The Valve Of Shame



A selfish Dublin city centre shopper’s mask allows her a sneaky supply of fresh oxygen

Stop that!

This afternoon.

Valencia, Spain has placed a ban on wearing masks with valves.

To wit:

The valve allows unfiltered air to escape from the mask into a sterile environment. While there’s no known difference between masks with and without valves in terms of personal protection, a mask with a valve isn’t going to protect the people around you – hence the problem….

Government of Valencia Bans Face Masks with Valves! (EuroWeekly)

Earlier: Dispensary


37 thoughts on “The Valve Of Shame

  1. Liam Deliverance

    Its a one way valve, air inhaled goes through the white material, air exhaled goes out via the valve, this reduces moisture inside the mask and works well in a dusty environment for example, where you are protecting the user from the dusty environment. No use for corona virus as you are trying to protect other people from your potentially Covid laden exhalations which come out unfiltered via the valve.

  2. SOQ

    Ok this is getting silly now.

    The lady is wearing the mask outside- there may be other reasons why she needs to keep the air clean?

    1. Bodger

      She’s ruining it for everyone with her big blue valve. Stop enabling this behaviour.

          1. sidhe

            yes, well maybe I’m just annoyed that you didn’t get me the loop the loop I asked fot

    2. george

      You reckon she changes mask when going inside? But anyway the image is just an illustration.

  3. f_lawless

    Here’s an interesting thread for anyone with a bit of aptitude for data analysis:

    ‘many have said things like “we should have done what japan did” or “singapore epidemiologists got it right” but i find this unpersuasive.

    the whole pacific rim had basically no covid regardless of what they did.

    so i fear we’re dealing with a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    some of these countries locked down hard, many did not. some has widespread mask use, many did not. some responded early, some late.

    none of it seems to have made much difference. they were pretty much all in the single digits for deaths per mm and all were 12 or less

    those are extraordinary numbers. they are 1/100th of many EU countries and several US states.

    there is just no way the response was that good and that different

    i have a different theory:

    it was widespread prior exposure to SARS-like viruses. immunity was already widespread.

    the prevalence of existing t cell mediated resistance in the west was 30-60% based on numerous studies.

    I posit that that number was much higher on the pacific rim and would have cut R and symptomatic spread off at the knees.

    this seems a more plausible explanation than “18 countries with widely varying responses all got the same result.”

    and this is borne out in all the countries that neighbor china. we see the same lack of spread in the middle east where MERS has been an issue.

    this seems to pose a real problem for the idea that some NPI (non-pharmaceutical intervention) worked in some pacific rim/ asian countries

    this is the danger of working backwards from a couple outcomes. you say “japan did X” and “japan had low deaths” so X must lessen deaths. but you really need to look at X and see how everyone who did X fared vs similar folks that did not. wary of any claims that start with “X county did Y and got Z, so Y causes Z.”

    that’s anecdote and is not proof of anything. always seek a control group and wide comparison. you can cherry pick or post hoc claim lots of things.

    but that’s not evidence”

      1. f_lawless

        I’m calling your bluff here George. Point me towards something that’s not anecdotal – ie as above “X cherry-picked set of countries, did Y and got Z, so Y causes Z.”

        1. Cian

          Yer man, el gato malo, did the same thing. He has a theory with zero evidence.

          X: “Pacific rim countries had SARS”
          Y: “Pacific rim countries have low rates of COVID”
          Z: conclusion: countries that had SARS have immunity to COVID.

          1. f_lawless

            I wouldn’t quite agree how you phrased it there Cian, but anyway I would argue that whereas one theory is cherry-picking a narrow data set and being interpreted by many as proof that masks, etc prevent the spread of Covid, the other offers an all-encompassing theory – drawing on the Occam’s Razor principle – to explain the extremely low death toll in the pacific rim region. ie why “18 countries with widely varying responses all got the same result.”

