Image: “Surgical Face Mask,” by NurseTogether, 11 April 2020, in Wikimedia Commons … https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Surgical_face_mask.jpg … CC BY-SA 4.0 International
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Just now I was reading the Mayo Clinic explanation about the efficacy of wearing face masks in public, and I have a few notions about it. I read between the lines that the cloth masks do not prevent us from breathing germs when we inhale in public, I guess because the cloth fabric is porous.
Nobody has mentioned the psychological effect of wearing masks. People get cues about the good intentions of other people by observing their facial expressions, I feel. When I go to the store and see masked people all around I get an unfriendly feeling because of the masks.
It feels to me like health officials mandate face masks as a way of saying the virus is ‘under control’. The masks are like the ‘magic whistle’ to allay our health concerns. But instead of helping, the face mask regulation is causing me to feel estranged from my fellow shoppers and neighbors in the community.
It could be that the ‘masked marauder’ look is causing people to feel fearful, and that the rioting and looting are a reaction to that fear … As they say, some may choose ‘fight’ rather than ‘flight’ in a scary situation. Getting down to the line, I feel it could be that the mandate about face masks is partly to blame for the rioting and looting in LA.
How do you feel about it? Are the pros of wearing face masks in public when we are not ill greater than the cons?
Here is the Mayo Clinic face mask page where I ‘read between the lines’ about the effectiveness of various sorts of masks …
Link: “COVID-19: How Much Protection Do Face Masks Offer?” by Mayo Clinic Staff … https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449 ..
As I read the Mayo Clinic article, the types of masks that are thought to offer protection from droplet aspiration are surgical and N95 masks. While I am not a medical doctor, my profession at UCLA (from which I am retired) was medical editor for some years, which accounts for my being able to read what is left unsaid in the Mayo publication.
What they seem not to be saying is that the cloth masks are effective. Instead, they say that the surgical and N95 masks are effective. I feel this to be misleading, as it causes intelligent people to think one way, when in fact things are another way.
In addition there is the issue of health care officials finding out that the pandemic had spread here in the United States while people were asymptomatic. What the masks do is stop the spread of infectious particles or droplets in the air. But if infectious people were asymptomatic, that would mean they were not coughing or sneezing. In that case they were not spreading infectious particles or droplets in the air, so how might wearing masks have prevented this early asymptomatic viral spreading?
In fact, what was the manner of infection? Was it in the breathed out air, or perhaps through touch?
Then there is the issue of the face masks with the valves that open when the person wearing them breathes out. Those types of face masks would not prevent an infected person wearing the mask from infecting nearby people.
I am left with the thought that surgical face masks might be very helpful when infected people are coughing or sneezing, as these types of face masks prevent spread of infectious particles or droplets in the air. But according to the Mayo Clinic report, not enough of these are being produced to pass out to the general population; instead they are being reserved for health care workers and essential personnel.
Mayo Clinic offers that the general public may wear cloth masks; and the Mayor of Los Angeles then mandated that we Angelenos must do so. That is considerable expense and discomfort to us, which might yet be a sensible consideration if there were a peer-reviewed article showing that fabric masks are helpful in preventing the spread of the virus. Until we have such research, I feel the Mayor of Los Angeles ought to revoke his mandate that we must always wear cloth masks in public.
In love, light and joy,
Alice B. Clagett
I Am of the Stars
Written and published on 3 June 2020
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
health, COVID-19, coronavirus, face masks, civil unrest, community alerts, psychology, psychiatry, fear, fight or flight, anxiety, freeze-fawn response, panic attacks, face masks, rioting, looting, social unrest,