Face masks work up to 79% of the time when a family member has COVID-19.

At the beginning of this pandemic, health authorities told us that face masks would not protect us against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Is this early advice enough to keep people from wearing masks today?

Why do a few people still refuse to wear a face mask? They believe they offer little protection, science has not proved their value, some health practitioners or influencers tell them not to, the increased risk of pneumonia, increased risk of breathing too much carbon monoxide, face masks deprive them of oxygen to breathe, or maybe mistrust of authority.

Maybe a person might have a medical condition and he or she believes a face mask will exacerbate it, the lack of comfort wearing a mask for long periods of time is enough for some not to want to wear one, the belief that germs are being inhaled is enough for some, as is the overall misunderstanding of what we face with COVID-19 and why a face mask protects us and others. Pick a reason. There are many to choose from. When a person wants to rationalize his or her decision, it does not take a valid reason, they will do what they want.

A face mask is not the mask of the Lone Ranger. It must cover the mouth and nose. The new ‘anti-mask’ covers the mouth and nose but has large openings (mesh) that do not prevent the spread of any particulate matter. It is a way around the mandate to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth.

I am certain that some believe that a bandana or $2 masks offer little protection from nearly submicroscopic viral particles. Only the N95 medical face masks are capable of 100% protection from the virus.

If you see a person proudly not wearing a mask, do not confront him or her and try to change a mind – it will not work. Avoid them like the plague! It is not worth it to warn or attempt to change minds. If you own a business, post a sign not allowing those without face masks.

Some believe that science has not made their case yet. There is so much conflicting data that they should pick and choose who to believe. Oxford’s Professor Trisha Greenhalgh tells the world that there are no published experiments proving that face masks work. She believes and tells her audience that public health officials are wrong.

Why not believe someone of her stature? She should know if there are published papers proving or disproving the ability of the virus to infect others by airborne means.

She believes that if the ‘basic reproduction number’, R0, can be forced below 1.0 in which case one infected person can infect less than one other person. This will cause the virus to end the infection cycle. It is a waiting game for the virus to run its course.

The WHO and CDC acknowledge that bacterial and other microorganisms can grow on the inside of a face mask that is worn for long periods of time. Face masks must be cleaned and sanitized periodically.

I prefer to lay my face mask on the dashboard of my car skin side up. The hours of daily sunshine and 100+ degree temperatures on Texas afternoons will provide a level of sanitation above and beyond taking the mask inside your home every day.

Some face coverings can be washed daily. Some people ordered extra masks to swap out daily. If you have a mask that you replace with a clean one, use a sealable baggie to put the old mask in until you have a chance to sanitize it.

Air or oxygen deprivation is probably one thing most of us have in common. We become more aware of our breathing. Something we rarely think about in normal activities becomes constant.
I experience that more often than I want to admit, especially if the mask is a bit on the tight side.

Carbon monoxide poisoning from wearing a face mask is almost unheard of, but that point-zero-something-percent is enough to frighten some. If oxygen deprivation or carbon monoxide poisoning were real, our medical professionals would be dropping dead at a much higher rate.

Asthma, chronic respiratory issues, and other breathing problems are real. Yes, a face mask might make your condition worse. You should not wear a mask according to the CDC. You should also minimize the time you are in the company of other people who could infect you.

We should realize that it is not about us. It is about others. We can protect ourselves – common sense and personal responsibility. We cannot and should not expose others to infection, regardless of how slight it might be. We do not know who they might infect.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com


2 Responses

  1. Excellent, thoughtful commentary, Red.

    One of the political complaints about masks is the power of the government to require the wearing of masks. I’ve even heard people make the “slippery slope” argument. You know. . .”First they’ll take the power to make is wear masks, then they’ll take our guns! It’s about my liberty and freedom and the Constitution!”

    I never laugh in their faces.
    I do know this, though. . .They do NOT have the right under our Constitution to run butt naked down Main Street in downtown Houston at high noon. Some police officer will bust them for indecent exposure. That type of law passed court muster a couple of centuries ago and is settled law. It IS constitutional. And other than offending sensibilities, running butt naked in public does no real harm to anyone and certainly does not endanger an onlooker’s life.

    In the case of a mask, Texas has a specific, court-tested statute, giving the Governor or those he designates the power to issue executive orders to protect public health in a declared public emergency.

    You can’t walk around in public or in retail stores with your bottom half uncovered, and at this time you can’t walk around in public or retail stores with your nose and mouth uncovered. It’s the law.

    Ted I think certain leaders in state government have failed the leadership test by not “laying the law down” to violators. 10 people getting g big fines and 5he public learning that leadership means business and is darn serious about it will dramatically reduce the childish rebellion/resistance to mask-wearing. Somebody needs to sell the concept to the nay-sayers, “grow a pair”, and show what will happen to people if they refuse to wear the masks. It’s called courage, not cowardice.

    And a more general comment: It is perfectly normal in a situation like we find ourselves in, to deny reality. And to look for any and all justification for our denial. We’ve lost a lot. Money. Freedom of movement. Future personal economic security. The uncertainty of when kids can go back to school. Fear of job loss. Fear of being able to pay the mortgage or rent.
    Our lives as we have known them have been massively disrupted. We grieve for life ad it was 9 months ago. And so we deny. It’s the first of 3 more steps in the process to acceptance of reality.
    If leaders are both honorable and understand this concept, thecwoukd be far better of in making the population of Rexas as to the risks of COVID-19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *