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Expert urges Japan to keep virus guard up as most people lack antibodies

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The health ministry's antibody tests for the new coronavirus conducted earlier this month suggested a 0.1 percent infection rate in Tokyo, 0.17 percent in Osaka Prefecture, and 0.03 percent in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

Where have all those posters gone who were banging on about "Japan being on the road to herd immunity"? Didnt happen, wont happen.

People should all double down on their preventative measures against this awful, deadly virus until a viable vaccine or treatment is found. More outbreaks will likely still occur. Worldwide, infections are getting worse and worse. Yesterday was the worst on record.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

They're really pushing this second wave-agenda. How about instead of holding the threat of another state of emergency over our heads, the government just strongly recommend people at risk from getting ill if they do contract the virus to take reasonable protective precautions?

According to https://covid19japan.com, most people are recovering or have recovered, and the daily infection rate of people tested is wobbling around the low double digits in a country of 127 million. Something stinks.

What's more, there's no clear evidence of how many people have already been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic, nor how sick the symptomatic patients are who aren't in an ICU.

So ease up on the social distancing brainwashing, take down the plastic curtains and peel off the floor markers and restore some sanity. Otherwise we risk conditioning the kids of today that this is the "new normal".

Or is that the whole point now?

-12 ( +12 / -24 )

The study on antibody in population is open to interpretation. We should find out why the local outbreak, despite its low mass immunity, has declined without a big number of casualties, at its peak sometime in late March (according to the data by the expert panel).

Humans have the system of both adaptive immunity (attained through infection or vaccination targeting a particular virus) and innate immunity (working on pathogens in general). The latter could be responsible for clear discrepancy on infection and fatality rates around the world though mechanism remains unknown, mysterious areas to be explored under research.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Oh bother .. only 0.1%.. I was really hoping this number will be lot lot higher

Well at least now we know it is not herd immunity that is slowing the virus down in Japan.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Ah, well... if it's just an expert and not an old politician, prepare for the opposite.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

kyronstavic: "According to https://covid19japan.com, most people are recovering or have recovered, and the daily infection rate of people tested is wobbling around the low double digits in a country of 127 million. Something stinks."

Well, it's like Donald Trump himself says, "If you don't test, the infected will go to zero." It's amazing that someone like yourself would also believe that means there is no disease, too.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

Smithinjapan, I never claimed there was no disease. But I am questioning how dangerous the virus is to the vast majority of the population. And I'am quite happy for there to be more testing because it will most likely show that few infected people are showing symptoms - as long as the numbers are honestly reported.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

This is the time to double or tripple the efforts of self-protection against the Covid-19 and ALL other infectious diseases.

The Covid-19 was a God given preamble for changing our ways of living for ever, with or without vaccine.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

i agree with Kyronstavic!!m

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Sounds like someone is making a case to justify another stimulus package for someone's friends.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Kyronstavic: " I never claimed there was no disease."

Sorry, bud, but you are saying that stay-at-home suggestions and what not are "brainwashing" and that the numbers are not high (when Japan tests the absolute lowest in developed nations), so you may as well be saying it, because you sure are acting like it's no problem.

"And I'am quite happy for there to be more testing because it will most likely show that few infected people are showing symptoms"

You base this on... ?

"as long as the numbers are honestly reported."

Yes, as in, even when it proves to be MUCH higher than the authorities with very vested interests in keeping it low want it. No one's going to dishonestly claim the numbers are higher than they are, but already we've seen them interesting in hiding the real numbers.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

So if Tokyo's population is around 10mil then 0.1 is 10.000 which about twice the reported positive cases. Hmm the testing in Tokyo now looks OK....

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"If the infection had spread without being detected, the rates would have been higher," said Kazuhiro Tateda, the expert at Toho University.

But the virus is spreading without being detected -asymptomatic transmission....

3 ( +7 / -4 )

smithinjapanToday  05:06 pm JST

Kyronstavic: " I never claimed there was no disease."

Sorry, bud, but you are saying that stay-at-home suggestions and what not are "brainwashing" and that the numbers are not high (when Japan tests the absolute lowest in developed nations), so you may as well be saying it, because you sure are acting like it's no problem. 

"And I'am quite happy for there to be more testing because it will most likely show that few infected people are showing symptoms"

You base this on... ? 

