Follow the science? Anchorage COVID-19 positive rates are stunningly low as more tests administered - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Follow the science? Anchorage COVID-19 positive rates are stunningly low as more tests administered

CHARTS YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN MAY SURPRISE YOU

Anchorage, as with all of Alaska, has had great success in keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay.

As expected, the state is seeing rising numbers of cases across Alaska as the summer season led to an opening of the economy and particularly with an influx of seafood workers.

But according to a new chart, the successes are striking. As the number of tests go up, the actual rate of positive tests is declining in Anchorage.

Early in the pandemic, the rate of positives was over 2.6 percent. But today, the rate of positives is down to 1.16 percent as more people are tested in Alaska’s largest city.

Alaska right now has the second-lowest total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, with Montana as the state with the lowest. As of Saturday, 333 Alaskans are known to currently have the virus in a state with a population of 730,000. That is 0.045 out of every 100 Alaskans.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, throughout the pandemic, repeated that he would follow the science in his decisions about shutting down or opening the economy of Alaska’s largest city.

Earlier last week he told the Anchorage Assembly that he had a mask mandate ready to go, and on Friday, he said that people in Anchorage were flouting the mask recommendations. He enacted his emergency order.

On Monday, June 29, nearly everyone in the municipality will need to have a face mask covering their airways if they are in a public building or facility with other people. Exemptions include under two-year-olds and those with accepted medical conditions.

The actual number of cases of COVID-19 has risen in Anchorage since May, as shown in the chart above. It was expected as the hunker-down order was lifted.

But the chart below shows the ratio of positives to all tests conducted in the municipality is nearly half of what it was in the spring, as testing increases and restrictions on those who can get tested are loosened.

When Mayor Berkowitz “opened” Anchorage’s economy, the rate of positives was 2.30 (per 100 tests completed). He said that his goal is to “flatten the curve,” and he has expressed grave concerns about hospital capacity.

It appears the curve of cases is actually flat and dropping as a percentage pf tests conducted, but there isn’t a scientific measure that says what “flat” really means to the Anchorage mayor.

Today, there are 11 people in Alaska hospitals who have COVID-19, and just one is on a ventilator, indicating that the person is having serious trouble breathing.

There have been no additional hospitalizations since June 18 — a 10-day period when no COVID-19 patients were admitted to an Alaska hospital:

As for hospital capacity, 822 beds are available in the state, mostly in Anchorage, 113 of the 198 intensive care beds are available, and 320 ventilators are available.

Coronavirus cases world-wide have now exceeded 10 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, and deaths from the virus is close to half a million. Cases across the country are surging, and some states and localities have reversed their steps on reopening their economies.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Good report, Suzanne. We are bound to see more cases as the airports see tourist arrivals. They are coming in small numbers, but they are coming. This is where the danger lies. Testing at the airports and some quarantine protocols should be followed. More testing will always reveal more cases. But thanks, Suzanne, for tuning down the alarm bells.

    • Like global warming but so much more up close and personal…
      .
      After being told months ago that government officials will distort China-flu reporting statistics, after learning every China flu “model” was wrong, after watching our freedoms and economy wrecked by unelected China flu czars,
      .
      …well-meaning folks still buy “science” that testing, for what and by whom unknown, should be “followed”.
      .
      Next must be “protocols” every fall when the ROF (regular ole flu) hits,
      .
      mandatory testing cards, maybe little triangles for outside clothing, to show law enforcement officials who must be (fill in the blank), yes?
      .
      Wonder where our healthcare-government racket was during AIDS, Ebola, ROF, SARS, polio, MERS, and all the rest of them viral cataclysms?
      .
      Think consistency here, guy has AIDS, he has to tolerate such hysteria directed toward him just because he’s got AIDS?
      .
      And here’s to Alaska, rated by the CDC numero uno in the USA for tuberculosis (tuberculosis.cdc.gov/tb/statistics/default).
      .
      But no TB hysteria, tho TB’s nasty stuff… seems like everybody in Alaska oughtta be fined, jailed for not wearing masks, hiding in basements, worshipping Protocols to protect themselves and others from TB, yes?
      .
      Of course the “pandemic” won’t (be allowed to) end, not if its proponents can successfully parlay it into a twenty-first century Cultural Revolution here and abroad, replace elected representatives with unelected rulers propagandized by mainstream news media long since devoid of credibility among most folks with an IQ above room temperature.
      .
      Watch, for example, this chart to be offered as proof local “mandates” must be extended –and expanded– indefinitely, if Dear Leader(s) choose
      .
      while productive residents are distracted by stolen statues and copulating bums.
      .
      No epidemiologist here, one model does suggest a precipitous China flu decline based on evidence indicating the “pandemic” may simply be a primitive symbiosis of “panic” and “democratic” evolving inevitably toward ideological apoptosis on November 4,
      .
      after President Trump is re-elected.
      .
      God help us if that model’s wrong.

