The Maskers Comic

The Maskers Comic

Comics with a purpose

The Maskers Comics began as a way to identify the thoughts, emotions, and frustrations of living in the era of COVID-19, as well as ways to navigate how to be safe and social.

From there, it became an informational and social guide to show to family and friends, all put into comic-style for ease of understanding, but with accurate COVID-19 information, including links to all sources. Our works are free to view and share with others. 

Note: This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or be a substitute for medical advice, and does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. We provide links to research and information for reference and advocacy purposes.

Read about the start of our comic advocacy journey, at "Behind the Mask", published at The Polyphony

Take a sneak peek of the drafts for our latest comic Maskers Episode 4: Down the Rabbit Hole !

Authors, Illustrators, and Advocates

Shea and Tommy O'Neil

Comic Creators, Writers, Advocates for COVID-19 Safety Strategies

We are a mother and son dynamic duo working hard to create support for individuals and families who want to be safe AND social.

We follow the precautions in our works in real life: We wear N-95 or equivalent masks, use pandemic-level ventilation/filtration practices in our home, and only go to indoor places with good ventilation/purification, and where everyone is masking, including masking in uncrowded outdoors spaces (COVID-19 can be transmitted outdoors). We also participate in COVID-safe virtual classes for educationwork, and socially

We created our comics and fact-checking writing series to help ourselves and others navigate the new risks to our lives that COVID has brought, and to keep us safe AND social!

See our favorite masks and mask accessories here!

Never listen to someone who says you have to sacrifice your and other's physical health to obtain good mental health. Good mental health is defined within the context of maintaining good physical health, and that includes using strategies such as those listed on this website to reduce chances of COVID-19 infection, which has shown can cause serious short-and long-term health risks. We can do so while participating in our society using tools, strategies, and accommodations that do not put other places or facilities at undue burden. Remember, a mask is not undue burden; Chronic disease and death are.

-- The Maskers Comic

the maskers comics presents

Table of Contents:

Click the category buttons below to get zoomed to that section,
or simply scroll down through the page to view them all!


The Masker's Comic Free Home-made Comics

We have comics for everyone: 

The family-friendly Maskers Comic Series follows a group of unlikely heroes in 

four episodes that range from 2020 to 2024 and model how to 

bring these protections to life in a fun adventure!

Check out the satirical Smokey Series (aka Smokey vs CDC Smokey), and the empowering Zorro COVID series for a side by side comparison on good versus bad public health messaging

and the socio-political On the Protection of Towns Series. Enjoy them all!


"WORMS IN YOUR SPAGHETTI" Column

Consuming news is like consuming a meal-- and we need to watch what we eat!

You don't want worms sneaking into your spaghetti and 

you don't want misinformation and disinformation sneaking into your media sources.

Here, we learn to identify these slippery foes from the facts, no matter how well-hidden,

 because we all deserve a worm-free meal! 


Is COVID-19 Still Considered Dangerous in 2024?

Take a look at where we are today in 2024, with information and links to

some of the latest research laid out in an easy-to-read- style.


Clear Public Health Messaging:  

A Step Beyond the Swiss Cheese Model,
How Do the Layers Actually Work and How Do They Interact?

In this paper, we go where no one has gone before:

Clear Public Health Messaging :

Why do we need it, How the Models we have Fall Short, and

What Real Clear Public Health Messaging Looks Like!


World Health Network Highlights

Highlights from a network of individuals from across the globe working to create a

true ending to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Air Support Project Highlights

Catch the latest at Air Support Project, a start-up company working on

commercializing the technology behind more efficient,

more affordable air filtration using what we have learned from the

DIY movement of fan and filter models like the CR-BOX. .


THE BAD NEWS: COVID IS NOT OVER 

Take a look at what some of the biggest issues with COVID-19 are today in videos and articles. 


THE GOOD NEWS: UPCOMING TREATMENTS AND TECHNOLOGIES

Many ask how long we are going to mask for or use protections for (of which we usually answer, as long as it takes). There is research on treatments and technologies out there that have the potential to be real game changers. Here are a few that we have been keeping our eyes on. 


More Information on THE TOOLS WE HAVE and NOTES ON AIRBORNE INFECTION

While we wait for new treatments and technologies to develop, check out the tools we have right now that will help prevent infections and stop transmission for an airborne-spread disease (which includes COVID as well as many other diseases it can stop along the way)

1: RESPIRATOR MASKS How they work, Why they are better than surgical masks, How to Don and Doff with Shea and Tommy,  Our Favorite masks and accessories, and Safe Style Tips;


2: FILTERING IS FUN: CADR is a key measurement to use to pick our the right AIR PURIFIERS, Air Cleaners, and/or DIY CR-BOXES for your space;


3: Links to research on treatments that may help with recovery if a COVID-19 infection slips through your protections (Note: always check with your doctor before taking any treatments, I am not a doctor, and am only providing links to research studies and information). 


HOW TO STAY INVOLVED AND EXPRESS YOURSELF IN YOUR:

  • SCHOOLS, advocacy for in-person schooling situations, as well as alternatives including Public Virtual and Homeschooling.
  • WORKSPACES, find out how to promote a culture of health, and get information on remote work, and reasonable accommodations.
  • HEALTHCARE tips on how to find safe providers, how to advocate for your needs and rights, and how to join efforts to demand safe access to physical and mental health care, because access healthcare is a human right.

CREATIVE ADVOCACY WORK FROM AROUND THE WORLD 


Doodling for a cause

Learn how to make your own comics with this free virtual comic group open to all skill levels.

Noteworthy Websites

Here are a shout outs to other websites and networks that we have found especially helpful.

Works From Other Artists

 A collection of art, by all means not comprehensive (feel free to send me an email if you know of more, or if I've overlooked anyone-- there are so many great things being created every day!)

Other COVID-Advocacy Blogs List

COVID activists, writers, critics, scholars, and insightful people from all walks of life have taken to blogging as a form of advocacy, and to help others assess the information in current events and research. Check out these gems to hear multidisciplinary perspectives on key topics.

Creative Protesting

Although many of us cannot participate in in-person protests due to lack of COVID safety in travel and at in-person events, there are many ways to protest. Here are some we have taken part in.

Why We Mask

An article we wrote explaining some of the reasons why we mask every day when around other households.

Personal Disclosure

 DO we have any conflicts of interest? (no); Why Listen to us? Find Out Here.

Call to Action

The time to act is now. But many get caught up in how to implement COVID Prevention Strategies into their everyday lives. Find out how in this section.


The Maskers Comic Presents

Free COVID-CONSCIOUS COMICS

Who says keeping up with the research has to be boring? Keep your humor while staying informed by enjoying these vastly different varieties of comic advocacy writings: 

"The Maskers" Series

Episode 1: Armor Up (2020-2021) Follow Little Chicken and the Maskers superhero group on their journey to armor up with masks, distance, eye protection, and good sanitation, all while keeping an eye out for the Gloobers, a group of villainous clowns who are leading the townsfolk astray in order to make more money at their circus.

Episode 2: Clowning Around (2021-2022) Meet new member Darington Duck as he joins the crew with N-95s (and their equivalents). Watch as they battle super-villain Pogo the Clown all while promoting gathering in lower density spaces, outdoor events, and increasing ventilation as part of a comprehensive plan to keep things both safe AND social. 

Episode 3: Red Light, Green Light (2022-2023) The Maskers and Super Chic take a stand against the Rats and Big Cats who are tampering with the COVID tracking systems. With the help of Zakia Zoinks, a magic hare, and Henny Red, the business-minded granddaughter of Little Red Hen, the heroes start using HEPA purifiers, CO2 monitors, and mask policies to create a COVID-safer headquarters and business.

