A useful, interesting, and informative thread on face masks and the many reasons why some people should stop bitching about, and wear one instead.

First published in July 2020.

“A virus is far too small to be stopped by a mask.”

This is really simple. A virus IS too small to be stopped by a mask. But an influenza or coronavirus only crosses spaces between people inside moisture droplets. And moisture droplets AREN’T too small to be stopped by a mask.

There are other ways for a virus to pass from person to person. It can be left on a hard surface, for instance. But we have precautions for that. Washing hands. Wiping down surfaces. Not touching your face.

We don’t have precautions to stop it from flying out in your spittle.

An anti-masks protest in Martin County, Florida.

“But if we keep 2 metres apart we’ll be fine.”

A cough or sneeze can transmit fine water droplets over 4 metres. Even simply talking (saying a hard P or “Shhh”) can do this.

A mask can stop that by catching the spray.

“But that just traps the virus in my mask.”

If it does that, you already have the virus. Sorry about that. But the mask prevents you from giving it to somebody else.

And if you don’t have the virus, yay!! And the mask I wear will help to keep you that way. And vice versa.

“A mask is an infringement of my liberty.”

You also aren’t at liberty to visit a primary school with your willy out. We are often “forced” to wear items to protect others. When you publicly argue for your todger to be exposed to Year 5, I’ll believe you about absolute liberty.

Anti-mask protest in London organised by the "Keep Britain Free Movement".

“It’s not effective like PPE.”

Masks are not intended to be PPE. They are intended to do the same thing as handkerchiefs. You would avoid sneezing on somebody if you had a cold. Similarly, it is simple politeness to wear a mask. Just plain old-fashioned common decency.

The difference here is that if you are unpleasant enough to sneeze on a stranger when you have a cold, that stranger might feel a bit rubbish for a few days. But if you sneeze on them and have coronavirus, that person’s organs might never recover.

“I might still get it.”

Wearing a mask will not stop all pathogens. It will not, all on its own, prevent anybody from ever catching coronavirus. But it will vastly reduce the spray that comes out of your mouth, and that vastly reduces the chance of it going on somebody.

I have written this in a way that I hope makes it really simple. Obviously in doing this I have omitted some details. This isn’t to con anybody. If you want to find out more about how viruses are transmitted, here are studies:

If you want to shout at me about how this is “just a cold”, sorry, but I’ve got it. And it isn’t. Not even close. A cold doesn’t make the skin blister on your feet, make you cough until your throat bleeds, give you a 22-day headache, and make you exhausted just going to the loo.

And I have a relatively mild dose. I’m (relatively) young, strong and fit. If I gave this to my 78-year old mum, she would die.

If you still think this is a cold, you don’t have the faintest idea.

I am wearing a mask so you don’t have to find out the hard way.🔷

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 31 July 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Screenshot WPTV News.)

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