      • Trump will win in a landslide. Bigger margin that against Killery.

      • Nicely said, Morrigan.

        • Isn’t it a pleasure to read the work of a good writer?

      • I agree wholeheartedly! Excellent!

  • I doubt that very many people in the MOA will start wearing masks who weren’t already wearing masks, to conform to the mayor’s order. I don’t know anyone who has any respect for the “Little Big Man”!

    • I refer to him as “Napoleon” Berkowitz.

  • Typical drivel from a puppet of the DNC. Hope he renewed his membership in the brown shirts. Maybe now he’s positioned himself above toilet cleaner.

  • When you don’t wear a mask you are essentially saying screw you, you don’t matter to me. That makes me angry because I care enough about you to wear one. The numbers would most certainly had been much higher if nothing had closed down even with Alaska’s punny numbers per capita sq miles.

    • That’s like saying,
      “If YOU don’t get YOUR vaccine, then MY vaccine won’t protect ME.”

      • Not at all. That would be ignorant to say. Wearing a mask doesn’t protect the wearer. It protects everyone else from catching it from the wearer. I hope I cleared that up for you.

      • And actually, not getting vaccinated does endanger vaccinated people around you. Take measles for example. If bunch of people don’t vaccinate against measles, and a cluster of cases develops, then the disease can gain a foothold and mutate, and at that point even vaccinated folks are at risk. So yeah, it’s not all about you,

        • Precisely why vaccines against viruses are not effective – viruses continue to mutate. If it were not so, the common cold would have been extinct long ago.

          • Vaccines are very effective against viruses – measles, mumps, polio, … The “common cold” is caused by over 200 different viruses.

    • When I don’t wear a mask I am essentially saying the mask mandate is a farce. It is no kindness to promote a lie, even if it makes some people feel “safe.” I would rather encourage people to discover the truth, even if it means they have to admit they have been hoodwinked.
      It makes no sense to think that viruses will only pass through cloth in one direction. If it doesn’t protect you, it’s not going to protect me and vice cersa. My consideration for the health of those around me – as a way of life, long before this new flu – is that I wash may hands, I cover my coughs, sneezes and yawns, and I stay home when I’m sick… just like we all should have been doing all along.
      In spite of a spate of new “studies” trying desperately to convince people to willingly become faceless cogs, even the WHO admits that “At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID-19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.” That’s from their “Advice on the Use of Masks in the context of COVID-19” published 5 June 2020.

      • precisely – well said.

    • Greg, do an experiment next time you’re near a Starbucks, order your drink at the drive-thru, then watch how many times the kid fiddles with his mask around his nose before he places his paws on your latte lid. It’s shocking to witness.

      Imagine what you’d think watching someone playing with a heavily used sodden handkerchief every twenty seconds as they handle your food or goods. This mask handling pantomime is harmful rather than helpful.

      FYI, even medical professions often fail proper mask donning miserably.

    • Healthy people do not wear masks.

      • Is that in the bible, right next to where Jesus prioritizes gun ownership over the lives of kids in schools? And pastors buying fancy cars instead of feeding the poor and hungry?

        • The Kool-Aid is strong with this one. What’s your favorite flavor, sour grape?

        • Maybe you could try contributing to the conversation instead of applying over-simplified stereotypes in an attempt to negate a group of people that might hold a different view than you?

      • Given the albeit slim potential one can carry and transmit Covid 19 without knowing it, one cannot know for sure if they are actually healthy. Ridiculous mandate aside, simply using a mask in tight populated quarters where ‘distancing’ is impossible, is considerate.

