End of masks at the airport

… and on the Porto Santo ferry

Masks being worn at the airport

The Diario reports online that the Regional Government Council, meeting on Thursday, July 7th, in plenary, approved the end of the mandatory use of masks in maritime and air terminals, as well as better defining the mandatory use of masks on board the ‘Lobo Marinho’, the ferry that connects the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.

The measures entered into force immediately on the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the Autonomous Region of Madeira”, reads the statement sent to the media after the meeting.

COVID-19 in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post

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20 thoughts on “End of masks at the airport”

  1. Amazing. Madeira reported 55 Covid deaths in June. Total Covid associated deaths through June were 340 meaning almost one sixth (55) of all Covid associated deaths occurred in the past month. That’s shocking two years into the pandemic. Not sure if it was the highest monthly total of the 2 year pandemic but I would not be surprised if that is the case. Now masks (and vaccines) are obviously not a panacea that eliminates all disease but there is a plethora of evidence that they reduce transmission. Not advocating a return to strict restrictions but with deaths surging it seems like a very odd time to lift what few mask mandates that remain.
    People seem to want to act like the pandemic is over when it is not. The price for decisions like this will be paid by the most vulnerable, especially the elderly and those with significant preexisting conditions.

      • https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

        See link above. WHO recommends wearing masks as part of a multipronged strategy to reduce Covid transmission.

        “If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!
        Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people.”

        I can send a list of studies if you wish. For optimal protection the masks need to be medical grade, preferably N95, be fitted properly, and worn consistently. These variables and others impact the exact degree to which masks reduce transmission when worn by the non-medical public but there is solid research that they reduce transmission. No one is claiming anywhere near 100% effectiveness but the data is clear that transmission is reduced.
        The medical establishment just didn’t make up this recommendation. As well as data it has long been recognized that masks protect healthcare workers against contacting infectious diseases from their patients.
        I worked in healthcare for 40 years and served as the director of a large academic ICU that cared for patients with extremely contagious airborne diseases. Proper fitting masks were a key strategy that kept staff free from getting ill despite spending 12 hour shifts in close contact with these patients

          • The point is medical grade masks, when properly worn, do work. The June data showed a high level of community transmission and deaths. Given these facts I think wearing a mask in indoor crowded public settings is a prudent measure to help slow transmission. I appreciate that people want to be free to make their own decisions and that for most Covid symptoms are not severe. That being said for a small island population to have 55 deaths and average over 80 hospitalized Covid patients per day for a month is not to be ignored. Hopefully for everyone’s sake this BA.5 wave will subside as quickly as it appeared.
            Stay safe.

      • Dunning-Kruger Effect

        The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.

    • check infection rates and death amongst the Sikh and possibly beard wearing Muslim comunity in the UK and India then try to argue that not wearing masks for “religious” reasons has served either Community? I do not support the mandatory wearing of masks everywhere but in areas of dense crowding such as check in line, departure lounges and on aircraft it makes sense to me and I certainly as an immune compromised person (went Chemo earlier in the year) will continue to try to protect myself from selfish people who do not see any problems in spreading their various bugs and viruses around simply because they personally do not feel ill.

  2. If you believe masks are so effective, as DL and others here claim, might I suggest you look at worldometer’s coronavirus weekly trends page, where you will see that Germany’s covid rates are some of the highest in the world, and are still consistently rising, and deaths per million stand at 16, again some of the highest in the world. That is Germany, which requires medical grade masks be worn by the public. A recent study by Sao Paulo University looked at covid rates throughout Europe and found no correlation between compulsory masking and covid rates. The study also found that death rates from covid were HIGHER in those countries with compulsory masking. One possible reason is the Foegen effect, whereby masks catch the expirations of those already infected and concentrate the virus into large droplets which are then ideally formed to be re-breathed back into the deeper areas of the lungs. DL talks about hospital use, but we are not in hospitals, and there is a mass of evidence that only N95 masks are of any use in hospitals, but even then they cannot be worn for long periods. The blue things you see everywhere are effective for a maximum of 20 minutes, whereupon they are too damp to be of any use, and so probably do more harm than good to the wearer.
    In the UK, the blue things are not classed by the Health and Safety Executive as PPE, so are officially regarded as useless. In hospitals, they are intended to prevent staff spraying their own saliva and mucus onto the open wounds of their patients. They have no protective effect whatsoever.
    It’s all plotical theatre.
    As for the advice quoted from the WHO, you might want to look into how the WHO is funded (massive influence from China), and you might also want to find their statements published earlier that masks are NOT recommended in community settings.
    And anyway, all this for a cold! Yes, some will reply, but what about those who are clinically vulnerable? Well, first, masks are useless in protecting vulnerable people, and, second, you were vulnerable for all the time before covid, when masks had, after all, been known about for centuries, yet you didn’t expect people to wear masks, to harm themselves by obstructing their breathing for your sake.
    The painful reality is that there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves against viruses (except vaccines, which don’t seem to be that effective). People don’t like that thought, so they turn to magical beliefs, such as putting bits of cloth over their faces. They might as well be wearing lucky charms.
    From past experience here, replying to comments only causes me grief, so I won’t add any further comments to this news item.

    • Germany dropped most mandates in April except public transportation, hospitals, and care homes. I haven’t been there since mid April so I can’t speak to degree of compliance with remaining requirements or voluntary compliance outside of required settings.
      Comparing death rates between countries is anything but straightforward. European and most western developed nations are believed to publish somewhat accurate Covid associated deaths numbers while no neutral observer believes the official numbers reported by India or Russia, or for that matter many other countries with poor public health tracking systems or more autocratic governments that downplay the true toll for political reasons. The other factor in comparing deaths is the age distribution in differing countries. In most developed countries 75% of the deaths are in people over 65. Most poorer contries have an over 65 population that is one third that of wealthier western countries. You would expect them to have much lower death rates.

      A detailed critique of both Spira’s and Foegen’s studies and claims is beyond the scope of this blog but suffice to say that their claims are based on deeply flawed/designed correlation studies. Their analysis of the data is fundamentally flawed and does not support their conclusions and is contradicted by numerous better designed studies.
      In respect to the study out of the University of Sao Paulo study by Beny Spira well designed reviews of the same data set have come to the opposite conclusion. See https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2119266119
      Spira also believed that the best policy was to just let everyone get Covid and build up natural immunity.
      The so-called “Foegen effect” as proposed by Zacharia Foegen is pure speculation and not supported by any evidence in the scientific literature for any disease. In other words it’s rubbish. In respect his conclusions regarding the Kansas mask mandates well designed reviews of the Kansas mask mandates have come to the opposite conclusion. See
      Lastly, you wrote “all this for a cold”. Hope you are just being sarcastic. I recently retired but my colleagues in the hospital have never seen anything like this in their careers. Nothing even comes remotely close.

    • What causes the Dunning-Kruger effect?

      Confidence is so highly prized that many people would rather pretend to be smart or skilled than risk looking inadequate and losing face. Even smart people can be affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect because having intelligence isn’t the same thing as learning and developing a specific skill. Many individuals mistakenly believe that their experience and skills in one particular area are transferable to another.
      Why do people fail to recognize their own incompetence?

      Many people would describe themselves as above average in intelligence, humor, and a variety of skills. They can’t accurately judge their own competence, because they lack metacognition, or the ability to step back and examine oneself objectively. In fact, those who are the least skilled are also the most likely to overestimate their abilities.


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