The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

On Respirators, Masks, and Getting Through the Pandemic

With permission, I’ve elevated this comment, as I think it may be helpful to those trying to get through Covid.

Here’s how you get through this pandemic:

I buy N95 from Uline in bulk 300 respirators (15 cartons) at a time. It works out to less than a $1 per day for a fresh respirator everyday per person. The link is right here: . Where I live, Uline delivers in 1-2 days direct from their warehouse.

These Uline respirators are a ‘manly’ man’s respirators. They are itchy and rough but are a very tight fit on my face and I can endure. Working without taking time for sickness is important to me (+ I perform mentally very challenging tasks and can not lose any IQ points to COVID even if I otherwise have no severe symptoms). If you are not into that, these Korean DOBU respirators are the softest thing you will ever find:

They are as soft as a plush toy but a bit too small for me. Women and children love these respirators.

We have tested close to a dozen of brands of respirators (blowing between 2-3K to purchase samples), and most were wanting in one aspect or another. LG health Patriot Mask ( just has this nasty plastic smell that I can’t stand but otherwise is rather soft and well-fitting. Some are willing to overlook the smell (or air the respirator for a couple of days before using it).

I have a shelf on the inside side of my home door where I keep boxes of respirators. Before I step out I put one on, always. On the outside side of my home door, I have a trash bag, when I come back, I put the respirator I have on in the trash bag. Always and everyday, by now it is an instinct, a reflex, like putting pants on. I also have special glasses but I wear those only in transit. I do not take the respirator off outside of my home — never. So, no eating in restaurants, no lunch. I also discourage and shut down any parties at work and minimally participate in parties or events thrown by the superiors (which luckily the superiors seem to be on the same page) . When I get home, I wash hands and face, spray hair with 70% alcohol and change into home clothing. Too much you say? To me, it is better than being sick, even mildly. I hate being sick, I am never sick, I don’t remember when I was sick last time. Plus, as I point out above, what my colleagues and I do is intellectually taxing — any IQ point counts.

Ian – please use the comments to discuss getting through the pandemic.


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Taking Omicron Seriously


  1. Lex

    The commenter’s procedures are top notch in every way. While not all will reach the same conclusion in risk calculation vs mitigation, benchmark to this and you’ll be doing well. For example, not all might sanitize their hair or use decon transit glasses. But they might consider making sure they wash their glasses like their hands.

    I just wish everyone would do at least the minimum. Everything would have gone / be going much better if everyone had at least done the minimum.

  2. ProNewerDeal

    Thanks for Ian’s Commenter for his Consumer Reports-like review of N95-type masks.

    By chance does any other fellow USian have a similar review of internet pharmacies, ideally from Canada or Mexico, that sell/ship no-prescription human generic-pharma version Iv3rmect1n?

    FLCCC dot net lists some, & FLCCC’s I-Mask+ Prevention Protocol recommends 2x/wk doseage during times of high prevalence. Yet I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, if there is a good internet retailer you have had a good experience with let us know. If so what was your delivery time experience, from order to home delivery (20 days?).

    (I have the demonized equine version in case of Early Treatment, but would rather use the human version if at all possible).

    IIRC in some nations (Brazil?) human-pill Ivm is available over-the-counter, but exceedingly difficult with or without prescription to obtain her in the Most Exceptional Nation.

    Happy Holidays & be safe out here in these Murican Streets

  3. Ché Pasa

    Surviving the pandemic…

    Main lifestyle change has been reducing travel and socializing to a minimum. We’ve been to three social events this year — all vaxxed and masked and social-distanced. We have hosted one with close vaxxed and masked friends. In a “normal” year we might attend 30 events and host a half dozen or more. We don’t go to the urban centers (Santa Fe and Albuquerque) for anything but health care. We haven’t done any of our usual excursions — say to Bosque del Apache, Chaco or Taos. I did, however, go with a vaxxed and masked friend on a “one last time” trip to California for a week in October, spending most of our time on the coast — thinking the sea air might be some kind of protection (ha!) and being very conscious/careful around friends, relations and strangers on the journey. Folks we encountered were for the most part just as careful, and those who weren’t were respectful of our own efforts at minimizing risk. Even if they were virulently anti-vaxx and anti-mask (thanks, cousin!) Maybe it helps to be old and frail-looking…

