COVID-19, Masks and Leanpub

We’ve gotten some questions about how Leanpub is affected by COVID-19, so I’m going to answer that here. First, however, I want to say something much more important:

If you need to leave your home for any reason, please wear a mask.

Obviously, if you can stay home, that is absolutely the best thing to do. No one argues that.

However, sadly, there is actually an argument about masks. Yes, in 2020, 17 years after SARS.

Masks were shown to be effective for SARS, and COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, so you would think the answer would be obvious. Also, this is the most important public debate in decades, about anything, so it is not acceptable to stay silent.

My position is simple: Only telling people to stay home is the equivalent of abstinence-only sex education. Saying that masks don’t help is like saying that condoms don’t help. If you are leaving your home for any reason, wear a mask!

Now, I’m obviously not an expert. However, Professor Kim Woo-joo from Korea University Guro Hospital is one of the top COVID-19 experts in South Korea, and South Korea is handling COVID-19 better than most countries are, so you should absolutely listen to him.

If the stress from this past month hasn’t destroyed your attention span, the entire video is absolutely worth watching. I strongly recommend that you go do that right now.

But Professor Kim Woo-joo is just one expert. What do some other experts say?

Well, Larry Brilliant is a pretty relevant expert, since he is the epidemiologist who consulted on Contagion. Here’s an interview with him in WIRED. What does his Twitter feed advocate? Masks and hand washing, of course: here, here and here.

If you want to read a good mainstream article instead, Ferris Jabr has written one in WIRED: It’s Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work.

Or, if you’re tired of reading long things, and just want something pithy to retweet, Naval has got you covered: “Anti-maskers are the new anti-vaxxers.”

If you use Twitter, please make a pro-mask tweet be your pinned tweet. Here’s mine. If you use Facebook, please do whatever it is that people do on Facebook.

But I don’t have any fancy N95 masks or surgical masks! What can I do?

Obviously staying at home and washing your hands is the best thing to do, regardless of whether you have a mask, or what type of mask you have. And again, I’m not an expert, so I’m not going to make any specific claims. However, if you want to learn more about homemade masks, there are a couple of jumping off points here and here for you to do your own research. You can also search #Masks4All on Twitter.

OK, I get it. What else?

First and foremost, our thoughts are with all of the frontline workers all over the world, especially the heroic doctors, nurses and scientists who are working so hard to fight COVID-19.

Our thoughts are also with our authors and readers. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and we hope that all of our authors and readers stay safe and healthy.

(Again, please stay home whenever possible, wash your hands a lot, and wear a mask if you ever go out, so that the nurses and doctors in your city have fewer patients to treat!)

But what about Leanpub?

In terms of Leanpub’s business and operations: We’re based in Victoria, Canada, we all work from home, and our infrastructure is all on AWS. We are all fine so far, and we are taking every precaution to ensure that this remains the case.

We are very fortunate that none of us have to leave our homes for any Leanpub-related reason. So, we’re all staying home as much as possible, and we hope that our authors and readers can stay home as much as possible as well.

We’re not going to post anything about any effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our traffic and sales, other than to say that everything is fine, and that Leanpub authors should not worry about Leanpub at all.

Finally, a number of our authors have been discussing how this is affecting them personally and professionally in their recently-recorded Frontmatter podcast interviews, which we will be publishing in the coming weeks.

Please take care, everyone.

Peter Armstrong

March 31, 2020