        • Liz, that is how it spreads. People aren’t spreading it by French kissing a hacking old nasty infected person.

      • How is that determined? They can be sick with rotting lungs and not know it. I saw that AK had an all time high of infections today.

    • I disagree and refused to be shamed into wearing one. I’ve read several articles stating that they don’t work. Media hemorrhages fear based hysteria to “whip” you into wearing them. The following is a thorough article.

      rcreader.com/commentary/masks-dont-work-covid-a-review-of-science-relevant-to-covide-19-social-policy

      • If you are only reading what you want to read that is what you will find. Also what is the date written of what you are reading? Do you cover your mouth when you cough? Your nose when you sneeze? Why?

        A mask is performing the same function. It stops droplets that could contain the virus from entering the air. That is how most respiratory viruses, such as corona type viruses including Covid 19, are spread. In close quarters you are protecting others, and if they are wearing a mask they are protecting you.

        • I understand what you are saying. I have read several articles, not just one, that validates masks don’t work, as I’m sure you have read all the hype regarding covid19. Now there’s a possible swine flu from China that could be a pandemic. I guess we should just live the rest of our lives with masks on. I personally have asthma and can’t wear a mask. I suppose I will get glaring looks and be verbally chastised. This has gotten ridiculously blown out of proportion. As one man stated, TB is high in Alaska, but nothing is done about that.

        • I always wondered how I caught a cold.

  • Science, true numbers, facts and studies mean nothing when it comes to the socialist democrat agenda. Facts are ignored by them, twisted into some outlandish “news flash” or, if negative, blamed on our Governor, President and all supporters, with “advice” to dem/socialists to induce, abet and perform acts of violence against all, if they happen to disagree with the sedition, treachery, demand for ‘reparation’ and domination over all disagreeing Americans. Maybe even call the U.N. for foreign troops to help quell the insurrectionists who stand for America, with all the freedoms, liberties and rights endowed to each American by America’s founders and our Constitution. Events are rapidly escalating across America that are against the principles of the Constitution and rights afforded each and every American by that document, written and agreed to, by Americans, for Americans, shortly after America’s founding. The “Declaration of Independence” declared us free. The “Constitution” guarantees it with explicit instructions on maintaining equality and justice for all. The Republican party wasn’t in existence until the 1850’s, with Lincoln being the first Republican President of America. The Republican Party, formed shortly before the civil war, was mainly made up of Americans against slavery, extreme segregation and inequality for all (except those who were rich, slave owning democrats). The civil war exploded with southern secessionists, democrats all, deciding they wanted to keep their slaves and other ‘democrat’ supposed ‘rights’, instead of Constitutional rights that demanded ‘all people be equal’ . There followed the most costly war in American history. 750,000 American soldiers died fighting the civil war, the southern democrats being opposed to ‘liberty for all, as stated in the Constitution. Now, democrat socialist, antifa, blm and assorted ‘organizations of hate’, are holding sway over destroying American history with “wokeness/racism”, and that racism isn’t against black people. They are attempting to destroy everything America stands for or has stood for during the last 244 or so years.
    Americans are being assaulted for wearing the wrong piece of apparel, saying the wrong word, believing in God. What comes next if we don’t stand up for ourselves?
    That ‘important’ day may come before November. Time will tell.

    • All you nutters just itchin’ for another civil war .

      • Naw, just blowhards with an AR.

      • Not itchin’ for it. Just honest with myself seeing it coming, and ready to get it over with.

    • So when will you and your militia meet down at the Cook statue? More blowhard unless you are really serious.in that case, good luck.

    • Watch the vid on yootoob “Covid911 – INSURGENCY” by Joe M

      “In 2015, as directed by the globalist criminal corruption network known as the Deep State, President Barack Obama authorized millions in funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the location now understood to be the epicenter of the Covid19 outbreak.

      “With their base of operations in the Democrat establishment, the Deep State shadow corporation embarked on a coordinated irregular warfare insurgency, with multiple aims, all under the cover of a global pandemic they themselves manufactured for this purpose.

      “You’re being scammed by enemies of America who occupy powerful positions in government and the media. November 2020 is the way we, the people, can fight back. Know your enemy. Ditch the masks. Rise.”

