There is a lot of controversy just now about the wearing of face masks, and whether they do any good or not
Before we look into that there is one aspect of the Coronavirus Covid-19 that everyone has to understand. Its tiny, and I mean really really tiny, a bacteria is about a thousand times bigger than a virus and an oxygen molecule is about 800 times smaller than the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus (Antonello Frau, PhD Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering).
So with that in mind when we are looking at masks then the material that they are made of is hugely important.
There is also the fit of the mask to take into consideration, If, (for example, in most surgical masks you buy from the pharmacy, when you put the mask on and squeeze the nose bar to bend the top around your nose, and pull the bottom just under your chin, then at the top and bottom the mask is probably fairly well fitted, however what about the sides? There is always a gap, there is nothing you can do about that. In the N95, (The name N95 refers to the percentage of materials such as germs, bacteria, and viruses which the mask when worn correctly and fitted by a professional can stop passing through 95%), respirator masks there is better fitting yes but the problem with them is they are designed to be worn for short periods of time, (even a surgeon will change the mask after around 30-45 minuets, due to the moisture build up on the N95 materials making them ineffective).
And don’t get me started on homemade masks, Yes they may be funky or match your outfit, but they are pretty much useless against something as small as a virus, unless you make one out of maybe 5 or 6 layers of your favourite t-shirt, and they don’t fit properly.
But do they actually do any good anyway?
Again there are differing views on this, the most obvious thing against wearing a mask is the fact that it does not cover your eyes or ears, I mean think about it, your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth are all connected to the inside of your body by pretty much the same plumbing, and the virus can get inside by any of the routes above, so covering your mouth and nose only leaves just as many other ways unprotected.
When a surgeon wears a mask it is professionally fitted for their face, they don’t wear them all day, changing them regularly in long surgeries, and they are all single use.
Why do you think that is? It’s because the masks they use (the very best top of the line N95 respirators on the occasions when they are dealing with a patient who has an infectious disease), are not going to protect either them or the patient for very long, the materials get moist and ineffective just from the breath of the surgeon, so they have to be changed every 30-45 minutes.
So what makes you think that the mask you bought a couple of days ago which is not professionally fitted, and you have been wearing time and time again, is doing any good at all?
Wearing a mask has actually been proven to increase the number of times a day you touch your face, or the mask, when adjusting it, or putting it on or taking it off.
We already know that the virus can survive on surfaces or on materials for a period of time, so you go to the supermarket, put your mask on, sanities your hands, and go about your merry way doing your shopping, during that time you pick up produce, boxes, and general items, that have been touched by others before you, you get to the end of your shop, pay and leave the store, once in the car your remove the mask, which has been exposed to everyone around you on the outside, it may have the virus on the outside of the mask, you may have the virus from picking up a box that an infected person breathed on before you got it, you’ve now touched the outside of the mask, you’ve touched your face. The mask has prevented nothing really.
Can masks do more harm than good?
Watch the video below from a very highly trained Cardio Thoracic nurse, she explains very clearly that wearing a mask for extended periods of time can cause acidosis of the blood which can lead to very acute medical problems, She explains for example that one of the oldest methods of calming someone who is having a panic attack is to breath into a paper bag, this forces you to breathe more carbon dioxide than you would normally and causes an acid build up in the blood that actually calms you down in small doses, however the extended wearing of a mask can increase the likelihood of this acid build up, (acidosis), and if gone unchecked can be very dangerous.
Video from YouTube
One of the mandatory areas where wearing a mask cannot be argued is in restaurants, bars and shops where staff are in constant contact with the public, however there are more and more stories coming out of that in itself being a major health risk to the person wearing the mask.
A source in the entertainment industry told me: “I was singing in a Spanish venue on the Costa del Sol, just two days ago where the staff were working wearing masks as they have been told they have to do, working in the restaurant, on their feet for the whole shift, and in the extreme heat of the kitchen in some cases. This actually led to two of the staff having to be taken to hospital as they had passed out due to the wearing of the mask increasing the acid in their blood causing acidosis, and raising their internal temperature to dangerous levels,(confirmed by a source at the Costa del Sol Hospital).
Below is a video from Doctor Jen Ashton, she is a surgeon, and also Chief Medical Correspondent for ABC News, she explains why the masks are used in healthcare scenarios and what they actually achieve.
Video from Now and Then channel YouTube.
On Monday 13th July the Spanish government will decide whether or not to make the wearing of a mask mandatory everywhere, It will be (if approved), an offence not to wear one under the new rules, (as yet unknown what the protocol will be), and will be a fineable offence if the public do not adhere to the mandate.
Personally, I totally understand the need for some people to feel that they are being protected, or are protecting others, however in the case of the face coverings on the market at the moment, quite honestly they are not fit for purpose, and in many cases can be more harmful to the wearer than not wearing one at all.
I will follow the protocol, (should it be applied on Monday), quite simply to avoid a fine, but that is the only reason, you can make your own mind up, but please don’t think that wearing a mask is of any real benefit, as explained above, the masks we are able to get are only effective in particular circumstances, and even then only if used properly.