            Also, the possibility of acquired cross-immunity from previous exposure to certain SARS-like viruses (coronaviruses) is not just some “out there” theory but comes from a solid scientific basis. See:


            “(Whereas Europe and North America, account for) 78% of global deaths, only 8% of deaths have occurred in Asia where the outbreak originated. Interestingly, Asia and the Middle East have previously experienced multiple rounds of coronavirus infections, perhaps suggesting buildup of acquired immunity to the causative SARS-CoV-2 that underlies COVID-19. This article hypothesizes that a causative factor underlying such low morbidity in these regions is perhaps (at least in part) due to acquired immunity from multiple rounds of coronavirus infections and discusses the mechanisms and recent evidence to support such assertions.

          2. f_lawless

            And not for the first time my comments disappear so I can’t respond to the conversation. And I notice comments from a couple of others have appeared down the page at a time after I posted mine.

            I’ know I’m not the only one to have experienced that. Just who is this mysterious person with their finger on the comment control button? Wondering in this moment is it someone with slightly whimsical, petulant tendencies – ie. “don’t like you much, putting you on cancel for a while, see how you like that”. A comment delayed is a comment denied. :p

  4. george

    The valve doesn’t let more oxygen in. It is a one way valve that lets your breath out which makes the mask more comfortable to wear. It probably reduces the fogging up of glasses too but it means unfiltered breath is passing through the mask.

      1. George

        The caption on the photo still says the woman’s mask is giving her more oxygen. It isn’t.

  5. ReproBertie

    Sensible decision from Valencia. Nice to see someone in charge making efficient and effective decisions with clear communication as to why.

  6. GiggidyGoo

    Pheck sake. This is getting beyond a joke. Masks good, masks bad, some masks good, some masks bad. Reduce oxygen flow, don’t reduce oxygen flow.

    Just saying though – I was out and about on Saturday and wore a mask in any shops I went into. You’re definitely inhaling spent gas from your own lungs as you breath, which means that there’s a lower % of normal air being inhaled.

    1. Liam Deliverance

      One doctor wore a mask and connected himself to a hospital machine, monitored his oxygen/blood levels with it on and with it off, no change.

      Another doctor put on 6 masks, his ears would not take a seventh!, no change in oxygen blood levels when measured with the finger monitor thingy.

      I would imagine nearly all exhaled air passes through the mask with only a tiny amount of c02 left inside the mask to breath back in. Possibly when it gets damp this might increase slightly and maybe some people are sensitive to this change. Also the diaphragm muscles may have to work a little harder to combat the resistance.

      1. ReproBertie

        Saw a similar video with a nurse wearing a CO2 monitor with a mask too. No change in CO2 levels.

        1. italia'90

          Normal air you breath in:
          79% Nitrogen
          20% Oxygen
          1 % trace elements(of which .04% is CO2)

          You exhale 79% Nitrogen
          15% Oxygen
          1 % trace elements
          4% CO2

          What you might be feeling is Mask Anxiety?
          It’s real and has many forms and many symptoms.
          Dermatitis and hives are common initially, which may lead to
          spreading the virus through Surface contact.
          Always wash your hands when in a public setting as soon as you can.
          It’s a big part of the reason we have been spared the full force of the effects of the virus so far imo.

  7. jeremy kyle

    Jaysus, all this moaning about being asked to wear a mask would have you withered. Feck it shur, lets just do nothing.

    1. SOQ

      Yes- let’s do nothing,

      Let’s just get on with our normal lives.

      Let’s stop kidding ourselves that acting like an ISIS bride is going to change how a virus was and is sweeping the globe.

      Let’s protect the vulnerable- especially care for those in private nursing homes, paid for by their children who could’t be ar$ed.

      1. Lilly

        That is really unfair, SOQ. The mother of friends is in a home – she needs round the clock care, often involving more than one adult working together. To say they couldn’t be ar$ed is the pits.

        1. SOQ

          These are not specialist medical facilities which cater for specialist things like dementia- just average ‘for profit’ ran nursing homes and the families just cannot be ar$ed.

          Sorry- but that is my opinion.

          1. Lilly

            The home my friends’ mother is in is staffed with nurses so I suppose that makes it a specialist medical facility. But even in ‘for profit’ homes, as you call them, I wouldn’t rush to judgment.

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