This article is aimed primarily at Trump supporters. Those who do not support Trump are already wearing masks. It is ridiculous that mask wearing has become a politicized issue, but here we are. Donald Trump doesn't wear a mask. (Update: 7/19/2020: Trump has now warn a mask at least once. But he seems to wear masks rarely and reluctantly.) So why should you?
Have you ever noticed two of the reasons that those against wearing masks to stop the spread of Covid-19 give for not wearing masks are:
- It doesn't work against viruses because the holes in masks are too big and viruses are too small.
- It causes harm because it traps in the CO2 (Carbon dioxide) thus making it harder to breath
Of course, if masks did trap CO2 (It doesn't) the holes would be so small they would prevent viruses from getting through, thus protecting the person wearing the mask. (You geniuses do know that a virus is a HELL of a lot bigger than molecules of CO2, right?) Hence, the two reasons given are mutually contradictory. The reality is the holes are big enough for individual viruses to get through (and thus CO2), so masks have a marginal benefit for those wearing them. But they are effective in helping people who are carrying the virus from infecting others. And obviously they don't trap CO2.
How do they protect others even though they give only a little protection to those who are wearing the masks? When you sneeze or cough you are ejecting very tiny droplets of water that are laced with the virus. Even though the holes in the mask are too big to stop individual viruses, they are small enough to stop the aerosolized droplets that you sneeze out. Thus, masks protect others from getting Covid-19 from those who are infected.
Even if you don't have any symptoms you should wear a mask if you are going to be around others because you can have and spread the virus even if you have no symptoms. Wearing a mask is a sign of respect. It is a sign that you want to keep those around you safe. Refusal to wear a mask around others is either a sign that you are too stupid/ignorant to know why you should wear a mask or a sign that you are a sociopath who doesn't give a damn about the lives of others.
100 health care experts, including the editors of Lancet and Nature and a Nobel Prize winning virologist signed a letter stating wearing a mask was necessary to stop the spread of the virus to those nearby. I'd trust their medical advice over some clown who says that windmills cause cancer. And as Governor Cuomo says, show some respect for the doctors and nurses who risk their lives caring for those who get sick from Covid-19. Wear a mask.
Show respect. Wear a mask. pic.twitter.com/YZQy99J1DU
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 12, 2020
For more information on why you should wear a mask near others, see: The Real Reason to Wear a Mask
And much as I despise Donald Trump and all that he stands for, if this is what it takes to get you to wear a mask, wear a Trump2020 mask. Wearing a Trump mask is better than possibly infecting those around you. Here are a bunch you can choose from.
There are a number of people who have been trying to force store managers to let them into their stores without masks by claiming they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing masks. They then show the manager a fake ID claiming they are exempt from wearing a mask under the Americans with Disabilities Act. One version of this fake ID was so sloppily made that its creator misspelled the word "poses".
The Justice Department has issued a warning saying these cards are bogus. And the medical excuses these grifters tell are very often bogus as well. Claire Gillespie writes in Health.com
But here's where it gets tricky: None of the health agencies specify any health conditions that would constitute a mask exemption—and some health professionals don't believe these stated, unspecific exemptions for surgical masks or cloth face coverings are necessary. "There are no known medical conditions aside from a severe skin condition [like a very severe burn that needs medical attention] on your face that would prevent a person from wearing this type of mask,” David Kaufman, MD, pulmonologist and director of the medical ICU at Tisch Hospital, tells Health. “If you can wear a scarf to keep your face warm in the winter, you can wear a mask to prevent the spread of disease.”
According to Dr. Kaufman, there's an important distinction between the types of masks average citizens can and should wear (like surgical masks and cloth face coverings), versus the ones health care professionals should wear in certain settings (like N95 respirator masks). The tight-fitting N95 masks, Dr. Kaufman says, filter the air you breathe and protect you from inhaling small particles like dust or germs that cause disease. Those respirator masks do add some resistance to breathing in and some people with sever lung disease may find breathing more difficult while wearing one, says Dr. Kaufman. . . .
Jim Keany, MD, emergency physician, patient safety physician champion, and former chief of staff at Mission Hospital in Orange County, California agrees that there are no medical conditions that would preclude someone from wearing a simple surgical or cloth face mask, because both masks have "no effect on respiratory mechanics." According to Dr. Keany, however, if you are having trouble breathing while wearing a cloth or surgical mask, you may not be wearing it correctly. "If you feel like you're sucking air through the mask, you are wearing the mask too tight," says Dr. Keany. "Simply look for a mask that has some stiffness to it, so that you don't suck it into your mouth [while breathing]."
And if you can't find a face masks that feels comfortable, Dr. Keany suggests a using a face shield that drops down below the level of the chin as an alternative—although he warns that this mode of protection isn't as "tried and true" as face masks. . . .
In Dr. Keany’s opinion, if your respiratory status is truly that tenuous that you’re not able to breathe through a cloth face covering, you should stay home and not expose yourself to any risk. “If you are truly that fragile, a COVID-19 infection could be a death sentence,” he says.
While most of those who claim they can't wear masks probably only suffer from selfishprickitis and the sociopathy that prevents them from giving a damn about whether they infect others or not, there are rare exceptions. A small number of people really can't wear masks. Shannon Smith of WBIR Channel 10 News reports:
"From a medical standpoint it would be extremely rare to have a condition where you truly could not wear a mask," said Dr. Clay Callison, a pulmonary disease doctor and UT Medical Center's Chief Medical Information Officer.
He said actual inability to wear a mask is rare.
"We have patients who are awaiting lung transplants who are on oxygen and they're instructed and they wear a mask," said Callison.
But he said there are exceptions to everything.
"There are a lot of patients that simply feel like the mask is almost smothering them and if you have a breathing problem and you have something on your face you may feel very short of breath," he said.
Callison said every patient is different, even if they have the same condition.
"If you're really claustrophobic and you feel like that mask makes you claustrophobic, I get that. So I think it's about being as sensible as possible," he said.
Other doctors bring up COPD and other breathing disorders that may make wearing a mask difficult.
Callison is also director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis clinic at UT, a chronic breathing condition, and says those patients and many others wear masks even with pre-existing breathing difficulties.
He suggests people try different kinds of masks because some may work better or make breathing easier than others.
"Just because you've tried one mask doesn't mean all masks don't work," said Callison.
And for those few who really can't wear masks, there is no excuse not to wear a face shield. There are dozens of venodrs of face shields at Amazon with some venders selling them for as little as $9.99.
Addendum: Some may avoid wearing a mask because early on they were told by scientists that they don't need to wear masks. This advice was given before it was well known that people could spread the disease even if they had no symptoms. Scientists changed their minds as they learned more about the diseas. That is what scientists do--change their minds as more information becomes available, as this article well explains.
Update 7/19/2020: I had previously said that I wasn't sure if there were medical reasons why some might not be able to wear masks. I have changed this section of the post extensively.