    At any rate, my doctors says vaxxing probably won’t do me any good while I’m on infusion treatments, So masking and distancing are the chief means I employ when out and about — which is more often than I would like. I do the shopping, pick up the mail, so on and so forth. Ms Ché mostly stays home taking care of the animals. We don’t have a lot of services out here in the wilderness, and what services we do have are not particularly reliable. When we can, we share what bounty we have with local friends and donate money to what we think are good causes.

    I’ve been taking hydroxychloroquine and D, B, C and zinc supplements for ages, so I’m sure I’m protected that way. Oh wait. Plaquenil is no longer the prophylaxis of choice? What? There’s something else, another cure I should try? I can’t even begin to keep up with all the latest touted alternatives. And I’m sure they work for some people. Just as they are sure the vaccines are killing more people than the Covid.

    We’re lucky in that we have the kind of financial resources and cushions that allow us to make choices even if they’re somewhat limited by our location out in the wilderness. Many local households don’t have those options either by choice or circumstances. Poor people generally just don’t have the kind of support systems the middle and upper classes take for granted. On the other hand, what they do have can sometimes be very dangerous to their health and well-being.

    The policies we live under are not designed for general well-being. By now that should be obvious. Most of us will get through this one way or another, Even a couple of thousand dead a day in the US is not going to make a serious dent in population. But as always, the poor, the sick, the old, the Black and the Brown are taking the brunt of the affliction and are paying with their lives. That is policy.

    We do what we can to mitigate it. Merry Christmas.

  4. GlassHammer

    In addition to masks, HEPA air filters should be a must have item.

    Now if you have the funds I recommend this brand:

    The price of each unit will vary based on the square footage you are trying to cover and the quality of air filter you desire. If you don’t want to cover your entire house or apartment then buy one that covers the area guest will enter and where they will congregate.

    Now if you can’t afford the brand linked above there are guides online showing you how to make one from scratch using a box fan, tape, and home air filters.

  5. Astrid

    I recommend 3M 9205 Aura masks. Good comfortable fit and available from Amazon for under $2 a piece or under $1 in bulk quantities. They are more comfortable and better fit than the fold in two style or hard shell style. Don’t get the Auras with white bands as they were too tight and rigid.

    If you can afford to, buy good N95 masks in bulk and give them to your friends and coworkers. It’s amazing how many people are still wearing flimsy cloth or surgical masks (or worse) because they perceive N95 as being too expensive or unnecessary.

    If cost or waste is a concern, remember that you can reuse masks for multiple wears If you age them a week between wears (plastic bag in a garage, shed, or covered outdoor area should work). If you’re wearing them for office work or shopping, they really should last 5 or more wears. This was done in the early days when masks were in short supply. There might be very slight compromise in protection (though honestly hard to see how, as long as the edges are sealing properly) but certainly better than using inferior masks.

  6. rangoon78

    I told family members that I will give them N95 masks>they just need to ask. I am going to just hunker down. Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has advised the same., unlike Biden.

  7. rangoon78

    A stark contrast to Biden, who appealed to vaccinated and boosted Americans to not panic and try to enjoy the holidays. Trudeau said getting vaccinated, getting boosters and reducing contacts is key… also key: though 3 dose effectiveness against severe disease is good, against infection not so good (and 2 dose poor)—we don’t know what it means for all the countless “mild” Omicron that we see on impacting actual Long Covid! Mild infection still can=Long COVID!

  8. PS

    We have been reusing our KN95 masks since Feb. 2021 after reading the article below from Johns Hopkins and other reliable sources. Key items for us: we normally use them less than 2 hrs at a time; keep used masks individually in paper bags (out of sunshine and dust) for at least 7 days and out of the house; disinfect hands after handling; and inspect them thoroughly before reusing. It’s pretty simple science to follow and comprehend. The virus dies after 3-5 days but one needs to keep the sun from degrading the mask and additional crud from being deposited on them during the 7 days. We’re still alive and healthy, and have only purchased 100 KN95 masks since Feb. 2020. The last sentence was clearly added by John Hopkins’ to avoid lawsuits. People can do their own research and decide for themselves.

