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TONY HAYS, San Clemente

The novel coronavirus is, as its name implies, new. And when a new disease appears, scientists scramble to try to find out how the disease is transmitted, and its effects.

As more is learned about the virus, disagreements arise as to the interpretation of data. For example, there is still some disagreement as to whether aerosols are a significant mode of transmission. 

Disagreement is good, because it forces scientists to review the data, their interpretation of the data, and the conclusions from their interpretation. With respect to wearing a mask, there is almost universal agreement that mask wearing reduces the probability of transmission of the coronavirus from an infected person, who may well be asymptomatic, to someone else. 

Wearing a mask also reduces the probability of infection of the wearer. Amongst the thousands of experts, it is always possible to find at least one person who disagrees with this premise. 

Jim Smith managed to find a well-respected retired environmental and occupational health scientist who doesn’t agree with the majority, and he might well have been able to find a few more. 

But since we are dealing with a life-or-death situation, the prudent choice would be to accept the advice of the overwhelming majority of experts, and wear a mask in public. 

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