"as long as the numbers are honestly reported."

Yes, as in, even when it proves to be MUCH higher than the authorities with very vested interests in keeping it low want it. No one's going to dishonestly claim the numbers are higher than they are, but already we've seen them interesting in hiding the real numbers.

If nothing else, you've mastered the art of straw-manning.

No argument with you about their being interested in hiding the real numbers, but they're being very cagey about why. I could almost understand it when they were trying to keep the Olympics alive, but now?

Listen to the news, especially on NHK. There's a steady beat of "coronavirus" and "new normal" throughout the entire bulletins. And the interviews they show of people on the street overwhelmingly present a one-sided view. And read Robert Cialdini's famous book "Influence," where he explains the mechanisms of persuasion is clear, everyday language. Also worth a read is Edward Bernays' "Propaganda," written in the days before the word took on its more negative modern connotation.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

So if Tokyo's population is around 10mil then 0.1 is 10.000 which about twice the reported positive cases. Hmm the testing in Tokyo now looks OK....

But critics have claimed the actual numbers must be 10, 50 or 100 times larger than confirmed. Their assumption proves much exaggerated.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Where have all those posters gone who were banging on about "Japan being on the road to herd immunity"? Didnt happen, wont happen.

This only happened because all the other posters were claiming that the virus was spreading rampantly in Japan but the government was covering it up. Guess that didn't happen either.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

So the numbers of infections are up to nine times higher than reported. As expected, it's clear that the virus is considerably more active in Japan than the acknowledged figures claim. Given the limitations of our knowledge of coronavirus antibodies, there's a possibility it's even higher. This was expected, but it's good to finally know for sure that the published figures do not accurately reflect the spread of the disease.

As for those who complain about prevention measures, it's a weak position at best. Washing your hands after you use the toilet was a new measure once, created to stop the spread of typhoid. As were antibiotics. And vaccinations. Using that logic, should we abandon them all? After all, chickenpox doesn't actually kill many people. Should we stop giving our children vaccinations, to avoid the 'new normal'? Other people are welcome to their opinions, but I'll stick with the science and carry on washing my hands after using the toilet.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Taking anything the government says with an enormous pinch of salt at the moment.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So after six months 99.9% of Tokyoites havent been infected and 99.98% haven't died

At this pace, Its going to take a lot of waves to justify the cost and inconvenience of the past few months

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

It seems that Japan's inadequate testing is indeed unable to counter the fact that Covid 19 is infecting Japan just line anywhere else on the planet.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

0.1 % on average in Japan, means more than 125.000 cases, putting it at the same level than countries in Europe and way above the official 17.000 cases. The difference with Europe is that, they have tested more, done better tracing, so their official number of cases is much closer to the real number of cases.

With more than 90% of cases undetected in Japan, they should have extended the state of emergency, not stopped it.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

So after six months 99.9% of Tokyoites havent been infected and 99.98% haven't died

At this pace, Its going to take a lot of waves to justify the cost and inconvenience of the past few months

That is because the inconvenience of the past few months stopped the spread of the virus. If nothing was done the situaton would have been very different. You are saying like you saw a car speeding towards you so you jumped sideways. Then you said since I was not injured so I should not have jumped.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

But as it remains unclear whether antibodies for the novel coronavirus provide immunity to reinfection, the government is planning to continue analysis of the antibodies at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

First it is still not clear if antibodies provide immunity to the virus. Even it does we do not know long the immunity will last. Then even the immunity is long, are we going to let the virus spread unchecked for nerd immunity and let hospitals be overwhelmed by sick people (not all people has the virus recovers by themselves). The only safe way to achieve nerd immunity is by vaccination.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm a little skeptical of this study. First, it isn't a academic study, but a government study, the methodology isn't that clear, and second, there was another serology study from Kobe, this time an academic one, that showed that Kobe had about 3% infection rate by early April.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.26.20079822v1.full.pdf

Also, I'm skeptical because this study I talk about never got on the news, but this one did...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

All just goes to show no-one has a clue about this pandemic.

