The Science Behind Universal Masking

I hear it all the time: “If masks are so effective, then why should we all have to wear them? You’re wearing one…if it works, then, good for you. If it doesn’t work for you, they why should I have to wear one? Masks are obviously mind control.” There exists a very good explanation for why universal masking works, and it really isn’t rocket science.

We all know by now, six months into the plague, that COVID-19 is spread by water droplets exhaled (or coughed or sneezed) by one person to another. What we tend to forget is that there are two kinds of water droplets. Everyone who has ever been within range of a person who suddenly sneezed and caught the spray knows all about those large water droplets. Eww!

The large droplets are not the main problem, though, in virus transmission. They are heavy and in normal situations drop within six feet. If you are keeping your distance, you’re avoiding a lot of that contamination.

More ominous are the tiny water droplets aerolized and carried by the atmosphere. They are not heavy. They do not drop to the ground. They travel with the air currents. They infect the unsuspecting. They spread the plague. Fortunately, there’s a way to stop them. You guessed it…the mask.

An article from The Atlantic explains it in simple terms. You know how everyone complains about the mask making them feel hot? Yes, well, that’s the point here. That extra little pocket of warm air keeps the small droplets from being aerolized immediately, and they are caught in the mask of the wearer. Suddenly the virus is stopped in its tracks. It’s not a matter of protecting one’s self, it’s a matter of stopping the virus at its source. It is unfortunate that we’ve been learning as we go, but no one really saw this coming, and early on we experienced a dearth of PPE, so opinions and guidelines have flip-flopped all over the landscape. Now that we’ve had time for researchers to nail down the pathology and transmission of the virus, we know so much more than we did at the outset. We are better prepared to fight it and stop it.

Countries with universal masking have lowered the effects of the virus dramatically. A recent NY Times article described the success of countries who immediately adopted universal masking, some of which wore masks routinely because of air pollution. The spread mortality rate of these countries were negligible in comparison to the way it has been ravaging American communities.

Look at the numbers: Italy (a non-masking culture) suffered 22,745 deaths, which extrapolated into 376 deaths/1 million population. Taiwan (a mask-wearing culture) had 6 deaths, which extrapolated into .3 deaths/1 million population. Seriously? Is anyone able to offer a reasonable argument against the chilling evidence of these numbers? What if we had never shut down the economy, but instead just instituted universal masking? Masks Save Lives.

I know. We’re free. We get to do whatever we want, and nobody gets to tell us what to do. Except, even after celebrating the 4th of July, it’s incumbent upon us all to remember that we really have very limited freedoms. For goodness sake, we wear seatbelts, we wear shirts and shoes for service…this is just another inconvenience that affects the public welfare. Universal masking saves lives, pure and simple. And it’s easy to see why. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem!