I want to revisit this idea of face masks.
The idea of wearing face masks seems illogical to me. I don’t think they work.
Why don’t I think they work?
Does the the face mask have an airtight seal?
No, I don’t think it has an airtight seal at all.
I think that what we breathe in and out goes through the side of the mask and disperses throughout the community.
If this is the case, what we breathe out goes into the common air.
What we breathe in comes from the common air.
Now, fortunately for us this won’t make a difference.
What we breathe out, and this includes viruses, is disbursed into an ocean of air. For the average adult this represents a half liter or so on every breath. Over a period of a minute that translates into 5 to 10 L of air depending on how fast you breathe and what your tidal volume is.
That sounds like a lot until you realize that we live within an ocean of air.
Let me demonstrate. In a small room of 15’ x 15’ x 8’, an average bedroom, there are 1800 cubic feet. In each cubic foot, there are 28.32 liters of air. So, in an average bedroom, there are 50,976 liters of air. And as you know, your small bedroom is connected to the entire volume of air on the planet.
Poisoning the air with our viruses is akin to dumping a truckload of cyanide into the city water supply.
One can imagine Lex Luther or any number of Superman’s enemies doing so.
That may be excitingly evil in a comic book; but in the real world, not much harm is done.
Not much harm is done because the size of the city water supply far outstrips a truckload of cyanide.
Two, we must remember that respiratory droplets still obey the laws of gravity. Eventually, being heavier than air, they will fall to the ground.
Because the respiratory droplets are disbursed into the air, should you in-breathe the virus, you would inhale a very dilute load of virus.
Viral load counts.
Also contributing to the demise of the virus are respiratory cilia and mucus which play a vital role in trapping the droplet before it comes into contact with otherwise susceptible cells.
This supports my experience and belief that respiratory infections are transmitted primarily by hand contact. An individual will cough on his or her hands, then exchange the virus through either handshake or a fomite to another person who will then fail to wash his or her hands prior to touching food that they plan to consume.
Thus, it is hand washing, not the face mask, that is paramount in preventing infection.
This is my experience over 35 years. I rarely get sick in relation to the number of contacts that I have with coughing children with whom I am in constant contact with every day of the week sans face mask – excepting the present age of hysteria, of course. And as you may know children are not necessarily social adept or proficient at covering their mouths before coughing.
Not only is handwashing important, the emphasis on the face mask can actually lead to greater rates of infection because people think they are protected by the face mask.
They are not.
Archer Crosley, MD
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Copyright 2020 Archer Crosley All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: Obey the law. Obey the authorities. This is an opinion piece and does not represent medical advice. Individual medical conditions may vary. Consult your healthcare provider.