This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Real Benefits or Security Theater?
There have been some nasty confrontations between people over wearing face masks. One side thinks they’re helpful, both at protecting themselves from COVID-19, and protecting others from contracting it if they happen to have it. The other side thinks they don’t work. The divide has fallen down party lines, as Republicans learn more about the masks’ inefficacy. They question the so-called experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci as well, who has reversed his position on wearing them.
Mask proponents tell those who won’t wear them that they are rude and inconsiderate, jeopardizing the health of others, especially the elderly. Those who don’t wear them just want to be left alone. Now I’m not addressing situations where the government or business requires them. I’m referring to this insistence that we must all wear them everywhere, even though it’s only optional.
How Effective ARE They?
A.J. Smuskiewicz, a biologist who used to work with bacteria and viruses, is not wearing one during this pandemic. In order to fully protect himself in the lab from viruses, he needed a full-face, silicone respirator with double HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. The device was custom-fitted and he was specially trained on how to use and maintain it. He also underwent a medical examination to make sure it would not would not worsen any existing health conditions, such as respiratory or blood pressure problems.
“The silicone mask provided an air-tight seal against the skin around the nose and chin. The filters blocked gaseous chemicals and airborne viruses and bacteria from entering the nose or mouth, and the clear plastic face shield protected the eyes and the rest of the face.”A.J. Smuskiewicz, Biologist
The professional quality, personally fitted N95 masks/respirators used by medical personnel only block 95% of .3 microns viruses, that’s what the 95 refers to. The COVID-19 virus can be as small as .06 microns, small enough to get in and out of those respirators. On top of that, regular Americans have been told not to use them so there will be enough left for medical personnel.
The surgical masks that people are wearing aren’t even meant to block viruses. They are designed primarily to block large splashes of blood and other fluids. This in order to prevent contamination with pathogenic microbes transmitted during medical procedures. They don’t even pretend to claim to block a large percentage of viruses. They may block someone from sneezing on you, but not the viruses inside.
This begs the question: If the masks were so effective, why is the government still recommending social distancing?