      • You can always tell who is watching Fox news, they just barf up what they’ve seen on Hannity.

        • Great triggers: ‘Fox news’ and ‘Hannity’… surprised you left out ‘racist’

        • 5000 today in Florida. The good news is most won’t die. The bad need is their lungs are FUBAR for life.

        • No, Tucker is the man.

      • I have seen the conspiracy theory you are referring to and the information being presented is not accurate. The connection to the Wuhan lab on the part of the US is far different and too detailed to try and explain in a comment. It is unfortunate that the version you are referring to has gained any traction given the relative ease in disproving it.

      • You used to be a televangelist didn’t you. Rise my sheeple, toss out the hate. Now give me your love offering as we pass the plate.

  • Little Ethan would not know science if it smacked him in the face.

    • Actually there are been 11 new hospitalization and 2 new deaths since the 18th. Facts matter right?

        • Alaska’s isolated little corner in the world really does matter in the big picture. It hardly even shows up. When you are where 10000 people a day are getting infected, it opens your eyes.

        • In the article SD Said: “There have been no additional hospitalizations since June 18 — a 10-day period when no COVID-19 patients were admitted to an Alaska hospital:” [per state data] Note the “10-day period” which would go through 28th not 22nd. The data for the 28th will be reported tomorrow. For the 9 day period ” since June 18, 6/19 – 6/27 DHSS reported 4 new Alaskans hospitalized and 2 new deaths. They may update/change any of the reported data at anytime, IME. I have downloaded same each day since early June, transferred to my own Excel spreadsheet and find they often revise past data.
          Anchorage Muni, with about 39% of the state population, has had 47% (411), of the cases; 43% (6) of the deaths. 43% (178) are active and 55% (227) have recovered. 8% (33) are hospitalized. There are at least 178, maybe as many as 372 “carriers” not in hospitals there. AFAIK no one knows how long after testing negative one might shed virus particles.

        • The state data is demonstrably wrong. The state is recording deaths that occurred out of state as in state deaths, this is against CDC guidelines for recording deaths. There have only been 10 in state deaths related to Covid.

        • I love how people try to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19. We have a lot of hospital beds open, we have ventilators, not many deaths, it’s not as bad as people say, I don’t want to wear a face mask.
          Get real!! It is bad. And it’s gonna get worse

          • More people have died on the Seward Highway this month than have died from C-19.

            Shall we close the Seward Highway?

          • You are correct. You can’t help people that don’t want it. Let em die knowing that you tried.

      • Those two out of state deaths that count against us are two people are care facilities and haven’t been here in years.

  • The only science the Demon Mayor Berkowitz knows, is
    “The little Man syndrome”

  • Florida is winning the fight. We are down to 8500 new cases today. It’s too hot to riot so everyone is staying home.

    • Ok I am for almost anything that will stop the rioting…..😆😆. C-19 silver lining?

  • Thank you, Suzanne Downing, for putting these numbers out there for all to see. I am so tired of the scare tactics of other “news” outlets parroting the “surge” of cases without any context especially regarding testing rates and hospitalizations. That’s a fantastic graph you published (Positive Test Trend). I do wish you would cite your source for the graphic, so we could all keep track of the reality versus the mainstream media mythology.
    Some of us have said all along that more cases with extremely few hospitalizations and deaths may actually be good news, indicating a greater proportion of the population has achieved immunity. As it turns out, it is so mild in most cases that many people have had it and never even would have known without being tested. In fact many of us are pretty sure we had it last winter. Treat it like the flu and protect folks with immune challenges – and improve your own immune system with better diet and activity! That would go a LOT farther than wearing a doily over your face.

    • Thanks for the belated history lesson. Also thanks for masking up to protect others.

    • MD said: “As it turns out, it is so mild in most cases that many people have had it and never even would have known without being tested.”

      Yes, but that is not good news. If one tests true positive via a nasal swab, s/he is likely shedding virus particle laden aerosols etc – and is therefore contagious.

      All the social distancing and protective measure plus testing, contact tracing and quarantining or retesting positives, retesting negatives lest they be false negative is the most efficient way expedite elimination of the virus from the population.