it could be the next Black Death

or red death if you like Poe.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Or no big deal?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is actually very good news! The result shows that Japan, against all odds, has managed to contain the spread of covid-19. With the ease of restrictions there will be new cases but as long as they are contained it will be fine.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Clearly, the government did not want anymore numbers in the 40's so they cut back the little testing they were already doing. Everybody should be staying put if they do not want to fall sick and this includes try and keep your kids, indoors. I know this is difficult, however, it is vital to do your best.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Stop crying and whining about it so much, if we get it we get it. No need to sacrifice the economy.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm a little skeptical of this study. First, it isn't a academic study, but a government study....

on the first page of of the link.. now; the author name is Asako Doi and the preprint is hosted on a site called doi.org and the links aren't working , the study has not been peer reviewed .. and the author email is @gmail.com

I am still not saying anything really

BTW, amazing results; kobe's results match the worst hit areas of italy

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The only safe way to achieve nerd immunity is by vaccination.

four eyes with glasses and everything .. no vaccines against nerds

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have already seen fewer mask wearers during the mid day wearing fewer masks. It might be because the heat. Morning and Evenings have been mostly all masks. Late night, I have seen mostly no masks.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From a public health perspective I wonder if they will make the vaccine mandatory?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Excellent advice. This pandemic is nowhere near over.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The numbers where I live are showing 3 humps now. Each comes about 2-3 weeks apart after the peak on 22 April.

Stay at home, if you can.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Life must go on all is great here in Abeland...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Virus is not spreading here but the government and experts do keep pressure for people to take all measures, maintaining a state of fear to, at the end of the day, push for the vaccine. The government might even make the vaccine mandatory, Pharmaceutical companies are pleased

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

BTW, amazing results; kobe's results match the worst hit areas of italy

More amazing results: Much contrast to Italy, Kobe (in the Hyogo prefecture) has had no single dead of the virus-related.

From a public health perspective I wonder if they will make the vaccine mandatory?

I don't think they would have to. As in the seasonal flu, vaccination is voluntary (for it's not covered by insurance; it also often fails to meet a targeted virus). I'm not sure if an effective vaccine will ever come into being.

What I've come to understand over last half year is that we don't necessarily need to attain a herd immunity blocking Covid-19. The virus itself seems not so deadly. Instead pre-existing health conditions (age, obesity, smoking habits, etc.) and local environment (healthcare quality and readiness) account for wider discrepancy in infection and fatality rates across countries in the world.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Today, I noticed more people within my area not wearing face masks.

Well the attitude of "I'm immune" seems to be spreading....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no vaccine. Numbers have flattened, due to the citizenry adhering to protocols. The virus will continue to plague the populous. Fact is, contrary to the slightly daft posting, masks, social distancing, all the plastic barriers that protect cashiers and clerks from possibly infected individuals are necessary and has reduced transmission, as has stay at home requests. No matter the inconvenience and the very peculiar opining which among other factors does not realize a virus is not a living organism, similar to bacteria. The nonsense about hiding numbers is ignorant - the reporting agencies are varied and public, there is no conspiring to censor numbers - hospitalization numbers are accurate, as is the death toll. Asymptomatic and mild cases are just that and do not require hospitalization. The 99% reduction in tourists. 80% reduction in turnstile counts at major train stations. Cancelling of big events. Closure of public venues. School closures and staggered re-openings. All are necessary. And for the moment it is the so-called new normal. As for children, they are more adaptive than adults. Nothing stinks. There is no brainwashing. And sanity requires a measured and careful response. The government has no power to enact anything resembling martial law, all for the good. Cranky gajin, best understand, this IS a portent of the future, and a very mild example of what awaits this decade. Until there is a vaccine, there is no immunity. 15% of infections require serious attention. 4% require ICU. Whatever may be the 'actual' numbers, including asymptomatic, is moot. So, what? You going to trace and track? Too late. Except for emerging clusters. Shelter in place has significantly reduced hospitalizations, everywhere. The rate of hospitalization is 90 per 100,000. 0.09%

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So many here said "I'll trust the WHO." That same WHO who knowingly lied about face masks not helping (because they wanted to conserve them). Nice to see a few people are starting the question the narratives they are being spoon-fed. Covid-19 will kill some people. Government policies to "protect" people against it will kill 1000 times more.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Well, there is alway the possibility that the chart is upside down, but do you really think this looks good?

