Now look, if you want to be that guy or gal cruising around the supermarket wearing a sporty, N95 respirator mask or not - that’s up to you. As your own well-being should be.
But I recently heard from gov’t officials (the Surgeon General, no less) and a few well-meaning friends and co-workers that wearing such a mask is akin to holding a grocery bag over your head and expecting to stay dry in a downpour.
This just didn’t seem to pass the sniff-test so like any curious, logic and fact-loving American, I decided to investigate.
I’m not a doctor or a scientist which may instantly disqualify me to discuss this by some. Which is a shame because A) the authority fallacy and B) there is a metric ton of quality information available online (published by the purported experts) to draw your own common-sense conclusions. My research included the following and more:
- FDA surgical vs N95 mask overview
- CDC on surgical vs N95 masks
- NCBI on airborne respiratory droplets and nuclei
- Respiratory protection for healthcare workers
There are plenty of unknowns about COVID-19. What is thought to be known is that it’s primarily transmitted in the same manner as known Flu viruses – via respiratory droplets and aerosols reaching our respiratory system via the mouth or nose. Eye transmission is considered very unlikely, but possible.
Bottom line: Coughing, sneezing, even talking emits droplets that can transmit the virus. You can catch it by getting droplet particles covered by the little bastards into your own mouth or nose.
Naturally, the government has bravely instructed us all to wash our damn hands and stop picking our noses.
But damn you fools – don’t you dare think about wearing something that could stop the little bastards from gaining access to your shnozz or pie hole!
GOVERNMENT ARGUMENT #1
Surgeon General: “STOP BUYING MASKS – THEY ARE INEFFECTIVE!”
From his Tweet: “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
His sentiment was also echoed by CDC Director Robert Redfield, “There is no role for these masks in the community,” he Told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. “These masks need to be prioritized for health care professionals that as part of their job are taking care of individuals.”
Let me get this straight, N95 masks are effective in protecting healthcare professionals (HCP) from the virus but not civilians?
GOVERNMENT ARGUMENT #2
From the CDC: If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
So wait, the mask material can stop the virus from escaping, but not from entering? How stupid does the government think we are? You already know that answer, don’t you.
The truth is the government doesn’t WANT you to have N95 masks because they need them and can’t get enough of them.
Ok, fair enough. Why not just tell us that, then. Why lie and say they are ineffective? Raise your hand if you’re sick of being lied to by psychopaths in the government because “it’s for our own good”.
Sure, poorly fitting or misused masks may not be terribly effective, but short of a vaccine (which is not exactly around the corner) properly worn N95 respirators are perhaps the best method to REDUCE your risk of catching this virus while still going about your day-to-day routine.
N95 certified respirators (when properly fitted to your face) stop 95% of all particles .03 microns and larger.
The smallest particle sizes that can carry virus laden material are known as droplet nuclei which are 1-5 microns in size.
So yes, “icky science” suggests a properly fitted N95 masks IS EFFECTIVE (nothing is 100%) in stopping virus-laded droplets from reaching your mouth or nose. That’s why the government requires HCPs to wear them when in an infectious environment.
A moral government that does not lie to us would instead be educating people HOW to properly use the masks and putting resources into making them AVAILABLE to everyone without the need for price gouging.
Short of N95 masks being widely available and properly used, the only alternative is to keep people apart and shut everything down. Schools, events, businesses, the whole lot. You know, kick the economy right in the nuts – in an election year no less.
Now, I’m not saying the government is conspiring to do this. What’s more likely is that gov’t bureaucrats have and will continue to OVERREACT as they are naturally inclined to do. They may well shut things down because they believe they’re acting in the “public interest”. In reality, this primal urge to protect is not about protecting YOU – it’s about protecting themselves. CYA is their #1 professional mandate. Don’t believe me – then you’ve not sufficiently dealt with enough gov’t agencies. They won’t get laid off or miss a paycheck if the economy goes into the toilet. And boy-o-boy do they love a good crisis! Even better – they’ll deflect the inevitable criticism by claiming (and believing) “we did it for the public good”.
In another parallel, but more competent universe these people who are tasked with national security, public safety, blah blah blah, would have been prepared with a national stockpile of hand sanitizer and N95 masks AT A MINIMUM. These same people from the CDC, et al have been predicting our inevitable affliction by some exotic, new disease for decades anyway.
But don’t worry, the government knows what it’s doing… or maybe it doesn’t? Not sure which is worse. Either way, now go wash your fucking hands!