To Mask or Not to Mask, That is the Question

The following article about an argument in a talk show on German TV has been translated by Hellequin GB. The translator includes this introductory note:

Another day in the open-air lunatic asylum… and barely surviving.

The self-righteous Hounds of Corona are calling for the head of Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, the President of the German Medical Association, because of this.

The translated article from the news site

Markus Lanz is stunned by the medical practitioner’s statement about the mask requirement

How can we continue to get through the Corona pandemic safely?

What will our future look like?

What kind of world will it be? Markus Lanz [talk show on ZDF named after its moderator] was about the really big questions on Wednesday evening 2020 — and it got hot.

While the philosopher Richard David Precht and the entrepreneur Frank Thelen fought for the future, the moderator Markus Lanz and Dr. Klaus Reinhardt got into each other’s hair because of the Corona mask requirement. The author Gabriele Krone-Schmalz only has the chair between the disputing parties.

These were the guests on Markus Lanz on Wednesday:

  • Richard David Precht, philosopher
  • Frank Thelen, entrepreneur
  • Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, author
  • Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, physician

Markus Lanz and Dr. Klaus Reinhardt started the show heatedly. Corona has been the top topic at “Markus Lanz” for months. Anyone who thought that this topic must have been discussed long ago was taught better in the previous broadcast. Because on this Wednesday evening, the Corona crisis was rolled out again and the moderator Markus Lanz and the medical doctor Klaus Reinhardt lost themselves, right at the beginning of the talk show, in a fundamental discussion — and that on several points. In the end, not even the mask should be a safe remedy against Corona. But one after the other.

At the beginning of the show, Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, who had already tested positive for COVID-19 himself, had an absolutely relaxed position regarding Corona. When asked about his assessment of the current situation, the President of the German Medical Association replied: “I would describe the situation in Germany as totally compensated.”

Using a graphic, Reinhardt explained that the number of Corona infections is higher than in the spring, but that Germany is far from reaching its limits in intensive care medicine.

Markus Lanz assessed the statistics more critically and asked: “Can you put it that way? Or was the number of people infected in the spring presumably very, very much higher?”

The moderator explained: “I keep hearing from experts: We probably had a factor of ten in the spring, about ten times as many cases as assumed.”

Reinhardt countered that there were fewer tests in the spring. In relation to the tests, the positive rate, i.e. the number of infected people, is still moderate; here it is 10 percent to 3.6 percent.

Lanz is scared of the Corona curve — not so the doctor

Lanz evidently was not calmed down by these numbers — on the contrary. Looking at another graphic, the moderator wanted to convince the doctor: “Mr. Reinhardt, if you look at it. This curve, if we now look all the way to the right, we see a very high deflection at the back.” Lanz explained: “This curve scares me when I see it that way.”

But Dr. Klaus Reinhardt remained true to his sober assessment: “That is the number of new infections. It says nothing about how many people are newly infected and it also says nothing about how many people are seriously sick. That the curve increases should warrant our attention.” Reinhardt is certain: “There is no reason to panic.”

The suggestion of the physician Reinhardt: In order to keep the death rate low, young people in society should instead stay away from at-risk patients, and older people should behave more cautiously.

Markus Lanz reacted skeptically: “We are an old society. We cannot separate that out at all. It doesn’t work.”

Yes, said Reinhardt: “People with a certain risk may have to be more careful when dealing with them — I think you can expect that, too. An older person cannot behave like someone at 30.”

Medical doctors don’t believe in wearing a mask — Lanz stunned

In the first ten minutes of this Markus Lanz broadcast, the discussion was already well underway. The real controversial topic of the show was still waiting: the mask requirement.

“I’m not convinced,” said Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, confidently expressing his opinion on wearing masks. According to the doctor, there is “no scientific evidence” for the benefit of everyday masks in every situation.

With reference to convincing studies, Markus Lanz remarked in disbelief: “The President of the German Medical Association is sitting here right now and says there is no evidence for masks — I will record that again.”

Reinhardt, who was announced on the program with a plea that one should pay attention to one’s language in the Corona debate, justified himself with the words: “I definitely do not want to be instrumentalized for this mask war — in quotation marks.” “Why war?” asked Lanz like a shot from a pistol, and continued the rhetoric.

Reinhardt did not want to put himself in line with opponents of the mask, he said. Masks in a dense crowd, yes, but not if the necessary distance can be maintained. The doctor explained: “I see problems with this, and I think that we as a society should not allow ourselves to think about whether masking has to become a standard.”

Lanz reacted mockingly to statements by doctor Dr. Reinhardt

Lanz states polemically: “That is probably a philosophical question.” With reference to the guest Richard David Precht, the moderator rebuked Reinhardt in his role: “Excuse me; you are a doctor. The philosopher is sitting here.”

When in his arguments Dr. Klaus Reinhardt went back to the 1970s and compared the ban on masking that was enacted at the time with the currently ordered masking requirement, Markus Lanz was obviously soon no longer able to adhere to it.

“But in the 1970s, again, it wasn’t about whether you could get infected with Corona or not.”

When Dr. Reinhardt referred to the importance of facial expressions in the treatment of patients, Lanz asked mockingly: “May I ask, Mr. Reinhardt, where did you get infected with Corona? — I can guess why.” Reinhardt, who quickly understood the jab, asked rhetorically and with a smile: “Because I didn’t wear a mask?” The President of the German Medical Association remarked almost gleefully: “I couldn’t wear a mask at the time because we didn’t have one.” He ended the discussion with a laugh in the group for the time being.

Lanz adds again: “Don’t be angry with me”

For now, because for Markus Lanz the mask discussion was far from over.

Richard David Precht agreed with the physician Reinhardt and spoke of a “carnival of opinion” in science with regard to the usefulness of masks.

