Is Wearing a Mask Compassionate?

Many of us who are deeply opposed to mask mandates & social distancing have spent a significant amount of time studying the science, speaking to medical professionals, evaluating sociology,  history and watching the very real fallout happening around us which is intensifying human suffering on a massive scale. We are deeply troubled by this because our compassion dictates that we stand for truth and protect those who are the most vulnerable. We are seeking to live out our actions in accordance with our deeply held convictions. The vast majority of people I know who share these views are creative, committed, discerning and compassionate, active and contributing members of their communities who don’t make a practice of civil disobedience. 

Below are just a few excerpts from an article that highlights some of the valid and acknowledged concerns about masks.

Mask Facts [AAPS – Association of American Physicians & Surgeons]

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Note: A COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) particle is 0.125 micrometers/microns (μm); influenza virus size is 0.08 – 0.12 μm; a human hair is about 150 μm.

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Conclusions

The preponderance of scientific evidence supports that aerosols play a critical role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.  Years of dose response studies indicate that if anything gets through, you will become infected.

  • Thus, any respiratory protection respirator or mask must provide a high level of filtration and fit to be highly effective in preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.  (Works for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (3μm)
  • Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes).
    • The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.

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Surgical masks are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids. They aren’t effective at blocking particles smaller than 100 μm.

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A properly fitted N95 will block 95% of tiny air particles down to

0.3 μm from reaching the wearer’s face.

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All the cloth masks and materials had near zero efficiency at 0.3 µm, a particle size that easily penetrates into the lung (SARS-CoV-2 is 0.125 µm)

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Conclusion: Wearing masks (other than N95) will not be effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.

  • N95s protect health care workers, but are not recommended for source control transmission.
  • Surgical masks are better than cloth but not very efficient at preventing emissions from infected patients. Cloth masks must be 3 layers, plus adding static electricity by rubbing with rubber glove.
  • The cloth that serves as the filtration for the mask is meant to trap particles being breathed in and out. But it also serves as a barrier to air movement because it forces the air to take the path of least resistance, resulting in the aerosols going in and out at the sides of the mask.

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Moisture retention

  • Reuse of cloth masks, frequency and effectiveness of cleaning, and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.
  • Observations during SARS suggested double-masking and other practices increased the risk of infection because of moisture, liquid diffusion.

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Recent study (in German) cultured 82 bacterial colonies & 4 mold (fungoid) colonies from a child’s masks after 8 hours of wear.

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Self-contamination

  • Contamination through repeated use and improper doffing is possible.  The virus may survive on the surface of the mask.  The pathogen goes from mask to bare hands.

“Mask mouth”

World Health Organization (WHO), June 2020

  • https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/332293/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.4-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  • “The likely disadvantages of the use of mask by healthy people in the general public include:
    • potential increased risk of self-contamination due to the manipulation of a face mask and subsequently touching eyes with contaminated hands;
    • potential self-contamination that can occur if non- medical masks are not changed when wet or soiled. This can create favourable conditions for microorganism to amplify;
    • potential headache and/or breathing difficulties, depending on type of mask used;
    • potential development of facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne, when used frequently for long hours;
    • difficulty with communicating clearly;
    • potential discomfort;
    • a false sense of security, leading to potentially lower adherence to other critical preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene;
    • poor compliance with mask wearing, in particular by young children;
    • waste management issues; improper mask disposal leading to increased litter in public places, risk of contamination to street cleaners and environment hazard;
    • difficulty communicating for deaf persons who rely on lip reading;
    • disadvantages for or difficulty wearing them, especially for children, developmentally challenged persons, those with mental illness, elderly persons with cognitive impairment, those with asthma or chronic respiratory or breathing problems, those who have had facial trauma or recent oral maxillofacial surgery, and those living in hot and humid environments.

The Hamburg Environmental Institute (July 2020) warned of the inhalation of chlorine compounds in polyester masks as well as problems in connection with face mask disposal. https://swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/; https://corona-transition.org/maskentragen-noch-ungesunder-als-gedacht (in German)

Psychological Damage in Children (September 11, 2020).

  • 70 Belgian doctors begged for cancellation of mask mandate at school. “In recent months, the general well-being of children and young people has come under severe pressure. We see in our practices an increasing number of children and young people with complaints due to the rules of conduct that have been imposed on them.  We diagnose anxiety and sleep problems, behavioral disorders and fear of contamination. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation. Many lack physical and emotional contact; attachment problems and addiction are obvious.  ‘The mandatory mouth mask in schools is a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on the emotional connection with others. (…) The aim of education is to create an optimal context so that a maximum development of young people is possible. The school environment must be a safe practice field. The mouth mask obligation, on the other hand, makes the school a threatening and unsafe environment, where emotional connection becomes difficult. ‘In addition, there is no large-scale evidence that wearing face masks in a non-professional environment has any positive effect on the spread of viruses, let alone on general health.’
https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/