      • It is good news because it demonstrates that this virus is not fundamentally different than all the other respiratory viruses we’ve dealt with for decades. And like all other mildly- or highly-contagious respiratory viruses that are already endemic (e.g. colds, flu), there is no possibility of “elimination” from the population, efficiently or otherwise. So, contract tracing and mask mandates are invasions of privacy that have no justification.

        • Thank you for your perspective on the science.

          Your perspective on contact tracing etc is a legal opinion – probably to be confirmed or denied in the courts by-and-by. The case history does not appear encouraging for your side.

    • And how do you know that you’re not the next one to get a serious case of it?

      • I may get a serious case, but probably not, because although I am older, I take care of my immune system, and I don’t wear a mask which would interfere with my breathing and increase my own viral load of this and other viruses as well as harmful bacteria (thus endangering myself and others). I may also get a serious case of influenza, pneumonia, or other respiratory or non-respiratory diseases; or I may die in an auto accident because someone is driving while sleepy on the Glenn Hwy. But I do not demand that people wear surgical garb or stop driving their vehicles on the Glenn to protect me from these risks.
        The fact is that people get sick, injured and die. Every single one of us will die of something, and it’s insanity to stop living or instigate such overreaching control over people’s personal lives in an attempt to stop it.
        Absolutely, be considerate of those around you. It’s pathetic that people need to be taught this: wash your hands, cover your coughs/sneezes/yawns, stay home when you’re sick. If you’re really scared of this particular virus (which is probably understandable if you listen to the mainstream media), stay home. It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. – Tolkein

        • Wish I could get together with you for coffee or tea. You are my kind of physician.

          • Thank you, but I should clarify: I am not a physician. My doctorate is in the behavioral sciences. MD happens to be my initials! 🙂

  • Thank you for the DATA Overview of scientific evaluation and critical review. As alluded from the Data, that the actual intrusive numbers from COVID-19 is much smaller than projected by non-scientific community “leaders.” As more people are tested, which does not currently include antibodies, that we are seeing from the data much less intrusion. A significant data collection of the mortality rate has flattened. The intervention for COVID has been three fold: medicine, cleanliness / mindfulness, and empowering the immune system. It appears that all three are now in place and the COVID is becoming no different than a manageable virus. Let us now move forward in living, as with other manageable viruses!!!

  • Death rate has also declined significantly. Even with the past weeks of activities and far closer proximately than recommended, our rates are low. Covid-19 is essentially a cold. A cold with some danger but still a cold and transmits like one. Even despite the lack of immunity, standard precautions seem to be proving effective and improved treatments and knowledge a factor in the reduced death rate.

    With that said, there is no harm in extra precaution. No harm in sensitivity and courtesy to our neighbors whom may be a bit more anxious about contracting Covid 19 and/or may be at higher risk for complication. I am against mandates but putting on a mask to help protect one’s neighbor is not forfeiting your liberty. It is simply being considerate. Just as covering your mouth when you cough. If wearing a mask, which does make me claustrophobic, inside a business keeps me from giving Covid to someone, if by chance I am a-symptomatic, or it helps a business to stay open, I will wear a mask. And I don’t need government to make me do so and I refuse to make it political.

  • Well done Suzanne. It is about time the state made realtime hospital utilization data publicly available. Their new dashboard is fantastic, well done DHSS and Adam Crum for making it happen. Proud of you. Now let’s all follow the data. If this is about hospitalizations and deaths, we can all see where we are now. In a state of 800k people! So can we all relax? Go out, enjoy your summer, eat, drink and buy things. Travel! The sky is not falling. We have never followed daily case counts of any respiratory virus in history. If we treated the flu like this, people’s heads would explode in paralyzing fear as the case counts and hospital beds filled up; including in pediatrics, which CV19 all but spares.

    • Glad to see so many docs reading MRAK. It’s the politicians that are scaring us

      • ………..and “journalists”………..

    • Tell all that to Napoleon Berkowitz. He’s all about, “the sky is falling!”

  • Great success in these new numbers? NO. NO NO,!!!! I suspect that Little Ethan is compiling this fake data to make it look like he’s doing a good job fighting the virus. Because if Suzanne’s report is accurate it would mean that the mayor deserves some congratulations. I don’t care about the facts or the science, but I will never, ever give Berkowitz credit for anything. If it turns out that the numbers here really are low and the battle against covid is being fought effectively, I will salute our war president. I refuse to say anything positive about the mayor because then he will run for governor saying he whipped the Kung Flu. Bottom line for conservatives: don’t believe the “good” news, because it’s liberal fake news.