Printed copies of episodes 1-3 are available on Amazon


Preview Drafts of Maskers Episode 4: Down the Rabbit Hole (2023-2024)  
Subjects: Long COVID, COVID minimizing and denialism, anti-mask legislation, and virtual/remote options. 


"The Smokies" 

(aka Smokey vs CDC Smokey)

This satirical series started as Smokey vs CDC Smokey as a way to visualize the wild public messaging of 2022 compared to classic Smokey the Bear.

As CDC Smokey and Classic Smokey battle it out, it begins to transform into the story of the Smokey family as they navigate COVID-19 and reinvent themselves again and again. 

Follow along with Stompy, Russel, Little Ranger, Mom Smokey, and the Ghost of Great Grandpappy Smokey  as they battle through the best ways to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and each other in this series, all while getting links to great public health resources.

View the Smokies Series 

"Zorro Covid" Series

The latest of the comic series, Zorro COVID picks up where the Smokies series left off-- with the bears deep within a cave hiding out from hunters. It is here, while Russel Smokey and Little Ranger are being stalked by something sinister beneath the murky waters, that a new leader awakens from a deep slumber, destined to Zorro Covid!

View Zorro COVID Series

"On Protection of Towns" 

Think outside the Box, with this short series: "On Protection of Towns", as we ponder Benjamin Franklin's advice: "An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure"!

This series shows some of the things going around town besides COVID-- like both safe and unsafe politics, economics, and policies that play into our everyday lives and either enhance or detract from our collective safety

View On the Protections of Towns for free here

worms in your spaghetti

Examine forms of misinformation and disinformation

Join us in our COVID-19 fact-checking column as we analyze the data (aka spaghetti), pull out the misinformation (aka "Worms") and focus in on the good information (the meatballs--or juicy veggies, depending on your preferences). Make sure to leave room for the Cannoli-- a sweet ending-- to any (worm-free) meal! 

Our Worms Collection: 

(1) WHO Continues To Ignore Long COVID Catastrophe 

November 2022: The WHO's misuse of the death rate metric as a tool for assessing the pandemic, the continued silence on long covid despite significant research, and the ignoring of scientific consensus on how to end the pandemic as a public health threat. 

(2) INCREASES IN DISEASE PREVALENCE AND SEVERITY A LIKELY RESULT OF COVID-19 AND LONG COVID. THE “IMMUNITY DEBT” HYPOTHESIS IS UNFOUNDED. 

February 2023/ Updated May 2023: The inaccuracy of the "immunity debt" hypothesis and the silence on COVID-virus-caused immune system damage when assessing the cause for the huge surge in RSV cases and severity the past few seasons. 

(3) The US Call to End the Public Health Emergency in May 2023 Means Individuals and Policy-Makers Must Take More Actions to Prevent Transmission, Not Fewer

March 2023/ Updated on 5-23-23: The premature ending of COVID-19 protections and safeguards by the US and other governments and the resulting worsened surveillance, greater divide in treatment access, more stress on the healthcare system, and overall negative impact on infection prevention strategies has left an increased responsibility on the individual to use COVID precautions to protect health.



Is COVID-19 Still considered Dangerous?


Yes! It is dangerous in both its initial infection phase as well as its long-term phase.

COVID-19 risks move well past the acute infection-- the term for the initial "sick" phase that now is resulting in less deaths and hospitalizations than earlier in the pandemic, but still is killing over 1,000 Americans each week, since August 26th 2023 continuing through to now in Spring 2024. The COVID-19 death rate is at least 4 times higher than influenza.

However, it isn't hospitalization and death in the acute infection that is our most likely concern (even though it IS a concern, as more than half of the US population is considered higher risk for severe outcome). Yet, there is a much larger chance that this will affect our long-term health in serious often chronic and disabling ways, and those risks pertains to ALL people, whether one is considered higher risk in the acute infection phase of the disease or not. 

For instance, prior COVID-19 infection more than doubles heart attack and stroke risks for up to a year after infection. A 2021 Lancet study showing heart attack risks 3-8 times higher, and strokes caused by blood clots 3-6 times higher, the weeks after COVID infection. Increased risks persist for at least a year after COVID-19 infection for all ages.

And, although long COVID is often called mysterious, we know A LOT about HOW and WHY this happens, and we have plenty of PROOF.

For instance, one reason scientists believe COVID-19 causes stroke and heart attack risks to skyrocket is that COVID-19 infections trigger an exaggerated inflammatory response (which can happen even in formerly healthy people) that makes blood clots more likely. A 2023 study in Nature Cardiovascular Research shows the virus may infect coronary arteries, causing plaque buildup to become inflamed and break off, which can then lead to a heart attack. A 2022 study confirmed stroke risks were heightened in younger and healthier people, including those with seemingly mild acute infections. So, you might think you got off easy initially in an infection, only to have these serious problems surface a few weeks or months later. 

The health effects happen in four different time windows after SARS-CoV-2 infection: 0–30 days (namely the acute phase), 31–90 days, 91–180 days and 181–365+ days (these last three comprise the post-acute phase). For example, this image from a study on the cardiac effects of COVID-19 shows heart effects at different phases in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, highlighting the reduction of some types of effects in different phases by vaccination status.


Long COVID heart attack and stroke risks are far worse than "long flu". Even though they are learning more that flu can cause inflammation that increases heart and stroke risks, research shows that SARS-CoV-2 virus does so at rates more than 7 times higher than after the flu.

And the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection can move well beyond heart attack and stroke risks. COVID-19 infection can cause cascading effects leading to gastrointestinal problemsmulti-organ impairmentabnormalities of blood vessels and coagulationmitochondrial cell dysfunction, functional impairment and fatiguemuscle abnormalities, development of allergic diseases and asthmaimmune dysregulation, detrimental neurological impacts (including brain cell fusion, depression, and cognitive impacts), as well as many other health effects.

Long COVID can be divided into (sometimes overlapping) subtypes, based on its cause and/or the parts of the body it affects, which may help with identifying long COVID, and/or possibly developing treatments down the road. But right now, there are no approved treatments or cures for long COVID. However, the more research that comes out, the more hope and relief we can give to the millions already suffering from this disease. Using precautions now, whether you have long COVID or not, shows you care, that you prioritize health, and that you believe actions need to be taken. There are many causes that will need to be addressed, so be wary of anything that seems to be a biomarker or cure-all for every type of long-COVID effect. Pay attention to the subtype and it may assist if you are seeking treatments. 

There are many recent discoveries and theories about how COVID-19 infections cause long COVID symptoms, including a recent study showing that COVID-19 infection may trigger a person's body to make certain enzymes that cause some of the inflammatory symptoms of long COVID and manifest into a variety of long-term health conditions. There is hope that treatments might be developed to counter this particular brand of long COVID in the future.

There are other possible causes for long COVID supported in research as well. A 2023 study concludes that persistent SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens (COVID virus that stays in the body long after the acute infection), reactivation of latent viruses (meaning viruses that are common but dormant in our bodies, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, will become activated and cause problems) and chronic inflammation may all contribute to long COVID. This adds to a plethora of research that shows that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can linger in the body and can cause cascading effects throughout that manifest as long COVID.

Researchers in a 2024 study found major differences in differences groups with associated causes, including

  • distinct protein profiles in GI and cognitive groups with associations between Epstein–Barr virus reactivation and neurological symptoms, autoantibodies and GI symptoms relative to other forms of LC49,53. Brain–gut axis disturbance (SCG3) in the GI group, which occurs in many autoimmune diseases54.