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100172/japan-confirmed-cases-of-coronavirus-by-place-of-infection/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to https://covid19japan.com, most people are recovering or have recovered, and the daily infection rate of people tested is wobbling around the low double digits in a country of 127 million. Something stinks.

Your source gives absolutely no way to infer infection rates of people tested, on the other hand https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ gives value on the low single digits (1-2%) every day.

The study on antibody in population is open to interpretation. We should find out why the local outbreak, despite its low mass immunity, has declined without a big number of casualties, at its peak sometime in late March (according to the data by the expert panel).

There are much more simple explanations that dont require innate immunity, like low infection doses for most of the infected people or simply just because not many people are getting exposed.

So the numbers of infections are up to nine times higher than reported. As expected, it's clear that the virus is considerably more active in Japan than the acknowledged figures claim. Given the limitations of our knowledge of coronavirus antibodies, there's a possibility it's even higher. This was expected, but it's good to finally know for sure that the published figures do not accurately reflect the spread of the disease.

Official figures are always the minimum of what is happening and this is constantly repeated everywhere where they are reported, nobody of importance says "we have exactly this number of infected people" but "we have identified this number of infected people", this number of cases is perfectly inside of what is expected from the observed positive cases, specially when route of infection is considered.

At this moment it is also perfectly possible that the virus is less active than these results indicate, without detailed data about the validation of the tests and rates of false positivity there is still plenty of room for the actual number to be lower but confounded for example by cross reactivity with a local strain of a related virus. For this we will have to wait until much more complicated studies are performed (including paired samples that let people see how the immunoglobuline levels change over time)

I'm a little skeptical of this study. First, it isn't a academic study, but a government study, the methodology isn't that clear, and second, there was another serology study from Kobe, this time an academic one, that showed that Kobe had about 3% infection rate by early April.

As mentioned before the article is also in preprint, the same as the one in Kobe, and for the Kobe study a huge lot of necessary information is lacking. Test validation values are not present, nor the intervals of confidence. What if the test has a specificity rate of 99%? it seems very high, but just because of that you would expect 10 out of 1000 samples to become positive even if the samples were taken 10 years ago. If the confidence intervals are of 2% or the specificity rate is of 97% (not rare for new chromatographic tests) then it is perfectly possible that every single positive results they got is a false positive. This is why preprints are not actual scientific studies yet.

The government might even make the vaccine mandatory, Pharmaceutical companies are pleased

How many vaccines do you think are mandatory right now? zero.

Pharmaceutical companies make more money from one patient spending one single day in the ICU than from hundreds of vaccines, in this specific case vaccination makes no sense for a pharmaceutical company economically speaking.

What I've come to understand over last half year is that we don't necessarily need to attain a herd immunity blocking Covid-19. 

Of course, but only if you keep extremely costly social distancing measures indefinitely. If your interest is to go back to having a "normal", life herd immunity (or a silver bullet treatment that decrease mortality to influenza levels at least) is still a must.

So many here said "I'll trust the WHO." That same WHO who knowingly lied about face masks not helping (because they wanted to conserve them).

That is false, a lie. There is a huge difference between "this does not help" and "we don't have data about the efficacy of this". It is also very different to knowingly lie and openly say "we dont have enough masks, the best use of the few we have is to protect medical personnel and reduce the infectivity of positive patients"

Well, there is alway the possibility that the chart is upside down, but do you really think this looks good?

In consideration of the disease? yes.

It is after all the cumulative of positive cases, not the number of active cases, when you compare that graph with the number of recovered cases it becomes much easier to see why. https://covid19japan.com/

Nobody is expecting to suddenly stop the transmission completely, specially with lukewarm lockdowns and insuficient testing. The government strategy is to control the spreading with the least amount possible of sacrifice, so the numbers are exactly what they are aiming for.

Many people are convinced this strategy is too risky and much stronger measures are necessary, we will have to wait to see which side is right.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 It is also very different to knowingly lie and openly say "we dont have enough masks, the best use of the few we have is to protect medical personnel and reduce the infectivity of positive patients"

Agreed. But they didn't say that until after they knowingly misled millions of people.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Agreed. But they didn't say that until after they knowingly misled millions of people.

