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Face Masks For COVID-19: Believe The Hype

Face Masks For COVID-19: Believe The Hype

There has been a lot of news and controversy lately about wearing face masks. Many experts and laymen claim that they do not work against COVID-19. 

Some complain that their rights are being violated by being forced to wear a mask. Others complain that they are uncomfortable.

Others claim that face masks will deprive you of oxygen, weaken your immune system, give you CO2 poisoning, and even kill you.

It is saddening that many people complain that their rights are violated by being forced to wear a mask.

In a State Of Emergency like a medical pandemic, your rights can be taken in the blink of an eye. It is in the US Constitution, and many other countries have similar laws.

In a pandemic like COVID-19, everyone should wear a face mask for everyone else’s safety. It is in the public interest. It is an empathetic action towards yourself and others. And further, it is a step towards collectively helping eradicate the virus.

Some experts on YouTube emphasize that you don’t need to wear masks and instead concentrate on strengthening the immune system to fight COVID-19. Strengthening the immune system is part of the solution.

However, what about the people who may be at a higher risk due to old age or other medical issues or can’t afford to buy supplements or proper food to help strengthen their immune system?

Recommending not to wear masks is irrational. Everyone is not a nutritionist, or has knowledge on how to strengthen their immune system. Wearing a mask is a simple defensive and protective procedure and they work.

What Are Face Masks?

What Are Face Masks?

Face masks cover the nose and mouth and are intended to stop you from infecting someone and vice versa. Three kinds are in use against COVID-19:

Surgical Face Masks

According to the Food And Drug Administration (FDA), a surgical mask is loose-fitting and leaves gaps around the nose and mouth. It does not completely seal the surrounding areas.

They keep splashes or droplets of saliva from entering your mouth and nose. The mask consists of three thin layers. The outer and inner layers are waterproof; the main reason why large particle droplets from coughs, sneezes and talking will not enter your mouth or nose. 

The middle layer is a nonwoven fabric used for the filtration of microns as small as 0.3 but is not effective against sub-micron particles.

The only drawback is that coronavirus particles are between 0.06 microns and 0.14 microns in diameter and average about 0.125 microns. 

Surgical masks are meant to protect you from large-particle droplets and not aerosol. COVID-19 in an aerosol mist will get through the surgical masks. 

The point is to put the odds in your favor and to weaken the virus’s impact if it does infect you. So, a surgical mask is worth the effort.

These face masks should not be used more than once. Discard them after the first use. 

Respirator Face Masks (N95)

An N95 mask is intended to protect you from breathing in sub-micron particles, which might contain viruses like COVID-19. 

N95 masks fit tightly when you put them on. They do not leave open gaps around your mouth and nose as the surgical masks do. You have no choice but to inhale air directly through its filter.

They can stop you from inhaling aerosols like disinfectants, smoke, gases, and respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses. 

Although N95 can only prevent particles as small as 0.3 microns, it can still stop COVID-19 even though it is much smaller than 0.3 microns. This is because the virus always attaches itself to something in the air, like dust or a droplet of saliva, making it easier for this mask to stop it from entering your mouth or nose. 

Also, an N95 mask uses “electrostatic absorption.” Particles like in COVID-19 will be drawn to the fiber like a magnet and trapped there, instead of flying through.

Healthcare professionals, construction workers, miners, etc. mostly use N95 masks. They are not intended for public use.

If you suffer from a breathing condition, speak to your doctor before attempting to wear an N95 mask.

NOTE:  In a community setting, you do not have to wear an N95 mask. It has been shown in a large randomized clinical trial that it does not work any better than surgical masks at preventing viruses from entering your body.

Cloth Face Masks

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that people wear masks made from cloth to protect themselves or others from COVID-19 even though there is evidence that they do not work as good as surgical or N95 masks.

Cloth face masks are intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are in public settings.

There is new evidence in a brand new scientific study recently published stating that,

  • …wearing simple homemade or surgical face masks in public is highly recommended if no particle filtrating respiratory mask is available. Firstly, because they protect against habitual contact of the face with the hands and thus serve as self-protection against contact infection. Secondly, because the flow resistance of the masks ensures that the air remains close to the head when breathing, speaking, singing, coughing and sneezing, thus protecting other people if they have sufficient distance from each other.” 

So, it appears from this thorough and extensive study, that cloth face masks do help to a great degree. If an infected person coughs, the virus particles will not become airborne.

The bottom line is that this new study, after using intricate testing, has proven that all masks work to a degree, some better than others, but they all contribute to slowing down the virus.

Do Face Masks Work Against COVID-19?

Do Face Masks Work Against COVID-19?