  • signatures suggestive of neuroinflammation (C1QA) in the cognitive group, consistent with findings of brain abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging after COVID-19 hospitalization55, as well as findings of microglial activation in mice after COVID-19 (ref. 56).

  • Proinflammatory signatures dominated in the cardiorespiratory group. Lung-specific inflammation was suggested by the association between PCDH1 (an airway epithelial adhesion molecule35) and cardiorespiratory symptoms.

  • Fatigue and anxiety/depression groups and were consistent with those seen in non-COVID depression, suggesting shared mechanisms57 , including associations between markers of myeloid inflammation enhancing immunopathology58 and causing fatigue.

In February 2024, researchers in Dublin, Ireland published a study in Nature Neuroscience that found that

  • "sustained systemic inflammation and persistent localized blood–brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction is a key feature of long COVID-associated brain fog."

  • They found evidence of blood vessel inflammation and blood clotting issues resulting in microbleeds in the brain. 

  • They also identified inflammatory biomarkers suggesting immunological dysfunction.

  • They had imaging showing the resulting structural brain damages in regions involved in "brain fog"--an umbrella term for the fatigue, memory, and cognitive problems described by many with long COVID.

  • They found some of the brain abnormalities to be similar to patients suffering from neurological diseases including epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and schizophrenia, and other biomarkers similar to those implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition with clinical similarities to long COVID.

  • The researchers found no difference in age in this study, again affirming that long COVID is happening to people of all different ages. 

  • Information on biomarkers may help those who are suffering from long COVID to identify it, find support for it (i.e. disability support), and hopefully will aid in developing treatments in the future. 

Long COVID is NOT Rare


Importantly, LONG COVID IS NOT RARE-- it is common. It has affected millions of people and can cause a wide range of serious complications including disability and death.

The effects of long COVID have and are continuing to show up showing up in steep increases in disability rates in the workforce since 2020, as can be seen in the image below: 




A 2022 Brookings Report shows that long COVID is keeping over 4 million people out of work so far. This impact is not set up to lessen any time soon, due to the continued spread of COVID-19 ad the worsening effect of infections and reinfections on the body.  


Long COVID continues to be serious and prevalent. According to a 2023 Nature article,long Covid incidence is estimated at 10–30% of non-hospitalized cases, 50–70% of hospitalized cases and 10–12% of vaccinated cases  …Symptoms can last for years, and particularly in cases of new-onset ME/CFS and dysautonomia are expected to be lifelong. With significant proportions of individuals with long COVID unable to return to work, the scale of newly disabled individuals is contributing to labour shortages. There are currently no validated effective treatments.”

A 2021 systematic review found more than half of COVID-19 infections resulted in long COVID six months after recovery. A 2023 Nature immunological review concluded “The oncoming burden of long COVID faced by patients, health-care providers, governments and economies is so large as to be unfathomable, which is possibly why minimal high-level planning is currently allocated to it. If 10% of acute infections lead to persistent symptoms, it could be predicted that ~400 million individuals globally are in need of support for long COVID.”

A 2023 Scientific American article stated “the most common, persistent, and disabling symptoms of long COVID are neurological”, later quoting a physician saying, I now think of COVID as a neurological disease as much as I think of it as a pulmonary disease, and that's definitely true in long COVID.” Although formal guidance on how to record long COVID on death certificates was not released until 2023, CDC data from early 2024 has shown thousands of deaths of US citizens from long COVID.

The only way to prevent long COVID is to prevent COVID-19 infection. In reality, we should not be only using the short-term infection risks to gauge COVID-19's danger, but instead talk about the different types of dangers during each phase and inform people to be on the lookout.


But what if I'm vaccinated!?

Although there has been a lot of public health messaging pushing vaccines as the solution to COVID-19, vaccines alone cannot slow down the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and they fall short as a solution to COVID-19 risks due to their inability to prevent COVID-19 infection and transmission (vaccinated people can still get infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others). Furthermore, their effectiveness wanes significantly over time and by variant (this preprint shows progressive loss of neutralization observed across newer variants, irrespective of vaccine doses, and notes that the updated XBB.1.5 booster significantly increased titers against newer variants but not against JN.1 (JN.1 is the most prevalent variant in the US currently as of March 2024). And what do vaccines do for long COVID risks? A landmark 2022 study shows only a modest risk-reduction of 15% for long COVID amongst vaccinated individuals.  They have benefits, and reduce some risks, but the answer to the problems we face lies in actually preventing transmission, and that is something vaccines are not currently able to do on their own.

It is also important to note that preventing transmission is not only important to lower YOUR own health risks, but it is also important for lowering the risks to OTHER PEOPLE. As stated earlier, a person's vaccination does not stop them from transmitting COVID-19 to others.  So, even if you think that your risks are low enough and that you are OK in taking higher risks without protections like masking-- this decision affects OTHERS too, others who may not want to take those risks in lieu of masking. Others who may face even higher risks due to health, age, socioeconomic reasons, or because they do not have vaccine protection.

For instance, some people cannot get vaccinated (such as those with certain allergic reactions or other contraindications). Some will not get vaccinated (such as those with medical mistrust (often due to very real former medical trauma that has affected their ability to trust medial professionals and has caused many people to be psychologically resistant), or those who are concerned about risks of developing conditions, which although rare can happen, or who are afraid of having adverse reactions to the vaccines. Others feel they do not need to get vaccinated because they think COVID-19 and long COVID doesn't affect healthy or young people due to the poor public health messaging that has occurred over years, and the lack of visibility of those who are using precautions. The overwhelming research showing COVID-19 does have high risks to health is not being adequately communicated to the public at this time. And then, some who get vaccinated do not gain protection from it due to having immunosuppression from other conditions or medications. Finally, there are those who are not staying up to date with vaccinations. The percent of the US population reporting receipt of the updated 2023-24 COVID-19 vaccine is only 13.7%. 

We are all interconnected, and no one can run the world on their own. We need to take a united stance. The fact is, the long-term effects from COVID-19 affect all demographics and health statuses, including young, formerly healthy people, and vaccinated people. It important for us all to use tools to prevent COVID-19 infection, and that means masking and cleaning the air.


If It Hasn't Gotten Me By Now, Doesn't That Mean I'm In the Clear?

If you haven't had any long-term effects after your first infection, and/or if your first infection was not severe, it does not mean you will not in your second, third, or fourth. Most people suffering from long COVID had mild initial infections. Because long COVID symptoms often do not appear until months after infection, many fail to connect their long COVID symptoms to their initial COVID infection-- which may have even been asymptomatic. Research shows that asymptomatic infections are both transmissible to others AND that they can result in long COVID. A 2021 study showed one-fifth of asymptomatic cases end up developing long-lasting symptoms.

There is not long-term immunity to COVID-19, and reinfections with new variants are common whether you are vaccinated or not. Any infection-gained immunity is short-lived. A recent Lancet study shows that reinfections are actually more likely AFTER prior Omicron infection (not less). And there is a growing body of research on long-term COVID-caused immune damage that refutes the ill-formed "immunity debt" hypothesis that has spread rampantly in the media and caused some people to fear using the tools that can protect them.

Importantly, the chance of poor health outcomes increases with every reinfection, as can be seen in this groundbreaking 2022 Nature study, summarized in the image below.  


Long COVID is NOT a thing of the past. Research is showing that it is still causing population-wide problems across the globe. March 2024 data shows that long COVID cases are surging in the US. A 2023 study on long COVID among Canadians showed that: "on those who reported ever experiencing long-term symptoms, those who continue to experience these symptoms (58.2%) outnumber those who have reported them resolved (41.8%).

