With all of the craziness going on, I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole to mask or not to mask issue.
I get that public health officials have gone back and forth on this, and that masks are not fun to wear. Believe me, an 8-hour retail shift with a mask is ZERO fun.
But with increasing evidence that they work, why is there still push back?
The main viral things that I’ve seen fall into two categories:
- Masks are bad for your health
- Based on the design of masks, they don’t actually help
Let’s start with number 1. Masks, when worn properly (key words), are not bad for your health. They do not trap in unhealthy amounts of CO2 and still allow you to have enough oxygen to be in normal ranges.
In fact, social media has gone crazy recently with doctors posting videos (such as above) if them wearing masks and showing completely normal oxygen saturation numbers (the measure of oxygen in the blood).
Granted, the biggest issue is that masks (talking cloth) need to be cleaned after almost every wear, which I imagine many people need to be better about.
The thing that makes masks seem bad for your health is the psychological component of wearing them. They feel like they’re constricting, the air is hot, and on and on.
Totally understandable. Just know , that physiologically (body and chemistry mechanisms) everything is all good.
Now, number 2. I’ve seen the analogy that people think wearing a mask is like trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.
That is just STRAIGHT UP WRONG in my opinion.
Think of it more like this: The mosquito (virus) is traveling on balls (droplets). You have many different types of balls (softballs, basketballs, golf balls, volleyballs, marbles, etc).
The bigger the ball (droplet) the more mosquitoes (virus) that are on the ball.
Now imagine throwing all of these balls at a chain link fence. Some of the balls will get through, or go around the fence, sure, but the bigger balls will be caught in the fence.
In addition, for those smaller balls, they may graze the fence and not travel as far compared to if there was no fence. Granted, I am not an epidemiologist, and there are a lot of factors and microscopic mechanisms that I’m simplifying here.
However, as someone that is versed in healthcare and listening to what public health officials are saying, this is how I understand it compared to the mosquito and fence analogy.
Now you ask (or if you’re not going to then I will pretend like you did), “but where is the evidence for wearing a mask?”
Let me tell you. Based on data from other countries, there is a correlation that mask wearing does in fact help mitigate spread of the virus.
Yes, it is correlative because there are a lot of other factors, but it really does help. Plus, engineers have started coming out with droplet and mask experiments/videos to show how they can be extremely effective in reducing the distance droplets travel from a persons mouth.
Think of it this way, imagine you need to fix your car (stop the virus), but you can’t get an appointment with the mechanic (the vaccine) for some time. You have a bunch of tools (mask, and other options) to make the car functional, so you decide to do that.
Instead of using power tools (mask) you decide to only use manual tools (social distancing, shutting down, etc) because… well… I don’t know why (seems dumb right, get where I am going with this?).
If we have these tools at our disposal and it facilitates the work, why not use them? It’s the same with masks.
Are they the be all end all of this pandemic? No, but used in conjunction with the other tools we have at our disposal, they will definitely help control this thing.
After all of that, I have one semi-off topic question.
Why do people complain that people in America do not care about their neighbors anymore, yet do not wear masks to protect their neighbors?
Seems like a bit of a contraction. Bottom line is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE wear a mask!
I know it sucks to wear a mask and I am definitely/absolutely not trying to shame people. I just want to help show why they do in fact help and try to change your mind to help us all.
Ultimately though, it is your decision. Keep in mind that everyone wants to get back to normal life as possible until a vaccine comes out. Masks are one of the biggest tools in the toolbox to allow for that!
P.S. i’m super new to blogging and struggle coming up with topics, so if you have ideas for me to write about, feel free to let me know through my twitter @benzy02