Do cloth and surgical masks help?

The verdict still is not out on surgical and cloth masks (masks). Although, the CDC continues to recommend them for all people in indoor settings, especially where COVID rates are highest. And I suppose that makes sense, considering their goal is to advise us on how best to avoid getting COVID. Still, I am not convinced masks do any good.

I have had many of my friends send me links to articles. And I read these articles. And even they do not convince me that masks do any good. The reason is that all of the studies they send me are studies done in a laboratory. None were done in a real-world setting. I have not seen any studies on masks done in a real-world setting. Hopefully, there are some that are ongoing.

Yes, I have seen some studies showing that masks reduce your risk up to 60 percent. And then you have politicians use these studies. And they claim, “Wear a mask because they prevent you from getting COVID.” No, they don’t. If anything, they “may” reduce your risk by up to 60 percent. If they read their studies accurately, and they were honest with us, this is how they would word their sentence: “Masks ‘may’ reduce your risk.” 

Still, I have a hard time with it. In the hospital setting, we wear n-95 masks. We are fit tested to find out what n-95 mask properly fits our face. So, we wear n-95 masks when we are going to be taking care of COVID patients. This prevents us from inhaling the virus. 

We have family and friends come visit COVID patients. And we do not give them an n-95 mask. We give them a surgical mask instead. And they enter COVID rooms with a surgical mask. They do this because family and friends were not fit tested. So, the experts have decided there is no point in wearing an n-95 mask in their case. 

I don’t know if I agree with this. But I respect the decision of the experts. I would think an n-95 mask poorly fitted would protect better than a surgical mask. But, I can’t say that because I have not seen any studies proving masks do not work. Of course, they haven’t seen any masks showing that masks do work, other than the ones done in labs. 

So, it’s still up in the air. And I think the best test to show if masks work is to use a machine. The machine would monitor what a person is wearing and what they exhale. This test would be done on control subjects not wearing masks. This would be so the results could be compared. And the experimental group would wear masks, either surgical or cloth or n-95. Which of these masks truly prevent you from inhaling viruses? I would theorize the n-95 masks do and the other two do not. Yet I have not seen such a test done. If so, I have not found it yet. 

And another study showed that wearing a mask increased your risk of getting COVID. This is because they are not leakproof. They are not tight-fitting like n-95 masks. You can inhale the virus around the sides of the mask. And the virus can get right through the tiny pores on the mask. And then inside the mask acts as a reservoir, and viruses collect inside the mask. And when you inhale, rather than inhaling only a few viruses, you inhale a bunch. This principle works similarly to how a non-rebreather mask works. Here, oxygen collects in the reservoir bag. And when you inhale, you inhale a larger amount of oxygen compared to if the bag did not exist. 

There is one more reason why I doubt masks work. Last summer you had a COVID surge in Florida and Hawaii at the same time. Florida had no mask mandate. Hawaii did have a mask mandate. And COVID ravaged through both those states at relatively the same time. So, this, to me, proves that mask mandates serve no purpose other than to help those who enact them feel better about themselves. They do not in any way stop the spread.

The same is happening right now. You have some states that have mask mandates. And you have others that do not have mask mandates. And, yet, COVID is surging in many of these states. So, this may be all the evidence we need that masks are pointless. 

I do not criticize people. I decided early on I will not criticize people. If you think masks help and you want. to wear one, go for it. If you think they are useless and you want to risk not wearing one, go for it. And I have decided to do what I’m told. It’s the easy path that helps me to keep the peace. And, at my work, it helps me keep my job and my nice paycheck. 

So, I wear a mask at work. I am not a good mask wearer. I have vaso-rhinitus, so rebreathing my humid, stale air causes my nose to drip. So I have to take my mask off often to rub and wipe my nose. And my nose is oddly shaped, so the mask continuously slips off my nose. And every time I touch the mask, every time I swipe at my nose, I increase my risk of inhaling the virus. So, personally, I think wearing a mask increases my risk. 

And I saw one study where 100% of the subjects who tested positive wore masks. So, studies like this prove to me that masks do not work. But, what do I know? I’m just a person who likes to think and ask questions. I’m not a sheep. I question everything people tell me to do. That’s just natural for me. But, I promised early on I’d be good. Except, here in the blogosphere I can be honest. And I pose the question: Do masks (surgical or cloth) work? Do they prevent you from getting COVID? What do you think? 


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