As of June 2023, an estimated 2.1 million Canadian adults continued to experience long-term symptoms after a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection that could not be explained by anything else. Almost 80% of these adults had been experiencing long-term symptoms for 6 or more months and about half reported no improvement in their symptoms over time. When at their worst, these symptoms often or always limited daily activities for more than 1 in 5 Canadian adults who continued to experience long-term symptoms at the time of the survey. In addition, among adults who experienced long-term symptoms and were employed or attending school, more than 1 in 5 missed work days because of their symptoms."

They also showed increasing risks with each reinfection, as can be seen in the image below:

Long COVID can be serious and debilitating, often reported to impact life worse than cancer and other diseases. Intense fatigue and "brain fog" (a term some say is too mild and should be referred to as brain damage) from long-COVID was rated worse than those recovering from stroke, and similar to that of Parkinson's disease. Recovery remains rare. It affects all ages and demographics. Kids have been shown to be much more susceptible to Omicron infections than prior variants, with resulting damage to their lungs, immune systems, increased risk for diabetes, and systematic review showing a 1 in 5 chance of children getting long COVID.Lancet study found the long COVID risks to be between 20-30% in children


What are we supposed to do then?

Why, wear a mask, of course! (We are the Maskers Comic after all!) And it is the easiest thing anyone can do to help get things back on track-- when you go around others households, wear a respirator mask, like an N95, KF94, KN95, or better

We are firm believers in using methods to prevent infection in the first place, because preventing COVID-19 infection protects against the acute effects of the disease, prevents further transmission to others, and prevents long COVID. It will help us in both the short-term and long-term to reduce transmissions both in our personal health, the health of others around us, and it will advance our fight against COVID-19 by reducing infections and slowing down its evolution, making the vaccines and treatments we do have more effective for longer periods of time.  

 

Respirator masks work but One-way masking on its own is not enough


Respirators, like N95 masks, along with cleaning the air, are non-invasive ways to filter out the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the air, making it much more difficult for it to infect you. And yes, we can filter out the virus. We have plenty of studies and real-life examples on the efficacy of N95 masks in filtering out aerosols, and many industries use them from firefighters fighting wildfire smoke, to people spraying pesticides, to carpenters using power saws to cut wood. They can capture tiny particles INCLUDING those that the virus travels on. 

Wearing a respirator mask (N95, KN95, KF94, or better) as opposed to a surgical mask makes a huge difference. In a real world study on the efficacy of respirator masks in a COVID ward, when surgical masks were replaced with FFP3 (N95) respirators for nurses on a COVID-19 ward, infection risk declined by 52%-100%.

A pre-COVID study showed respirator masks significantly reduced infections with airborne pathogens, also showing continuous use of respirators to be more effective than intermittent use.

A 2021 report published in Science concludes face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS CoV-2 transmission, while also acknowledging that mask efficacy depends on airborne viral load, adequate fit and filtration, and other protections used.Masks work better at lower viral densities.  Respirator masks sometimes may have gaps, leaks, or times where we take the mask off for various reasons. Fit test kits can be expensive and most people are wearing non-fit tested masks. Even just one infected individual can expel a high amount of virus into the air. Having more people masking, reducing the number of infectious people in a space (by telling those with suspected or positive cases to stat home for 14 days), adding enhanced filtration of the air (to 6-12 air changes per hour), reducing the density of people in a space (to allow for increased personal space between people as well as reduce buildup of viral particles), and decreasing time in higher risk situations that are lacking even one of these strategies, are all important. Combining masking with good air filtration is especially effective. A 2022 study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that fit-tested N95 mask combined with a portable HEPA filtration system offers the best protection against viral particles in the air.

In the image below from Sanford Health, you can visualize how the risks of COVID-19 infection and transmission decrease with more people masking. When the non-infected person is the only one wearing a mask, the chance for infection is still high.


A 2021 PNAS study found that when

  • only the non-infected person wears a surgical face mask, with an infectious person speaking at a distance of six feet, the risk for infection reaches 90% after 30 minutes.

  • With only the non-infected person wearing an N95 respirator mask in the same situation, infection risk remains at approximately 20% after one hour.

  • When neither wears a mask the risk of the infectious person transmitting to the non-infected is 90% after only a few minutes.

  • However, when both wear a well-fitting N95 mask, infection risk is only 0.4% after an hour. (Note: newer variants are even more infectious than the variants that were around when this study was done, meaning time to infectious dose may be less than these estimates). 

It is really important for us to advocate for others to mask along with us in a space-- ESPECIALLY in spaces we have to spend more than an hour of time in (even 20% is too high of risk for me personally, and that is just for 1 hour of one way masked time, using an estimate with LESS contagious variants than we have currently according to the above study). According to a 2023 study, transmission can happen in as little time as 20 seconds to 4 minutes. A Nature study from December 2023 also showed transmission can happen in as little as a few minutes in normal conditions.

Adding the correct infection prevention strategies makes huge a difference. A 2021 study showed universal masking is significantly better than one-way masking. And research shows adding mask requirements reduces the spread of COVI-19.2022 research article found that the mean observed level of mask wearing corresponded to a 19% decrease in the reproduction number (a measurement of how many people each infected person spreads COVID-19 to) , and stated that “the evidence that mass mask wearing reduces transmission implies that mandates (and other mask-promotion policies) may be effective against COVID-19 if and when they improve or increase the use of masks.” Adding increased air filtration also makes a difference. A 2022 study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that fit-tested N95 mask combined with a portable HEPA filtration system offers the best protection against viral particles in the air.

We give more information on these all of these topics in our Multiple Layers: A Step Beyond the Swiss Cheese Model, where we also discuss the importance of clear public health messaging, such as the importance of openly acknowledging and expressing the risks of COVID-19 and long COVID, the need to push for political action, and the need for policies that prioritize public health over short-term economic interests. We also talk about the important responsibility of each individual and organization to develop effective strategies on how to prevent COVID-19 in our homes, schools, workspaces, and communities, and take a look at how to properly use the tools we have to prevent infection.

We all deserve to be given the information and tools we need to keep ourselves and others safe, while also being social. Creating that opportunity is what this website is all about. 

So, in short, is COVID still dangerous? Yes! Yes it is.


fight bad policies by creating good ones

Here are a few of our most recent pieces, developed to combat reduction in protections:

1: "Infection Control Policies Work" Although the short- and long-term risks of COVID range can be chronic, disabling, and deadly, it is important to know there are reasonable policies we can implement now to significantly reduce these risks. Read more here to learn what can be done, and feel free to share this short document (4 pages) with your schools and workplaces.

2: "CDC's 2024 Isolation Policy Change Unsupported; 14 Days Needed", fights back on CDCs reduced isolation time recommendation that appallingly encourages known contagious people to return to work and school; We advocate for a research-backed 14-day minimum isolation with test-out in order to reduce both symptomatic and asymptomatic spread (each makes up approximately half of the total spread of COVID-19). 

3: "Summary of the 2024 Senate Hearing on Long COVID":  COVID-19 is not the flu, and it poses much higher risks in both its acute infection state as well as in its long-term risks (often referred to as long-COVID or Post Acute Sequelae of COVID (PASC). Read more about the urgent long COVID problem addressed at the 2024 Senate hearing, and find out why action to increase long COVID awareness and research was given bipartisan support by senators. 

We have the knowledge and tools to fight back against poor policies and systems that do not benefit anyone, and we can create change for the better through clear, effective policies! Read more below, in "Clear Public Health Messaging Using Multiple Layers: A Step Beyond the Swiss Cheese Model", presented at the 2023 World Health Network Clean Indoor Air Expo, and which includes a comprehensive supportive document on what the layers of protection are and how they interact. 

Clear Public Health Messaging 

Multiple Layers

A Step Beyond the Swiss Cheese Model:

How Do the Layers Actually Work and How Do They Interact?

