Former MythBusters co-host Adam Savage can be, well, savage when it comes to protecting science and the things he believes in. When he posted on Twitter that wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t be seen as weakness, some people started making a fuss and sharing their opinions that masks supposedly don’t protect you. Some even went as far as to say that Savage should brush up on his scientific knowledge.
Despite having a very busy schedule, Savage replied to some of these skeptics and conspiracy theory believers, telling them why they’re wrong and that he won’t miss them if they stop following him.
“To be honest I was considering writing out something more complex but then I remembered: I have no earthly idea why some people can’t see the simple humanity in wearing a mask. It makes me sad,” Savage told Bored Panda when we asked him why he believes so many people resist the idea of wearing masks. Scroll down for the full interview.
Savage also went into detail about why some people might fall prey to conspiracy theories. “Life is unending chaos. We are insignificant, we are born, briefly shine, and then we die. There’s plenty of suffering in between. Maybe, when they’re confronted with that chaos, for some people the idea of a coordinated plan is comforting, even if the plan is against them. At least someone is in charge,” he said.
“Real evil is way more banal, I imagine, than most people think it is. The true horror is preventable, incremental bureaucratic violence perpetrated on the weakest and most marginalized in society. Little people, each afraid for their jobs. Not some nefarious hidden genius with a big plan. I have no idea if I’m right but the odds are with me.”
Savage continued: “Trying to get hundreds or thousands of human beings to keep quiet forever about something huge in a perfectly coordinated fashion is about as realistic as making a skyscraper from jello. Humans are just too squishy and unpredictable.”
He added that the best way to fight coronavirus disinformation is to wear your face mask and not be a jerk: “If there was broken glass all over the floor would you refuse to wear shoes on principle?”
This isn’t the first time that Savage went full-on savage on social media when fighting scientific misinformation. In November 2019, he called out anti-vaxxers and said that they’re not only wrong but also leading to people dying earlier than they should. As you could’ve probably guessed, some of his fans were seething that he was pro-vaccine.
But let’s get back to the topic of masks. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, many politicians warned people not to wear masks because they were afraid that health professionals wouldn’t have enough supplies. Since then, however, lots of countries have changed their tune and urged citizens to wear masks to slow down the spread of the virus.
Chris Kenyon from The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp told BBC Future that the countries that ‘flattened the curve’ used masks in public. According to him, most of these countries are in Asia.
Ben Cowling, the head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong, told the BBC that “face masks could help to reduce transmission in the community particularly if used in public transport and crowded areas.” He and his colleagues recently found that wearing even a standard surgical face mask was enough to “considerably” reduce the amount of virus escaping in the breath and coughs of those who are infected.
According to one unpublished study by scientists at Arizona State University, if 80% of people wore even only moderately effective masks, it could reduce the number of deaths in New York by 17 to 45 percent over a two month period. According to the study, wearing masks that were just 20 percent effective could cut mortality by 24 to 65 percent in Washington and 2 to 9 percent in New York. That is if enough people wore them.