Anecdotal Evidence

1.man infected with COVID-19 used two different buses to travel to his destination. On the first bus, he did not wear a mask, but on the second he did.

During the first ride, which took about two hours, he began coughing on the bus. He was not aware that he might have been infected with COVID-19. There were 39 other passengers on the bus with him, and many did not have on a mask.

The bus stopped at a town. The infected passenger got off, purchased a face mask, and hopped on a second bus for a 50-minute ride to his final destination.

On the second bus, there were 14 other passengers with him.

After a contact-tracing investigation, it was discovered that the man infected five people on the first bus, where he did not wear a mask and infected none on the second bus where he did wear a mask.

The investigation signified how crucial masks are at protecting you from COVID-19.

2. In a recent event, June 21, 2020, children decided to participate in an overnight summer camp in the USA. They were all negative for COVID-19 before entering. While there, there was a lot of singing and cheering. None of them wore masks.  Within two weeks, almost everyone in that camp tested positive for COVID-19 – Including the children and teenagers.

3. In another event,(See July 24 — Virus rips through Israeli school after masking is suspended), 153 students and 25 members of school staff became infected with COVID-19 after being allowed to remove their face masks due to a heatwave.

Scientific Evidence

1. In scientific research conducted in the USA with a real-life natural experiment, it showed that states in the US mandating face masks to be worn in public had a more significant drop in daily COVID-19 growth rates after announcing these orders than states that did not issue orders.

The results imply that mandating face masks in public could help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

2. In another scientific study published a few days ago, August 2020, it reviewed numerous randomized clinical trials of how face masks fared in a community setting.

The results were evident. The study stated the following:

  • “In the community, masks appeared to be effective with and without hand hygiene, and both together are more protective.” 

The study further announced:

  • The evidence suggests protection by masks in high transmission settings such as household and college settings, especially if used early, in some trials if combined with hand hygiene and if wearers are compliant. If masks protect in high transmission settings, they should also protect in crowded public spaces, including workplaces, buses, trains, planes, and other closed settings.

In other words, face masks do work against COVID-19.

3. In yet another study published on April 3, 2020, it confirmed that surgical face masks:

  • …significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.

The bottom line is that surgical face masks can stop an infected individual from spreading these viruses.

Side effects of wearing face masks

Side Effects Of Wearing Masks For An Extended Period

There has been a lot of debate that face masks can do more harm than good when combating COVID-19. It has been claimed that masks will weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to catching COVID-19.

It has been claimed that wearing masks for extended periods will give you brain damage, lower your oxygen level, and breathe in more carbon dioxide (CO2) and make us sick.

Let’s take a look at the evidence.

1. The Vanderbilt University Medical Center had this to say about the extended use of face masks:

  • Prolonged use of any face mask, including the N95 respirator, has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity or lack of adequate oxygen in healthy people.”

They then explained that healthcare workers wear a mask for long periods, and not one of them ever got sick from it. 

And I assure you that there have been millions of doctors, nurses, dentists, etc., throughout the world that have been using face masks continually for years, and I cannot seem to find any adverse cases where one of them died from it.

2. Other experts in the field of infectious diseases have stated that:

  • Infectious disease specialists said there’s no evidence to support the idea that cloth and surgical masks—the blue rectangular masks typically worn by nurses and doctors—lead to breathing problems. They don’t fit tightly enough to impede airflow or trap carbon dioxide.

And truthfully, this is common sense. You can still breathe normally while wearing surgical or homemade face masks, due to the gaps around your mouth and nose.

3. The American Lung Association has clearly stated that there is absolutely no evidence that face masks lower your oxygen level or weaken the immune system. And they further noted that they wear them all day long.

The only caution is that if you have a lung or heart condition, you should speak to a doctor before you wear a respirator mask (N95).

Summary

Face masks can put the odds immensely in your favor when fighting COVID-19. 

Despite the conspiracy theories and false rumors, face masks do not harm you. My only advice is not to wear masks when you are working out or doing strenuous work. Stay away from crowds, and practice active hand-hygiene.

I compare face masks to a boxer’s defense against a punch. When Floyd Mayweather would box, he would either block his opponent’s punch entirely with his right palm and if the punch did get through, he would use his left shoulder to weaken the blow by allowing it to rebound off of it before it hit him.

Face masks can stop virus droplets entirely or weaken their potency if they do get through.

Up to 40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. They can have the virus and spread it unintentionally.

Would you want to be responsible for sickening or even killing someone if you infected them with COVID-19? And more so, even the opposite. If you can breathe, you can catch it. This virus has no prejudice or mercy. Everyone is a potential victim!

FACE MASKS ARE NOT MAKING PEOPLE SICK, COVID-19 IS!!!