What's new

World Health network

The Maskers Comic is proud to be volunteering with the World Health Network, a global network that aims to identify problems and find solutions to the problems COVID-19!

Expo short highlight: Aaron Collins (aka the Mask Nerd)

What's new

Air Support Project

The Maskers Comic is proud to be volunteering at Air Support Project, a social start-up that aims to find affordable solutions to cleaning indoor air. See a snap shot of our comic below featured in Clean Air Times Magazine, Air Support Project’s quarterly science, health, and lifestyle publication. You can get a free download of the first edition of Clean Air Times below. 

Air Support Project's Mark Denning 2023 Clean Indoor Air Expo (full)

The maskers comic Presents

the bad news

Research shows long COVID risks are substantial after infection, and they rise significantly after each reinfection.
Heart disease risks

Today show

March 2023

Data shows link between COVID-19 and heart disease. The risk has increased notably in healthy and young people between the ages of 21-45, whether vaccinated or not, and whether initial illness is mild or not. 
The maskers comic Presents

the good news

If we can hold out long enough and not get infected, it would give time for new therapies and technologies to develop. 
FUTURE POTENTIAL GAME-CHANGERS ARE BEING STUDIES AND ARE IN DEVELOPMENT:

Medicines that  Prevent Infection / Antivirals / New Vaccines

New Antiviral approved for emergency use in US

March 2024
Ensitrelvir (known in Japan as Xocova®), an oral antiviral drug for COVID-19  currently approved under the emergency regulatory approval system in Japan, is a 3CL protease inhibitor. SARS-CoV-2 has an enzyme called 3CL protease, which is essential for the replication of the virus. Ensitrelvir suppresses the replication of SARS-CoV-2 by selectively inhibiting the 3CL protease. Ensitrelvir is the first antiviral agent to show both clinical symptomatic efficacy for five typical Omicron-related symptoms (primary endpoint) and antiviral efficacy (key secondary endpoint) in a predominantly vaccinated population of patients with mild-to-moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of risk factors, in the results of the Phase 3 part of the Phase 2/3 study conducted during the Omicron-dominant phase of the epidemic. With regard to safety, most adverse events were mild in severity and no deaths were seen in the study. 

Phase 2/3 study also indicated a potential for reduced risk of development of long COVID and further evaluations in this regard are still ongoing.
 UPDATE:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Fast Track designation to ensitrelvir for COVID-19. FDA Fast Track designation is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of potential new therapies that treat serious conditions and fulfill an unmet medical need.



Inhaled vaccines that can prevent infection show promise in monkey trials

Learn more about inhaled vaccine research here: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-04-vaccine-strategy-line-endless-boosters.html 


New Medication to Prevent COVID Infection and Reverse some effects of Long COVID

June 2023
NACE2i, a new drug developed by QIMR Berghofer could transform the treatment of COVID-19 by potentially protecting against infection by any SARS-CoV-2 variant and reversing the persistent inflammation that is a major driver of debilitating long COVID.
Next step is beginning clinical trials.


Scientists Discover A Receptor that Blocks COVID-19 Infection

February 2023
"The research opens up an entirely new area of immunology research around LRRC15 receptor and offers a promising pathway to develop new drugs to prevent viral infection from coronaviruses like COVID-19 or deal with fibrosis in the lungs."

Sponges to the Rescue!

April 2023 
University of British Columbia researchers have identified three compounds that prevent COVID-19 infection in human cells, derived from natural sources including a B.C. sea sponge.
The discovery paves the way for the development of new antivirals for COVID-19 variants. 

NATURE STUDY: NEW ANTIBODY NASAL SPRAY MAY INHIBIT COVID 19, EVEN NEW BA AND XBB VARIANTS 

March 2023
"TriSb92 could be useful as a nasal spray for protecting susceptible individuals from SARS-CoV-2 infection."

Next steps include trials.

New Technologies  to better Detect COVID

Inexpensive Real-Time COVID Detection (All variants)

July 2023
"This study demonstrates a proof-of-concept pAQ monitor built by coupling a wet cyclone-based PILS with an ultrasensitive MIE biosensor. The chamber experiments and indoor air sampling inside the apartments of two SARS-CoV-2-positive patients demonstrate the high virus capture efficiency of the wet cyclone even in low virus concentration environments. The high sensitivity (77–83%), high time resolution (5 min), low LoD (7-35 RNA copies/m3), and automation capability of the pAQ monitor make it an ideal choice for affordable real-time detection of viruses in different indoor environments such as schools, residences, offices, conference halls, and crowded public places, where real-time virus monitoring (longitudinal or grab sampling) would enable the occupants to take immediate action to prevent or limit the air transmission of SARS-CoV-2."

COVID-Causing Virus in Air Detected with High-Tech Bubbles

October 2022
Scientists say this low-cost detection system can accurately detect Covid 19 and requires a much lower level of viral particles, and produces fewer errors that current technologies.
The team published its findings online Oct. 25 in MRS Communications.

Breathalyzer That Can Detect COVID-19

April 2023
Based on Nobel Prize-winning frequency-comb technology detects SARS-CoV-2 infection with excellent accuracy, showing its capability to diagnose disease in exhaled human breath. (not out yet, hopefully soon!)



New COVID and Long COVID  Treatments

Common Diabetes Drug metformin could reduce risk of getting long covid if Taken soon after infection

June 2023

When metformin was started within 3 days of symptom onset, patients had a 41.3% lower risk of developing long COVID. (Note: Metformin risks/benefits for individuals needs to be discussed with doctor -- some say this study was not done rigorously enough to show the true effect which nat be lower, and that metformin may only reduce risks for certain types of long Covid and only for those at greater risk for that type of long Covid). More research is needed to answer these questions.


Diagnostic skin test for certain neurological disorders related to long COVID

August 2023

new skin test has proven effective at detecting alpha-synuclein clumps (the misfolded proteins in the nervous system that indicate a disorder), thereby providing a means of clinically diagnosing diseases like Parkinson's at far earlier stages. 

Low-Dose Naltrexone Shows Promise In Treating Long COVID

February 2024 Science Direct Study 

2022 Article 

Studies shows Low-dose naltrexone may be a promising treatment for long COVID, reducing symptoms and helping to clear the virus out of the body. 

Naltrexone is FDA-approved to treat alcohol use disorder and opioid addiction, but it has also been used off-label in low doses to treat inflammatory diseases, including long COVID.

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN CHAMBERS TREATING LONG COVID

Some patients have had good outcome at Long COVID treatment facilities, such as this Florida  Treatment Facility (for symptoms of brain fog, memory, cognitive  issues due to long COVID). A recent study found it can improve the quality of life, quality of sleep, psychiatric and pain symptoms of patients suffering from long COVID and that the clinical improvements gained by HBOT are persistent even 1 year after the last HBOT session, see Long term outcomes of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in post covid condition: longitudinal follow-up of a randomized controlled trial | Scientific Reports (nature.com).

NEW TREATMENT FOR GUMMY PHLEGM IN SEVERE COVID THAT CAUSES BREATHLESSNESS

2022

paper published May 2 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation describes a recently concluded clinical trial of a small-molecule drug that’s been shown in lab studies to prevent the buildup of hyaluronan, a substance responsible for thick sputum that causes severe breathlessness in COVID and long COVID patients. 