And Markus Lanz insisted on referring once again to the seriousness of the situation and the responsibility of the medical professional in his position as President of the German Medical Association: “Mr. Reinhardt, don’t be angry with me, but as you have just said, you can at least be misunderstand by them and one can take that at the demo tomorrow and say that the masks are really difficult.”

At this point, Dr. Klaus Reinhardt had no choice but to backtrack a little and make his point clear again: masks yes, but the regulations should be in relation to the prevention of infection.

6 thoughts on “To Mask or Not to Mask, That is the Question

  1. Dear Baron,
    thank you so much for posting this picture with the masks.
    I am german born, but my parents come from Poland, from where they escaped in 1976 to Berlin. Which then was the Free West.
    I have Catholic and Jewish ancestors and the Germans raided our family. My grandfather Leon was in concentration cmp Stutthoff for nearly two years, where the Germans made soap and lampshades from us. Others in my family where gassed.
    They now tell us to wear the mask to show respect for your fellows.
    I have had so many conflicts because of that, been thrown out from stores or from doctor’s offices. And one time an Arab (one of our new German citizens) attacked me. But to the unfortune of this young guy, he didn’t knew that I’m a black belt Karate. However, I was very, very lucky that no police came, because they would have arrested ME.
    This picture shows what I answer to the Germans when they tell me that I should wear the mask out of respect to my fellows. I already did it a couple of times answering: “You gassed my grandparents, but you didn’t provide them mask. So why should I wear a mask?”.
    They react everytime in the same way: They leave the room, saying nothing. Or the tell me that this was a totally different story. Or “not again”! (Germans don’t like being reminded about the Holocaust – like “Never mention the war”). Last month one physician, Dr. Tuchelt, told me: “Gassing was not mandatory” – “So why did you gassed them?” – Silence…

    Thank you so much, dear Baron, for your incredible work!! God bless your beloved wife. Be sure that I also prayed for her. one day we will all come together again.
    Thank you so much, Sir. I really appreciate and love what you do!!!!

    PS: Sorry for my terrible English…
    PPS: Rupert David Precht is no philosopher. He’s just a lesftist idiot.

    • Dear Mr. Baron,
      I would like to add something. You all know that they told the Jews that they would get a shower because they alledegly were so filthy and full of lice. Instead, there came no water out of the showers but deadly gas.
      Today the tell us that these masks suppose to – ach, blah, blah, blah. You all know that.
      These Communists (and the Nazis were just their own bunch of Communists, national socialists) always lie to us.
      This picture touched me very much. It is at point. Especially here in Germany which is rapidly becoming a dictatorship.
      God bless America, President Trump, and the the freeminded people in the world.

      • Herr Bond,

        Thank you for sharing your heartfelt opinions and history.

        I take a somewhat different point of view. And my father and grandmother escaped Nazi-riddled Austria in 1937, coming to the US.

        Very few of the Germans today were concentration camp guards, or even complicit cogs in the Nazi machine. Those guys just aren’t around anymore. So, it doesn’t seem sensible to me to guilt-trip the Germans you encounter. If they didn’t have a sense of decency, they wouldn’t respond to your bringing up their guilt.

        Let’s say I live in a society today. I have a choice of several places right off the bat: I can go to Israel; I have a pretty good shot at getting into Canada or England. I might try for Hungary or Poland if they haven’t realized yet that they endanger themselves by bringing in immigrants who look like them, but habitually vote leftist.

        The point is, I have a certain obligation to my fellow citizens, even if I don’t like them very much, especially if I actually have a choice of which society I inhabit.

        And this brings it back to the basic question of whether the mask is effective at all: does it protect the wearer, the bystander, and in what circumstances. Doctors are probably pretty good at this sort of estimation. The second basic question is one of trade-off. You can make everyone wear masks, social-distance, and even completely lock down, but you have costs by doing so. For instance, by requiring a complete lock-down, you may (or well may not) save some Corona deaths, but you encounter economic slowdowns, loss of jobs, loss of social opportunities, and vastly increased suicide and drug abuse. Are doctors qualified to make that sort of trade-off? I think elected officials such as Trump are more qualified than doctors to decide on the tradeoffs, once the costs of each course of action are clarified.

        And the governors of each state are more qualified to decide for their state than the President…at least, in most cases. There are some states where the elected officials seem to be making abominable choices, but are still maintaining their elected popularity. The only real solution to that might be for the sensible people to move out of such states.

        I’m 75 and had a heart valve replacement. Without going through detailed calculations of the maximum expected value for particular policies, I think Dr. Reinhard is right on the money: keep the society open and only think about masks indoors and where you can’t stay six feet or more from other people. I’ll go further and say I think there ought to be set-aside times and locations where people at unusual risk (or who think they are at unusual risk) can be absolutely assured the people around them will be observing the required safety procedures.

        • and while you are at it, try stopping a marble with a chainlink fence, as that is what the material of the mask is to the Covid virus. I lost a job due to not being able to breathe sufficiently to keep up the needed pace and suffered a mild angina attack.
          So you know what you can do with your masks…..

          • As someone pointed out, masks don’t stop the single viruses, but they do stop the droplets the viruses travel inside. As for your situation, I’m sorry for you and think that in a rational world, you should be able to work out accommodations. For example, you could be tested frequently for infection and if not infected, you would be safe around others without a mask. When you have government mandated rules, you don’t have this sort of sensible flexibility. The only inflexible rule I propose is that if businesses serving the public have “senior” or “susceptible people” hours, the mask rule be strictly enforced for that hour or two. Otherwise, I have no problem with a general voluntary nature of wearing masks. The objective is not to create perfect safety, but to lower the risk as much as possible.

            From what I can see, the benefits of generally wearing masks in all situations is still up in the air.

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