It is the only thing they did say, the WHO never said masks were useless, that was uninformed people on the media. The official position of the WHO was always that mask could be useful but there was no data yet to prove it, that they are only part of several things that people needed to do (including isolation and hand washing) and that in case of limited supply medical professionals and infected people should be given priority in their access because that is where most benefit will be obtained from limited numbers.

You are just confused and think the WHO said something it never did.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You are just confused and think the WHO said something it never did.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of low-intelligence people who don't understand the big words, then get angry at the WHO for not saying what they misunderstood them to have said.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We are learning about the virus in leaps and bounds by large-scale human society experiments in Brazil and the US.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The official position of the WHO was always that mask could be useful but there was no data yet to prove it

You may be right, the media may have misinterpreted it, but there was no official announcement from WHO to counter the widespread believe that mask were not effective at the time.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of low-intelligence people who don't understand the big words, then get angry at the WHO for not saying what they misunderstood them to have said.

You're cute when you use run-on sentences. Luckily, there were no big words.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

We are learning about the virus in leaps and bounds by large-scale human society experiments in Brazil and the US.

An experiment requires that the people collecting the information manipulate the subjects to do it. We are learning about the virus by observing what is happening everywhere in the world.

You may be right, the media may have misinterpreted it, but there was no official announcement from WHO to counter the widespread believe that mask were not effective at the time.

Again, at the beginning there was no data that supported the fact that use of face masks by everybody in the community was specially useful against the pandemic, so that is exactly what can be told. This changed after properly curated data began to appear and the WHO could have a basis for the recommendation.

Your criticism would require the WHO to lie supporting a measure that nobody knew if was effective or to have a functioning crystal ball to see the future, that is not rational.

Misinformation is always sure of everything it says, and require no proof, science has to be logical, coherent and based on objective data. Science does not have to luxury to "counter" lies with opposite lies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

0.1 % on average in Japan, means more than 125.000 cases, putting it at the same level than countries in Europe and way above the official 17.000 cases. The difference with Europe is that, they have tested more, done better tracing, so their official number of cases is much closer to the real number of cases.

If you want to compare Japan and Europe, you should compare the results of the antibody test, and in particular the percentage of people that have antibodies, as most countries are much smaller than Japan.

But from what I've read so far about 5% of people in Spain and UK are estimated to have the antibodies. So the comparison isn't even close, let alone "same level".

With more than 90% of cases undetected in Japan, they should have extended the state of emergency, not stopped it.

Amazing that you are still saying they should extend the state of emergency for such a small amount of cases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Again, at the beginning there was no data that supported the fact that use of face masks by everybody in the community was specially useful against the pandemic,

Other than common sense, there was no data maybe. But people look to the media for answers, the media look at WHO reports, and what comes out is "masks don't help." WHO could have clarified that with an announcement rather than allow people to continue with that misconception. You are saying that because they lacked sufficient data, they were unable to do so - that doesn't really cut it. They knew, as most medical professionals know, that masks do provide protection. That wouldn't be a lie simply because they felt they lacked sufficient data unless there was a significant risk that had to be considered.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This is TRUE.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other than common sense,

That is irrelevant, common sense is frequently wrong, there are studies where it is shown that depending on the disease transmission is not reduced in any important measure by wearing a mask, so what you think "should be right" is not important. The WHO can only express what has been corroborated with evidence, not what uninformed people think is common sense.

But people look to the media for answers, the media look at WHO reports, and what comes out is "masks don't help." WHO could have clarified that with an announcement rather than allow people to continue with that misconception.

Again, that falls completely on the people doing the missinformation, including you that wrote full of confidence false things about the WHO. A scientific institution does not have the luxury of lying the same, so it can only announce what it knows with a certain degree of confidence, and that is what it did, repeatedly and in many kinds of media. If people willingly go to the sources that are not reputable that is NOT the responsibility of the WHO.

You are saying that because they lacked sufficient data, they were unable to do so - that doesn't really cut it. They knew, as most medical professionals know, that masks do provide protection.

No, that is just your own misinformed conception. Exactly the same as you though that the WHO said that mask don't work.

Mask work or not depending on the disease and the situation, your fixed preconceptions about it are wrong and that is the reason why you think a proper, correct declaration does not "cut it". Mask could provide protection or they could be useless, that is what most medical professionals know.

That wouldn't be a lie simply because they felt they lacked sufficient data unless there was a significant risk that had to be considered.