NEW STUDY DISCOVERY ANTIBODY THAT MAY BE UNDERLYING CAUSE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANY LONG COVID SYMPTOMS

March 27th, 2024

"Researchers led by UVA’s Steven L. Zeichner, MD, PhD, found that COVID-19 may prompt some people’s bodies to make antibodies that act like enzymes that the body naturally uses to regulate important functions – blood pressure, for example. Related enzymes also regulate other important body functions, such as blood clotting and inflammation. Doctors may be able to target these “abzymes” to stop their unwanted effects. If abzymes with rogue activities are also responsible for some of the features of long COVID, doctors could target the abzymes to treat the difficult and sometimes mysterious symptoms of COVID-19 and long COVID at the source, instead of merely treating the downstream symptoms." More research is needed. 


New Antibody Treatments

NEW SRNA COVID-19 ANTIBODY TREATMENT 

August 2023

A new sRNA COVID-19 antibody treatment shows promise in preclinical Trials as a variant-proof inhaled medication that targets the virus directly and thus is able to treat even people with impaired immunity, working better than current antibody treatments on the market. 

Scientists discover new antibodies capable of stopping several coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2, potentially preventing future outbreaks

July 30th 2023

These antibodies can neutralize virtually all known variants of COVID-19 (including XBB.1.16), and may have the potential to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks. According to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed Science Advances journal, a team of researchers was able to isolate potent neutralizing antibodies from a recovered SARS patient, who was vaccinated against COVID-19. This work provides encouraging evidence that pan-coronavirus vaccines are possible if they can ‘educate’ the human immune system in the right way,” senior author Wang Linfa, a professor and bat virus expert with Duke-NUS’ Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, said in a news release. Research will continue on the most potent antibody, E7. 

New Antibody Cocktails That More Effectively Target COVID

April 2023
"The strong effect we see with our cocktails is probably explained by the fact that there are more antibodies in different places of the spike protein that 'wave' to immune cells and show where the virus is."

 



While we wait for new tools and treatments to be developed, let's stay safe uSing the tools we currently have to prevent infection and transmission of COVID-19


The Maskers Comics Presents

COVID Is Airborne

That means it primarily spreads through the air, in virus-laden aerosols, that are exhaled by a person with COVID-19, and can linger in buildings for hours. 

Aerosols do NOT drop to the floor with gravity (that is droplets), and COVID is spread in both. So just staying 6 feet away will not protect against getting COVID-19, since the aerosols stay in the air, spread long distances, and stay infectious for hours. This is why we need to wear masks-- and N95 masks at that-- since they are the type of mask that protects against aerosols. 

It is still good to stand 6 feet away while you are masked to reduce the density of both aerosols AND droplets-- ESPECIALLY if the other person is NOT masked. Masks work best at lower viral densities (especially those that are not fit-tested, as most of us are wearing masks have not gone through a professional fit-test). 

An infectious person may not have symptoms and still can be releasing a high amount of virus through aerosols just when talking and breathing. Studies have shown that a person can be infected in a few minutes of exposure. Wearing a mask will greatly reduce your chances, but if the other person is not masked, also give 6 feet or more distance as that will protect your eyes and vulnerabilities in the mask. 

Note that because the infectious aerosols spread into the room and remain in the building for hours, that you cannot just mask when they are there. You will need to keep your mask on and air out the building or home after they leave for a few hours (see ventilation section). 

Check out the one-minute short below for more info:


the maskers comic presents

Jose-Luis Jiminez

View a Short Highlight Clip of Dr. Jose Jimenez presentation at the 2023 Clean Air Expo. His full presentation can be viewed here
The Maskers Comics Presents

Don't just wash your hands, wear a mask!

Because COVID is mostly transmitted by aerosols, just washing hands and/or surfaces does very little to stop transmission. However, N95 masking captures airborne aerosols. 

Just as you wouldn't just wash your hands to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, you shouldn't for COVID-19. Surely washing your hands is a good idea after touching any germy surface and before eating, but COVID-19 is a breath-emitted virus that lingers in the air for hours. 

YouTube video suggestion:

Keith Muse Parody: To Stop An Airborne Virus Just Wash Your Hands (no really, wear a mask) 

Hand-washing does not stop airborne transmission!


Hand-washing is good and all, but it's not stopping Covid-- which is a mostly airborne spread disease

Wearing a respirator mask is the best way to stop COVID!


The Astounding Physics of N-95/ Equivalent Masks

A quick an informative video on the physics behind N-95 masks.
Covid Meme

Mask type Matters

Surgical Masks do not offer reliable protection against airborne particles  (but are better than nothing). Upgrade to unvented n95 Respirator masks or their equivalents or better.


if you only have surgical masks available, then use the

knot and tuck modification

this helps reduce leakages on the sides of the surgical mask and makes it more effective, if N95's are not available. 

Recommended Video: How Does Airborne Transmission Work- WHN Broadcast



respirator masks are recommended for filtering airborne aerosols to prevent the spread of covid-19. there are a few different names for them based on country and regulatory body. see the graphic below from breathe safe air.
the maskers presents

Reusing n95's

Here is some info on how to reuse N95's or their equivalents, by switching the ones you use on consecutive days using the rotate method:
The Maskers COmics Shopping list

A few of our favorite things

We don't get any kick-backs and have no relationships to any of these brands, these are just the ones we like to use personally in our homes and in our lives:

masks, eyewear, And necklace fans


  • IMPORTANT NOTE: There are also N95 masks without metal in them for use in certain medical situations and emergencies, and we strongly recommend keeping some on hand so they are there in case of such situations. They are MRI-safe and can be worn in facilities that may not allow metal.

mask accessories

Sip straw mask insert can be added to most masks to allow safe sipping of beverages without breaking mask seal.

Recommended video

How to put on and take ofF an n-95 mask


Filtering is Fun!

In other words, if you have done things to enhance ventilation and filtration to 6 Air Changes per Hour (ACH), such as adding HEPA purifiers and/or CR-Boxes (see section below to learn how many/what type your space needs to achieve a certain ACH), then it will take them 69 minutes to flush out that space from a person  from another household, particularly if they are not wearing a respirator mask. Note: you cannot base this on whether or not they have symptoms, since asymptomatic spread is common. 

If you get 12 air changes per hour (ACH) , it will take 35 minutes to flush out that space. During that time, you should remain masked. Even if the other person was masked, it is still a good idea to wear your mask during that flush out period, since our masks are typically not fit tested, and people can be imperfect when wearing them. This is especially true if it is not a respirator mask (ie if it is a surgical mask it will have much greater leakage due to looser fit and poorer filtration of the mask material).

If you need to take a quick sip or a drink, you can use either a sip straw mask insert like the one in the section above, or go outside. Sometimes I myself will tell people they can do it, but to be very quick about it (studies show it take a few minutes to inhale enough virus to become infected), and that I don't recommend doing this when other people are also taking a sip at the same time. The virus has gotten more contagious and evolved ways to more efficiently attach to cell receptors, so it's best to make it quick if you need to take off the mask for whatever reason. 

It's CADR Day!

learn how to achieve the needed air changes per hour in your space by determining the Cadr!


Note:  Purification and Ventilation should be done in indoor environments ALONG WITH masking, and it is NOT a replacement for masking. Masking helps prevent short-range transmission from closer exposures, something that ventilation and filtration cannot do. Ventilation and filtration lower the amount of covid-19 particles that might linger in a room, and reduce chances of those particles building up in a room and getting into any gaps in masks over time. 

Total CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate, is a measure you need know for your customized space to achieve the 6-12 ACH, or Air Changes Per Hour, that are commonly recommended to reduce COVID-19 Risks. 

Note:  Purification and Ventilation should be done in indoor environments ALONG WITH masking, and it is NOT a replacement for masking. Cleaning the air makes masking more effective, especially over longer periods of time.

CADR Is What Matters!

