Day 122 – More on masks

I’ve made my thoughts on wearing masks in public places completely clear, I think.
Not least here:

…and it used to be so easy in that you either wore one or you didn’t.

The fact is that while a mask is always better than no mask, equally some masks are better than others. Here’s a video from the University of New South Wales demonstrating this with a sneeze.

Prepare yourself.

(Incidentally, earlier in that video, there are demonstrations of talking and coughing as well – just click on the YouTube icon bottom right to have a look).

So yes, surgical mask > two layers of cloth > one layer of cloth.
And all of them are MUCH better than no mask at all.

It’s pretty clear how the differing masks have differing efficacy, and it’s pretty clear how no mask means that you spread respiratory droplets and aerosols – potentially laden with virus – everywhere when you sneeze.

A reminder here that we are asked to wear masks exactly for that reason: to stop us breathing out respiratory particles which might spread the virus to other people.

Which brings me to my next point.

I’m seeing a lot of masks on sale that look like this:

Or this:

Check out how stylish they can like to be!

They’re often advertised with catchy phrases like “low resistance” or “easy breathing” or some such. And that’s because, as demonstrated by the photoshopped whoosh of air in the top image, these are one-way masks. That circular plastic “respirator valve” thing clicks shut when you inhale, meaning that what you breath in is filtered through the mask fabric, but it pops open when you exhale, meaning that there is no barrier for what you breathe out. Magic.

A quick quote, if I may?

A reminder here that we are asked to wear masks exactly for that reason: to stop us breathing out respiratory particles which might spread the virus to other people.

Oh.

Yes, I’m sorry, but these masks are completely useless in the context of coronavirus and Covid-19. There is literally no barrier at all to prevent you breathing out aerosolised virus all over everyone around you. And that’s exactly why you’re wearing it in the first place.

Sure. They’re probably great for sanding or mowing grass or working in dusty environments like woodworking shops and grassmowing sheds(?), because in those instances, we’re trying to stop ourselves from breathing nasty stuff in.

That’s not why we are wearing masks at the moment.

But let’s be honest about this: getting people just to wear masks is proving difficult enough. If we’re now going to try to give them more detailed rules and regulations, we’re not going to get very far.

So all I am asking of you is that if you are planning to get a mask like this, just don’t. It doesn’t help. And when the inevitable mask debate comes up with friends and/or family, send them here so that they don’t buy one either.

Don’t buy these sorts of masks. 

A little bit of information goes a long way.
(Nowhere near as far as a little bit of misinformation, but that’s a whole other story.)