No, that would completely be a lie, in science you cannot assume that something you think is logical is always true. There is always a chance for it to be false (else why do research on anything on the first place?) so saying that something "is useful" requires evidence for it, always.

And definitely there is a risk, the WHO cannot simply say contradictory things without assuming responsibility as the people that lie do. That leads to everything else that will be said to be taken with less authority. So if they have no data about something they cannot lie to say they had it. Specially when they do know it can result to be a lie.

That is what separates professionals from regular people. You can simply say that the WHO was lying and later accept this was not true, you put not much interest in how you appear to others so you can say things that are not true all the time and it will have no real consequence (except for people to know you do it) But the WHO has to make sure everything it says is based on the best available information to avoid getting into the same situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The WHO used words like "there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask is effective". This was re-worded as "WHO says there is no need for healthy people to wear face masks". So part of the blame has to go to the media for switching the words around. However, WHO should have just kept quiet if they didn't have data on the subject. But no, they put out a report leading people to believe that masks would do no good. So I still firmly believe that WHO's debacles contributed to the spread of the virus.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The WHO used words like "there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask is effective". This was re-worded as "WHO says there is no need for healthy people to wear face masks". So part of the blame has to go to the media for switching the words around.

Really? Which media - I seem to recall posters making the above claim (no need), I don't remember "the media" doing so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really? Which media - I seem to recall posters making the above claim (no need), I don't remember "the media" doing so.

Some posters made that claim on their own, but some supported it with WHO's "advice".

I've seen several articles claiming WHO says there is no need, or that WHO originally said there was no need but changed their minds.

WHO says there is no need for healthy people to wear face masks, days after the CDC told all Americans to cover their faces

https://www.businessinsider.com/who-no-need-for-healthy-people-to-wear-face-masks-2020-4

WHO stands by recommendation to not wear masks if you are not sick or not caring for someone who is sick

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/30/world/coronavirus-who-masks-recommendation-trnd/index.html

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday changed course on its recommendations for the use of masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, advising that in areas where the virus is spreading, people should wear fabric masks in public when they are unable to practice social distancing. 

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/491725-who-no-evidence-wearing-a-mask-can-protect

I should add that not all are misinterpretations, because while the WHO official reports worded it as "no evidence", WHO members have said outright that you don't need a mask.

"If you do not have any respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask," Dr. April Baller, a public health specialist for the WHO, says in a video on the world health body's website posted in March. "Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough."

https://www.foxnews.com/world/who-guidance-healthy-people-wear-masks-around-coronavirus-patients

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However, WHO should have just kept quiet if they didn't have data on the subject

That is a terrible suggestion, for the WHO it is very important to be clear about what it is known or not. Because staying quiet leave free reign for people with other interests to say whatever they want without any opposition. Not having evidence about something working or not has to be said, not only for the regular people on the streets but because health personnel also need guidance about how to distribute resources. What if some public health official is considering between using his budget to buy masks or chloroquine?

But no, they put out a report leading people to believe that masks would do no good. 

Again, the communication was very clear, so people choosing bad sources or just their own bias cannot be the fault of the WHO. Also, at that point it was entirely possible that mask would not do any good, so criticizing the WHO for not having a crystal ball is not rational. At the end of the day the WHO could be repeating all day long something and still there would be people that will understand or believe the exact opposite. The WHO has no power to avoid this, so it should not have any responsibility about it either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is a terrible suggestion, for the WHO it is very important to be clear about what it is known or not. Because staying quiet leave free reign for people with other interests to say whatever they want without any opposition.

Or, for people with common sense to make common sense decisions.

Again, the communication was very clear, so people choosing bad sources or just their own bias cannot be the fault of the WHO

Very clear. Unfortunately very clearly the wrong advice. In my comment above you can clearly see WHO experts were quoted saying "you don't need to wear a mask". What they say gets passed on to the average person, who most likely aren't going to read the reports.

What if some public health official is considering between using his budget to buy masks or chloroquine?

Well they can't depend on the WHO, because they can't make up their minds!

Also, at that point it was entirely possible that mask would not do any good, so criticizing the WHO for not having a crystal ball is not rational.

Sorry, I'm not buying the excuses. You don't need a crystal ball to see that a mask could prevent droplets of spit from flying out from your mouth.