To determine the total CADR needed for your space, you can use this formula:

Total CADR needed in cfm (cubic feet per minute) =

(LxWxH of room in feet, multiplied by 12*)/60.

*6-12 ACH are commonly recommended to help lower COVID-19 risks, leaning toward higher end when more people are present or when closer together. We aim for 12 ACH for our calculations. 

For example, a classroom that is 30x30x10 feet will need 1800 CADR to achieve 12 ACH

The math: 

30x30x10= 9000

9000x12= 108,000

108,000/60= 1800 cfm

You can achieve this total CADR by combining the individual CADR from multiple units combined.


For instance, 1800 cfm can be achieved by combining:

  • two extra large room HEPA purifiers combined to reach 600 cfm (so for instance each with a smoke CADR of 300 cfm on the setting it is run on, make sure  it does not use ionizers), AND

  • a DIY air cleaner such as a CR-box (typical CR Box with four 2" MERV-13 filters and a lasso box fan has approx 700 cfm CADR when run on medium), AND

  • with  an a/c unit with MERV-13 AC filters installed turned in the ON position so it is constantly moving air through it , and/or with windows opened 6 inches (as weather permits; can also do this for short times to refreshen the air for 15 minutes a few times throughout the day); these methods can give an additional 1-5 air changes per hour (100-500 cfm in this situation).

so at a high estimates: 600 + 700 + 500= 1800 cfm (which equates to getting 12 ACH),

and at a low 600 + 700 + 100 = 1400 cfm (which equates to 9 ACH)


Note:

  • On HEPAs CADR is listed by manufacturer for your model, under the Smoke CADR setting.

  • For CR Boxes made with 4 20"x20"x2" MERV 13 filters, and a LASKO Box Fan, each unit's CADR is 600 (for low fan speeds) to 800 (at highest fan speeds). 

  • Windows open can vary widely, you can see info about different ways to calculate,  an EPA study, and another study.

  • Here is a real world study showing that you really need a combination of the strategies above to increase ventilation and filtration, AS WELL AS having people wear masks for the purposes of reducing COVID-19 transmission. 


If you don't like doing math, you can also use these CADR, ACH, and/or L/S Calculators BELOW:

LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY CR BOX AIR CLEANER FOR UNDER $100!

what we have in our home

We have acquired multiple HEPA purifiers and built a DIY CR-Box in order to reach 12 ACH in our home. We also air out the home by opening windows up when the weather permits, and during lower allergy times (we have environmental allergies but can do air-outs and run HEPAs and CR-boxes on high, as well as use MERV-13 filters in our AC and that filters out any allergens that get inside out quickly, and does not trigger our allergies).
the Maskers Comic presents

research on treatments that might help

Here is some of the latest research on what might help with reducing the severity of an infection during the acute infection phase if one does slip by your preventative protections. Note to always check with your doctor before taking medications.
I am not a doctor, am not prescribing treatments, and am only providing links research, so that you can discuss them with your doctor. Also, none of these are a cure-all, and you should primarily try to avoid being infected in the first place.
This is just a collection of information, and information is always changing, so my recommendation is to check out the links, and do your own research, and talk to your healthcare providers. In any emergency situation, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Paxlovid (Prescription) Antiviral

Reduces Viral Replication, May Shorten Symptoms Duration, must be taken within 5 days. Talk to your provider, requires a prescription.

OTC Famotidine (ie Pepcid Complete) Clinical Trial 

Shows evidence of symptom reduction.

15 minutes of sunlight a Day Video 
How  photobiomodulation may be helpful for recovery.
XClear Nasal Spray (OTC)

Study suggests it may reduce chances of getting COVID if you have been recently exposed.

Mouthwash

Mouth care for COVID-19 may reduce symptoms and length of infection.

The maskers comic presents

Any space can be made into a Covid-safe space

Watch and Learn from a real Covid ninja!

Masks work in the workplace. see the following for a multiple study review:

Public health Ontario review of multiple studies
the maskers comic presents

don't forget about fred

Below is a sneak peek at drafts of a comic Short, "Don't Forget About Fred", which follows the Maskers crew in their newly developed COVID-safe Bakery business, as they meet a new character, Fred.  
february 2023 whn brOadcast

Paths to healthy learning

 Learn more about how to advocate for clean air, how to create a covid-cautious learning community, how to Use 504 Plans to advocate for your rights and the rights of your household, and alternative schooling options in this broadcast by the World Health Network (and in the PATHS TO HEALTHY LEARNING GUIDE linked below). 
Suggested video

Why do we need clean air in schools

The Maskers comics list

our personal RECOMMENDATION: Homeschooling and public virtual schooling resources

Despite our and others efforts many schools do not appear to be responding to creating safe learning environments. As a homeschool family, we highly recommend homeschool and virtual school over going into most public schools at this time. Here we provide resources with more information. Our journey into schools started pre-pandemic with a Public Virtual School and then we moved to straight homeschooling in 2021 and have been doing so ever since. Here are some resources we use/have used and recommend:
The Maskers Comics

guide to living safe and social

Below is a collection of our best resources to help you sort through the information, stay safe and social, and join the movement of people who are living with COVID-19 not by ignoring it, but by making meaningful changes to safeguard themselves and others by stopping transmission.

Parenting groups that are COVID-safe and virtual on Facebook:

Still Coviding parents eDition (Facebook Group)

Reddit Still COVIDing community

R/ Zero Covid community 
The Maskers Presents

Masks in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals have an extra duty to provide accessibility to vulnerable people, protect all their patients from infection, and be leaders in advocating for masks as a measure for infection control from COVID-19 (along with increased ventilation and filtration). COVID-19 is still a pandemic, transmission is occurring world-wide, and it has significant health impacts. Read more about the movement at Keep Masks in Healthcare

Find health and other service providers in your area who are covid-conscious:

Covid-Aware Therapists in the US, Canada, and Internationally:

the maskers comic presents

psychosocial resources

Below are some resources for patients, therapists, and family members to educate and advocate for COVID safety. 
wear a mask all times of year not just during surges

covid, flu, and rsv can all be reduced by mask use and masks should be used all year long

COVID-19 is not seasonal as it is present all year long and surges happen when new variants evolve that are increasingly immuno-evasive, and their effects can be mediated by the use of protections in place in the community. When events happen that cause an increase in the number of people engaging in higher risk activities (like traveling, especially without mask mandates on public transportation, as one-way masking only offers limited protection), or when there are more people going into multi-household gatherings (especially without protections in place), then we often see huge (and preventable) surges. However, these things happen all times of year. Thus, it is important to implement policies for masking and cleaning the air, regardless of the mass data statistics, to prevent infections to individuals that are damaging in both acute and long-term effects. As you can see from the chart below, unlike flu or RSV, COVID is not seasonal.
The maskers presents

CoviDing can be hard work,

so make sure to make time for safe fun!

How to handle

The Holidays

This is an excellent broadcast by WHN on different options to stay safe with others, communicate boundaries, and offer solutions to keep the holidays safe and social!
The maskers comic presents

Keep holidays special and safe

There are many ways to stay safe and celebrate. Here are a few snapshots of us wearing clear window masks (they make for a great Santa beard!), joining fun holiday zooms, making crafts, hosting all-masked get-togethers in our home (which has enhanced filtration to the 12 ACH), and going on our annual Turkey Hike at the parks!
The Maskers Comic

make your own Advocacy Doodles at saw friday night comic sketches

 
the maskers comics presents

great websites

Here are some other excellent groups involved in advocacy. 

World Health Network 

A network devoted to global compassion—working together to inspire collective action through science for a safer, healthier world.

Air Support Project

Advocating for affordable clean indoor air world-wide, through education, publications, and the development of an affordable, highly efficient air cleaner.

The People's CDC

Answers all your questions on what we know and what we are learning about long COVID in a user-friendly, easy to understand, yet comprehensive way, and direct you to movements and actions.

Honoring other comic artists of the cause

other Covid awareness comics

Here is a collection of other COVID comics shared from artists across the world. 
Image 3 (below): "What did we learn from COVID?" By  Jen Sorenson
Image 4 (below): from "What's Up With Covid, How to Protect Yourself 2024 Edition"
By Hazel Newlevant
Great works

More Graphics Shared on social media from the covid-conscious community

COVID-19 BLOGS AND WEBSITES
  1. Air Support Project Blog: COVID And Other Airborne Germs – AIR SUPPORT PROJECT

  2. Augey Ray Google Doc Spreadsheet of 400 Studies finding long-term, chronic risks of COVID-19 

  3. Burnout, COVID, and Community Care by Alryt.world

  4. CHRISTINA PAGEL SUBSTACK: ENGLAND IN BIGGEST COVID WAVE

  5. COVID UNDERGROUND SUBSTACK: COVID-FREE MOVEMENT

  6. Covid Tips: How to Talk to Your Family About COVID 

  7. DEREK FRANKS SUBSTACK: COVID ISN'T OVER. YOU'RE IN DANGER. I'M DONE WITH THE GASLIGHTING. YOU SHOULD BE TOO.

  8. DR. RUTH COVID NEWS AND MORE Substack

  9. Dr. Joe’s COVID and Science Substack

  10. Easy Chair Substack (Anthony Leonardi) The Attack on Long COVID

  11. Find Your Tribe WordPress

  12. THE GAUNTLET (JULIA DOUBLEDAY) SUBSTACK (BILLIONAIRES AT DAVOS DON'T THINK COVID IS A COLD)

  13. IMMUNOCOMPROMISED TIMES ON SUBSTACK (COVID-19 TREATMENT INFO IS POORLY ACCESSIBLE AND DIFFICULT TO READ ON STATE, TERRITORY AND DC WEBSITES

  14. It's Airborne (Joey Fox): Equivalent Clean Airflow Rates from ASHRAE 241 Control of Infectious Aerosols (Part 2)

  15. JESSICA WILDFIRE'S SUBSTACK HOW TO KEEP GOING FORWARD IN A WORLD THAT'S GOING BACKWARD

  16. John Snow Project: Everything You Need to Know About COVID

  17. Long COVID Moonshot: Awareness and fundraising for long COVID. 

  18. The Maskers Comic COVID-19 Advocacy, Comics, and Resources

  19. Never Not Broken Substack: Why We Are Like This

  20. Pandemic Accountability Index

  21. PANDEMIC ROUNDUP Patreon 

  22. People's CDC (peoplescdc.org)

  23. The Sick Times

  24. So Very Virtual Substack

  25. TACT NOW INFO SUBSTACK (WHY DID EXPONENTIAL GROWTH STOP IN INDIA?)

  26. TEAMS HUMAN Substack: Everything is Political. Famines are political. And so are pandemics. 

  27. Testimonials of the Collectively Abandoned Zine

  28. Violet Blue: Huge, Free Covid-19 Safety and resource List

  29. World Health Network - WHN

  30. Why our Family is COVID Cautious- Resources


Honoring heroes

Shared art

This art honoring our young maskers was created and shared by Jo Blakely, "Not All Heroes Wear A Cape But They Do.. Wear A Mask"
Razorcake Webcomic #480 by Silas Haglund: "Loud and Fast Punks Wear Masks"
"It's Never Too Late to Start Masking", Artist Unknown
more shared works

Excellent Animations

Below are a few of the excellent animations created by other artists for speeding awareness and education on COVID-19.
The Maskers Comic presents

Creative protesting 

The image here is our pillowcase design to protest the end of the US Public Health Emergency on May 12th, showing us as one of the Millions Missing as a result of increased COVID-denialism in the community. 
the maskers comic

Public comment on HICPAC

Here is a highlight reel of public comments left at the November 2023 HICPAC meeting concerning the inappropriate drafted recommendations for Infection Control in healthcare facilities by HICPAC. 
The Maskers comics

Personal Disclosure

This work I do here on my site is unpaid work. You may be wondering:

Why listen to my work and research here?

My Credentials: 

I have a BA Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida, with over 11 years of continued education experience in allergy, asthma, autoimmune disease, N95 masks, and airborne irritants. I have a disabling autoimmune disease, and am a single parent-- which together equate to a full-time job keeping my child and I safe and social, and making this work a personal calling. 

Unlike many health organizations (like the CDC and WHO) who often get funding for science from political members/countries, I have no reason to make unsubstantiated policies to quell the self-interests of political and/or economical entities of my member states. (Although I refer to studies run by these groups, and support some of their better policies that are backed up by studies, I also point out they times their policies do not match the science, are made for political or economic reasons, and/or are part of their attempt to stay relevant to masses at the expense of their safety.)

Unlike many in the healthcare industry, I am not influenced by money, administative policy, appearances, unruly patients, overworked/limited/overstressed staff, or trying to stay within industry standards to compete and stay in business, all while neglecting science and patient care in the process. 

Unlike many businesses who are prone to overvalue short-term profits at long-term expense, I have no reason to let greed interfere with the health and wellbeing of individuals, or our society as a whole. Health brings more prosperity to us all, even if it takes a little more up front to provide a system that supports it, it more than covers costs and pays back millions-fold. What's good for human health is good for business.

Unlike many politicians who depend on a majority-- a majority that have now been misinformed and misguided, inadequately supported during early pandemic response, and confused by mixed messaging -- I am not encumbered by a need to pander to a crowd to win an election.

Unlike many in "the crowd", I am not confused by the conflicting and often contradicting health organizations' policies, since I do spend any extra time I have staying informed by reading a variety of scientific sources and networking with those in independent global organizations.

Unlike those who know but who cannot manage to put it in their lives due to personal circumstance, I am significantly protected in my personal life from any pressures that may affect my ability to feel safe in talking about/living with COVID-19 precautions.

My Disclosure:

As my health allows, I volunteer with World Health Network and Air Support Project. My comics and works are free to view digitally, although those works that are available for print, may have a print costs associated to cover expenses only. 

I aim to stay informed and share quality information with others, as well as to remind that we need to prioritize each other's health first over all else, because there is no benefit to social without safe, and no need to choose between.  

Never listen to someone who says you have to sacrifice your and other's physical health to obtain good mental health. Good mental health is defined within the context of maintaining good physical health, and that includes using the strategies listed on this website to avoid a viral disease that has proven to affect the body in short- and long-term ways, at a risk higher than we allow for other things. We can take actions that still allow us to participate in our society without undue burden. Remember, a mask is not undue burden; Chronic disease and death are.

Follow The MaskersComic (AKA Zorro COVID) on Mastodon! 

@themaskerscomic@forall.social

"Sometimes you have to evolve systems and traditions because-- there's a freaking airborne viral pandemic that's still killing and disabling and chronically injuring people and your traditions and systems mean nothing if you ignore that. Nothing." 

                              ----Zorro COVID

(and you thought Smokey was Snarky)


Call to action

The time to act is now, but many find it difficult to implement the tools into their lives even though they know they need to. We developed a helpful document based on habit psychology that uses research-back methods to help in this regard. You can view it here in "How to Implement COVID Prevention Strategies using Research-Backed Methods in Habit Psychology"
If you would like to contact us, please email us themaskerscomic@yahoo.com .

You can follow our Maskers Blog  to learn more about a Day in the Life of a Masker. 

Thank you for your interest in staying COVID-conscious.

We wish you the best! 

The Maskers Comic