert I spoke with for this piece told me that it’s still mostly safe to spend time outdoors...Distance and ventilation matter, and outdoor spaces offer plenty of both."

"Even if coronavirus particles can move through the air, they would still diffuse over distance. “People envision these clouds of viruses roaming through the streets coming after them, but the risk of [infection] is higher if you’re closer to the source,” says Linsey Marr, who studies airborne disease transmission at Virginia Tech. “The outside is great as long as you’re not in a crowded park.”"

That's my point. Masks for every second you're outside or on a solo run or bike ride are stupid.

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It's sad that such a little ask is such an issue for people. Really, honestly tell me how much of an inconvenience is it to just wear a mask when you go out?

Even if we say it only prevents 0.01% of infections and only 1 person will live because we're all wearing a mask. Nobody is asking you to donate a kidney. They're even giving out masks for free.

It's literally asking you to do the absolute bare minimum to be a good person who's considerate of other people. Because what you're really saying is "I'd rather someone die than me be midly inconvienced." which makes you a bad citizen, a worse neighbor and a shitty human.

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It's likely because the CDC official recommendation is that masks only need to be worn "where social distancing is not possible such as grocery stores and pharmacies". Multiple studies have suggested wearing a mask while exercising puts you MORE at risk because the mask will end up wet rendering it obsolete, and catching more airborne germs.

Wearing a mask while shopping, etc. indoors, fine, no problem. From all credible sources, not necessary for simply being outdoors, no matter how many non-expert mayors/pols/uhub-commenters thing it is. This is also what Baker's order states (Mask when social distancing not possible).

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...wearing a mask while exercising puts you MORE at risk because the mask will end up wet rendering it obsolete, and catching more airborne germs.

Here is a NIOSH-funded study of various methods of sterilizing masks, including N95 masks. After applying one of the methods, the masks were tested for effectiveness. Some of the tests involve rinsing the masks with water (after using bleach on them), and this did not render them "obsolete." I am not an expert, but this leads me to take the "wet = ruined" assertions with a grain of salt.

One clear takeaway from the study is: don't microwave N95 masks, as that does ruin them. (Even if the metal nose strip doesn't heat up and set the mask on fire.)

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The original point was that fabric masks don’t work when they are wet from your breath, as they are prone to become when exercising/breathing heavily.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2411720/mask-while-running-coronavirus

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The comment made it sound like the mask was ruined forever by dampness, and the type of mask wasn't specified. Your link doesn't mention any "studies" supporting your claim that wearing a mask while running increases risk. It just quotes a few doctors who say sort of similar things. The only study even mentioned is one about something else, that the article takes pains to point out is disputed.

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