On Thursday, YouTube channel “It’s Okay To Be Smart” released a video in which host and writer Joe Hanson “debunks” a series of myths related to mask-wearing.
“Bottom line – masks work. They are safe for almost everyone to wear, and the more people that wear them along with adhering to physical distancing and other strategies, then that is more lives that we will save,” Hanson begins.
The host notes that many people have watched his previous video on the effectiveness of cloth masks in which he used schlieren imaging, making certain airflow patterns visible to the human eye.
Hanson continues, “addressing a few of the most common myths and misunderstandings” regarding masks and COVID-19.
Myth #1: “My underwear and pants can’t stop a fart, so how is a cloth mask supposed to stop coronavirus?”
Hanson notes that despite the strange nature of the myth, speaking about it demonstrates a critical point about face masks.
After explaining that a coronavirus particle is 100 times the size of a flatulence molecule, he adds that such particles are carried in moisture droplets that are even larger. The difference in size between a flatulence molecule and a moisture droplet carrying coronavirus, Hanson says, is akin to the difference between the size of a baseball and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Hanson speaks about an experiment that was conducted in order to assess the potential for doctors to spread germs via flatulence.
“So they had doctors pass gas over petri dishes with and without pants on, and pants were enough to block any germs from growing on the dishes,” he says. “So even though your underwear won’t stop a fart, they will stop a s***, and that is why masks work.”
Myth #2: A Mask Is Like A Chain-Link Fence For Mosquitoes
Similar to the first myth, Hanson states that some have suggested that “using a mask to stop coronavirus is like using a chain-link fence to stop mosquitoes.”
The host counters that claim by once again noting that the droplets in which virus particles travel are “50 to 100 times larger than a single virus.” Additionally, he talks about the way mask fibers are “layered” or “stacked” in order to provide “droplet-blocking power.”
“A chain-link fence can’t stop mosquitos, but two overlapped chain-link fences can definitely stop mosquitoes if they’re flying around inside tennis balls,” Hanson states (the tennis ball being the moisture droplet).
After tackling a third myth related to masks allegedly starving “your body of oxygen or expose[ing] you to dangerous levels of exhaled carbon dioxide,” and a fourth pertaining to toxins, he moves on to the next one.
Myth #5: I Feel Healthy, So I Don’t Need A Mask
“Even if you feel healthy, you could be infected with the virus and be spreading it to others,” Hanson says. “Current estimates tell us that almost half of people who spread COVID don’t show any symptoms.”
The host lays out a “thought experiment” in which someone has been infected for several days, then gets a test, the results of which might take several more days to arrive. During this entire period of time, that person could be walking around without a mask, spreading COVID-19 to others.
“And new research suggests a lot of the pandemic is being driven by so-called superspreaders – these are single, highly infectious people that are spreading the virus to dozens of other people at a time, and those people might not show any symptoms, ever,” Hanson states.
Myth #6: Why Wear Masks If They Aren’t 100% Effective?
“First off, there’s pretty much no medical intervention of any kind that is 100% effective,” Hanson states. “Even a vaccine, which most scientists and doctors think is by far our best strategy for eventually containing this pandemic, won’t be 100% effective.”
The host then explains that masks are simply one piece of a multi-layer system of protection, and an easy one at that.
After speaking about a myth pertaining to fake “DOJ” exemption cards, Hanson talks about the dangers of the virus, noting that because it’s new and not well understood, we don’t yet have a handle on the “long-term effects” of “severe or even mild” cases.
“While some people may fully recover, others might have permanent lung scarring, which is backed up by what we saw happen with related diseases like SARS and MERS,” he says.
There’s much more to the video than what’s written above, so you can check it out below:
According to AARP, 31 states and the District of Columbia have statewide face mask mandates as of July 23. Several other states have allowed rules on the wearing of masks to be decided by local governments. In Arizona, for example, Gov. Doug Ducey has left mask mandates up to “local governments,” according to Fox10.
Other states, however, are waging mask-related battles. AARP reports that in Georgia, “Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order July 15 forbidding city and county governments from implementing mask orders.”
COVID-19 has infected over 15.9 million people worldwide, and led to more than 643,300 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. Over 9.1 million people have recovered.
In the United States, there have been more than 4.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 146,300 deaths. As of publication, 1.2 million individuals have recovered from the virus in the U.S.
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