    • They’re not new numbers – and there is no evidence that masks have had much to do with the virus’s trajectory. In the absence of a controlled experiment, look at national data. Both Montana and South Dakota have more people in smaller areas than AK; neither had any mask requirements, their testing rates are essentially the same (both have 9% per capita test rate) and their per capita case rates are lower (MT = 0.0009) and higher (SD = 0.0075), respectively, than Alaska’s (0.0012). Sure, lots of other factors are at play, but those numbers certainly don’t support claims that masks did anything.
      What is obvious is that increased testing means increased case numbers. And like many have said before, pure case numbers are almost meaningless without hospitalization and death context. As the good Also an MD says, “If this is about hospitalizations and deaths, we can all see where we are now. In a state of 800k people! So can we all relax?”

      • Shouldn’t we be looking at the number of hospitalizations and ventilator hook-ups as an indicator of the seriousness of this disease in Alaska? Also, what age groups are those admitees to the ICU? And, number of deaths in AK. Thank you, docs.

        • A total of 10 instate COVID deaths (so far) in 2020 and 1 person currently on a ventilator compared to 2020 Flu / pneumonia deaths of over 32.

  • The media is hyping the virus scare to push the case for mail-in voting.

  • I appreciate you bringing the data front-and-center where it belongs. It should surprise no one that the number of cases increase as testing increases. We have know since this began that asymptomatic cases abound and that we weren’t catching them because we didn’t have the testing capacity to detect them.

    I enjoy reading your stuff. Thanks for what you do.

  • Thanks for the knowledgeable coverage of th pandemic here in alaska, Suzanne.

  • Mayor Berkowitz is “following the science” to the extent it is disseminated by the Leftist Center for American Progress and similar organizations. The goal posts are constantly being shifted. It is all about power and social control. The threats to Liberty are real.

  • I do not know where you got this chart with the X axis information just hash marks but it does NOT support what you think you are trying to support. Simply put, that testing over infections, in your chart, are moving in the opposite direction is meaningless. Why? Because every other chart shows infections in our state trending up, period. The two, testing and actual infections, are not causally related (unless you’re Bluto) It ONLY shows that one is going up and the other down relative to one another, that’s all. Statistics has never been, nor ever will be, science. Nice try at being newsy, however.

    • The “X” axis (horizontal) is dates. You may need to zoom to see it.

      Increased testing produces increased numbers of raw positives, yet the percentage is steadily dropping.

      That means the increased raw number of positives is merely an artifact of increased testing, NOT wildly rampant virus.

      • Well said. That’s not a subtle chart by any means. In rough terms that chart is showing increasing confidence in the measure of the virus’s distribution among the population.

        It’s also showing increasing population compliance with social distancing guidelines.

  • I am asking honestly and in hopes of a civil response as to why wearing a mask is seen as an affront to person freedom or liberty. The information in this article about testing, overall cases, and ratio of positives in testing is good information. How this is linked to the mandatory mask requirement is a little confusing. All the information about testing being true does not mean the danger or potential danger is not real. We have a whole host of laws and regulations we all follow to keep ourselves and others safe that we do not see as taking away our freedom. I am wondering if anyone can explain why wearing a mask is such a big deal and has become such a culture war.

    • If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the answer, and that is why it’s a culture war.

      • Lame response. Like….if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

      • By that logic no one should be asking any questions. It truly is an attempt to understand. It is not an attempt to shame, ridicule, or a passive attempt to make a point. I am hoping to make a small dent in alleviating the us vs. them line of thinking. By having civil discourse we can all better understand each other and have a better chance of coming to an agreement on the best way forward.