    There are several ways to extend the availability of N95 respirator supplies, if we reuse them until they are visibly soiled, structurally damaged, or hard to breathe through.

    Several decontamination methods have been proven to disinfect masks and respirators for reuse. Heat treatment (70oC for 30 min), UV-C radiation, and treatment with hydrogen peroxide gas have been shown to disinfect masks. (See this report from Stanford Medicine, this protocol from Nebraska Medicine, and this one from Duke Health for more information.)

    Another way to safely reuse masks and respirators (both N95 and surgical masks) is to assign seven of them, one for each day of the week, to those health care workers who can reuse the same mask or respirator throughout the day. At the end of each day each mask or respirator is stored in a separate breathable paper bag at room temperature. Write the name and date on each bag to keep track of time in storage. Wait at least 7 days before reusing the same mask. Time will deactivate the virus between uses.

    Continue to follow best practices for 95 mask use. Masks conform to the face of individuals, so masks should be labeled and returned to the same individual for reuse to ensure a good fit. N95 mask use is not recommended for individuals, and individuals should not attempt to disinfect masks at home.

  9. Ian Welsh

    This is more than I do, by the way, but I do think it’s a gold standard of taking Covid seriously.

    Remember, even a small chance multiplies over time, and Omicron is extremely contagious.

  10. Dan Lynch

    Agree with the emphasis on N95 masks.

    If one brand does not fit snugly, try another. I’m currently using a KN95 that does not seal so tight around my nose, but I stocked up on them about a year ago when Chinese N95’s were all that was readily available. 3M 9205’s are on my wish list, and there are some Korean copies that are supposed to be OK.

    You can reuse the N95’s up to a point, if you let them rest in a warm, sunny place in between wearings. A sunny window sill should suffice.

    I don’t know what the long term solution is, but in the short term, it’s N95’s and distancing. I’m triple vax’d but that offers little protection from Omicron infection and maybe only partial protection from Long Covid.

    I used to visit a friend in a nursing home, and was his only regular visitor since his family lives far away. Due to Covid, I haven’t visited him in a year, and I don’t even know if he is still alive (his dementia is too advanced to allow communication by email or even by phone). Imagine that you are in a nursing home, which sucks under the best of circumstances, but sucks even more now because no one has visited you all year. I would love for life to return to normal, but I’m not seeing it in the West because we are too beholding to individualism and money.

  11. NL

    Maybe we should also stop calling these devices ‘masks’, these devices are respirators: ‘a mask or device worn over the mouth and nose to protect the respiratory system by filtering out dangerous substances (such as dusts, fumes, or bacteria) from inhaled air’ (merriam-webster).

  12. cc

    Quite the irony that the Uline family is getting a plug here.

  13. Astrid

    On re-using masks. Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong. My husband reminded me that N95 masks use electrostatic fabric in a layer to capture small particles. So there is a chance that they will lose some of the charge and degrade in effectiveness. If you do reuse, store them for 7 days in a paper bag, away from metallic surfaces.

    Reusing N95 is almost certainly better than cloth or surgical, but it does sound like single use offers the best protection, especially if you’re in dusty or humid environments.

  14. Astrid

    Though according to this, electrostatic filtering might not make much of a difference. But in any case, active decontamination is probably a bad idea.

  15. different clue

    If this comment were to be treated as an ” all things covid survival” comment where people brought information about vitamin and/or mineral regimens which are considered to make the body more resistant to covid prior to being exposed, or are considered to help the body be more pre-ready to keep the covid infection milder than otherwise, then yet more other people might come here to find information and maybe leave yet more information.

    If this comment were to be re-hoisted to the top once a week just like the surviving hard times comment is, it might become an even more easily found and visited go-to comment/thread for covid survival.

    Then again, it might not.

    But if it were decided to run the experiment just to see, it might turn out well and valuable.

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