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Or, for people with common sense to make common sense decisions

The same people that were totally wrong when interpreting the meaning of a very clear statement? That would be again a very strong reason not to remain quiet.

You cannot have reasonable and informed people making hugely lame mistakes because of willing ignorance at the same time. If your argument is that people is capable of doing the smart thing, that also includes getting the meaning of the WHO declarations, and if your argument is that people are unable to do that simple thing, then that justify the WHO being clear about what it knows or not, because those people cannot be trusted to do the correct thing.

Very clear. Unfortunately very clearly the wrong advice

Again, the best advice possible with the evidence at the time, which is what it has to be done. Expecting the WHO to have a crystal ball to get data from the future is irrational.

What they say gets passed on to the average person, who most likely aren't going to read the reports.

The same people you are arguing to be trusted to act according to "common sense"? Then they of course are going to read the reports, going to the primary source and getting the news from variate sources is also common sense.

Well they can't depend on the WHO, because they can't make up their minds!

That is also false, the WHO is perfectly constant, the recommendations are always based on the best available evidence. Which is what every health professional should be looking for. Again, expecting anyone to have a crystal ball to collect the best evidence from the future makes absolutely no sense. So would be to insist on outdated recommendations based on disqualified data just so people that don't understand science don't think they "can't make up their minds!"

Sorry, I'm not buying the excuses. You don't need a crystal ball to see that a mask could prevent droplets of spit from flying out from your mouth.

Which is a mistake you make from ignorance and giving undeserved value to "common sense". Again, there are respiratory diseases for which the use of masks makes no real difference for transmission. Surprising for people without knowledge but preventing droplets of spit is not the same as preventing transmission. The WHO have a much higher degree of responsibility about this knowledge (and people working there should be aware of this evidence) so yes, they would definitely need a crystal ball to know to which group of diseases the COVID-19 belonged too.

When your opinion runs contrary to the best specialists on epidemiology, infectious diseases or public health (which do not criticize the masks statements from the WHO) "common sense" would tell you that you are more likely to be wrong than right. But here you are, thinking that anything said that you don't like, about something you know very little must be just "excuses".

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Basically, if you live in a country, state, prefecture, or region where social distancing and mask-wearing are not happening, you will eventually have rising numbers of infected and dying people.

Wearing a mask is certainly beneficial to other people if you are infected, and probably beneficial to you since it catches droplets that may contain a virus, in whichever direction. It does not screen out viruses themselves, but a little protection is better than no protection.

WHO has adjusted advice as new info comes out, but therougou puts it very nicely:

You don't need a crystal ball to see that a mask could prevent droplets of spit from flying out from your mouth.

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And it could be of no use, as it happens with other diseases. And at a time where no evidence was available of either, the only responsible thing to do is to say exactly that. Specially with a shortage for the people more at risk and on places with cases still on the double digits nationally.

Its the same as if the WHO was asked if antibiotics would help, there is always this chance, and it does have use as a prophylactic measure against opportunistic bacterial infections, but what do you think are the consequences of saying "yes, they could help"?

The responsibility of the WHO is to give the best recommendation with the information available. Baseless recommendations are not without cost. Criticizing the WHO for not recommending something that absolutely nobody knew it would have a tangible effect on the spreading (and a very obvious negative effect on health services) makes no sense. And that is why this is not a criticism made by professionals.

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Asako Doi and the preprint is hosted on a site called doi.org and the links aren't working

doi.org is a system for digital object identification. Most scientific papers have a Doi number, which makes me think you do not read scientific papers that often.

the study has not been peer reviewed ..

It is a preprint, so obviously there is no peer review, that happens after the pre print phase, and takes a while.

and the author email is @gmail.com

The study has over 10 authors, and using a Gmail account isn't that weird. There are people who despise their organization mail systems, and for good reasons.

The affiliation of each author is well written in the paper, if you have any question about it.

I am still not saying anything really

You are implying it, and it is mostly just ignorance of how scientific papers work.

BTW, amazing results; kobe's results match the worst hit areas of italy

Comparing the number of infections in a serology study with the number of confirmed infections is not good.

There are a lot of seroprevalence studies from Italy, and for example, onf from Milan had a median of 5% infection rate.

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