    • Some people do not understand freedom, liberty, or rights. Some people confuse freedom, liberty, and rights. Some people take their freedom, liberty, and rights for granted.
      .
      Wearing or not wearing a mask has nothing to do with freedom, liberty, or rights. Mandating the wearing of an article of clothing by the force of law…

    • First, what people do to protect themselves is a personal decision. Some want to wear goggles and gloves, some want to stay home, some want to wear masks, others want to focus on immune system health (which is probably the most effective preventative for all kinds of diseases). The point is that there are many different responses to contagious illness, and in America people enjoy the rights and responsibilities to make their own decisions about risk. Does this mean that you may do something to intentionally hurt someone? Of course not. Not wearing a mask is not intentionally hurting someone; but forcing someone to react to risk in a proscribed way is governmental overreach. There are other countries and cultures that do demand face coverings (for women, ostensibly for their own protection) and most Americans do not want to go there.
      Second, there is no good evidence that masks do anything at all to prevent viral transmission in the community (see the WHO’s latest guidance where they admit that specifically on page 6). The scientific evidence and discussion is very conflicting. Depending on who and what you read, not only are masks very inefficient or useless, but they can also result in the risk of harm to the wearer in a number of ways. Look up the 2015 randomized controlled study by MccIntyre, Seale, et al., for example. So for many of us, ordering us to wear a mask is actually demanding we do something harmful.
      Third, Americans are supposed to be ruled by laws enacted by duly elected representatives of the people governed. But the Anchorage mask order is an executive order decreed solely by the mayor, and not from the people’s representatives. In fact the Assembly failed to pass a mask mandate not just once but twice; and they could not even get the votes to put it on the table at the third attempt, which is when the mayor took matters into his own hands.
      Wearing a mask or not probably should not be such a big deal since it is a personal decision (although I believe mask wearing for covid is based on lies, which is why I try to educate people on the state of the science regarding both masks and covid). But *ordering* people to wear masks is very much a big deal. The mask issue has become a cultural and political war between those that believe government can regulate intimate details of our lives regardless of the consent of the governed, and those that believe Americans have the right to assess and act on risks as independent agents and have laws based on the will of the people.

    • By the way, Matt, I appreciate your honest question. It is refreshing to see that there are still truly open-minded people out there; none of us knows everything and it’s important for *all* of us to keep asking honest questions.
      That’s also why I applaud Suzanne Downing for running this kind of informative article!

      • I appreciate your thoughtful, detailed, and civil reply. I am seeing new information and am getting a better understanding of different perspectives as a result. Thank you

      • Some recent science on mask use and SARS-CoV-2 transmission:

        1. Lancet 2020/06/27 (Lancet 2020/06/27 thelancet.com) “Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection…”) a quote from: “Without a mask, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.4%. With an N95 respirator or face mask, that number
        drops to 3.1%.”

        2. CDC, Navy COVID-19 Study
        CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020/06/06 “SARS-CoV-2 Infections and serologic Responses from a Sample of U.S. Navy Members …- USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 2020
        (cdc.gov/mmwr) Quote from: “The Navy reported that out of a crew of about 4,800 sailors, 1,273 tested positive for the virus and 382 sailors participated in the study.
        “The results indicated that sailors who did not wear masks experienced an 80.8% infection rate, while those who used face coverings had a 55.8% infection rate. …”

        3. From the German iza.org June 2020: “Face Masks Considerably Reduce COVID-19 Cases in Germany: A Synthetic Control Method Approach
        A Quote:
        “[In] the German city of Jena …
        “After face masks were introduced on 6 April 2020, the number of new infections fell almost to zero,”

        Don’t expect science to produce all the answers immediately. It just doesn’t work that way.

  • Good piece. I’ll continue wearing a mask as I have since March 17th and refrain from shaming those who don’t.

    • Thanks RG. And please vote for Trump.

    • Thank you for caring about other people.

  • Excellent reporting. As a clinical data manager for 20 years, I’m glad to see this accurately reported.

  • They most certainly do. Just ask every nurse doctor or respiratory therapist that have been wearing them long before this ugly disease reared its ugly head. They wear them to protect their patients.and I have seen the xrays and the ugly thick super glue secretions. I can only explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you . This is a a dangerous ugly disease not jus a flu. I hope none of you ever get to see what we have seen in the hospitals with these poor patients

  • OK, let’s follow the science:

    “There was a 1.27 % positivity rate in a 3-day average of test results, according to state data. That’s the highest those numbers have been since late April.

    State officials have warned that Alaska’s numbers are tricky to compare to other states because our total number of tests includes residents and nonresidents but our population numbers used for per capita calculations are based only on residents.”

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