With widespread panic taking hold in the US and abroad, we’ve heard professionals state that wearing a mask will not help, and it will not prevent anyone from contracting COVID19.
What’s the claim?: Viruses are small enough to go through the fibers in the masks.
Some experts have said the virus itself can make its way through masks because the molecules are small enough to pass right through. This claim could be true based on research I’ve read and we have to understand, all masks aren’t created equal.
They are ALL created with a specific purpose, and selecting the wrong one will give a person a false sense of security when in fact they aren’t being protected at all. Most of the masks people are wearing are “particle masks” meaning they help block nuisance dust and particles that aggravate the sinuses.
These particles are much larger than a virus molecule, so in that respect, it sounds plausible that they in fact will not provide the protection a person thinks they have while wearing one. “Respirators” are a different breed of masks that provide more protection, but even then, the correct cartridge type has to be chosen to be effective not to mention fit placement has to be perfect for a correct seal, otherwise you’ll wind up sucking those nasty particulate right into your nose or mouth like a vortex within the cracks around the face seal that “isn’t sealed”
So what makes sense?: Wearing a mask will “help” prevent becoming infected.
Realizing that these masks we see everywhere may not prevent the virus from passing through, one still has to wonder if it will protect us from a sick person close by who’s coughing or sneezing those virus filled droplets. It airs on the side of common sense that “some” protection is better than “no protection at all“, even though it may be less than 100%.
The Takeaway: Do what makes you feel better or safer, but understand how your mask works.
If a mask did not help, and most doctors and nurses don’t normally wear the same mask like the 3M N95 at left which is the lowest level in which one might expect a level of adequate protection, I can’t help but wonder why medical professionals wear them while in the presence of a sick person. Yes, they are around sick people all day long, yes, they are subjected many times more than we as individuals are, but if they don’t help at all, why wear one?
We can understand wearing them to protect a sick patient that may be immune system compromised because of disease or medical treatments like Chemo that have ravaged their immune system, that is fairly apparent for those cases. It helps provide a level of protection for the patient, not the wearer of the mask.
It’s when you see a Doctor and staff walking the halls with masks on that the red flag comes up, if you see that, it’s time to worry I think. If they aren’t, then we probably shouldn’t panic, at least not just yet.