The dumbest thing going is that mask wearing has devolved into a binary political issue. I have lived through years of severe respiratory illness, and if that counts for anything, then let me get on my soapbox and say that breathing through an N95 mask was (and still is) not an inconvenience whatsoever.
I will let you in on a little secret… wearing a mask (or choosing not to) doesn’t mean you’re wearing your political stripes on your sleeve. What it really means is that you have some common sense, or don’t if you leave your face covering at home.
Following the political narrative that tells you not to wear a mask leaves me… disappointed and broadly concerned about your definition of civil liberty.
The common retort to the “why won’t you wear a mask?” question is usually something along the lines of… well we live in a free society! The government can’t tell me what I have to wear.
Well the government tells you to wear a seat belt, so you wear a seat belt. My Twitter followers were also quick to remind me that the government makes sure we all wear clothes. The latter is also true, though on occasion I feel like I have seen more people wearing seatbelts in Manhattan than people wearing clothes…. But I digress.
A quick run of the numbers actually tells us that wearing a seat belt and wearing a mask achieve about the same degree of success. The CDC says that wearing a seat belt, “reduces the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%” for drivers and front seat passengers. Similarly, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found, “In general, in the United States, it’s about 50% reduction of transmission of the virus” when people wear masks, but could be even higher when people wear high filtrate masks PROPERLY.
Of course, the mask protects you, not me.
The other common retort is that masks are restrictive and obstruct breathing. With that, I say you are underestimating the strength of the human body (as I chuckle under my breath).
The best way to test my hypothesis is to buy a $20 pulse oximeter – you can get one on Amazon or at the local drug store (wear a mask if you go out to buy one!). Walk around your house (or sit) for 10-15 minutes without a mask on and check your oxygen saturation periodically. If you’re healthy unlike me, you’ll see that you can very easily breathe (magic!). After you’ve run your little experiment’s control period, stick on that mask you love to hate! Do the same thing… walk around or sit around for a few minutes and periodically check your oxygen saturation.
*If you don’t want me to ruin the last part of the experiment, then stop reading here*
You’ll find that your oxygen saturation did not fall outside the range of your control period! Why? We’ll there’s oxygen all around us, you silly goose.
I agree that masks may give you the sensation that it’s difficult to breathe, but in reality they aren’t as restrictive as you may think. Unless your o2 drops to 90% (it won’t if you’re healthy), you aren’t going to need supplemental oxygen.
In conclusion, wearing a mask isn’t an inconvenience. You know what is an inconvenience? High-flow oxygen therapy. Yeah… that really sucks. So does getting a tube jammed down your throat. Those are just two of the methods that result in severe coronavirus disease.
Wear a damn mask…. if not for you, then for your neighbor, mother, father, child, friend, or me.
Oh… and a word to the government (all of whom obviously read my blog): stop with the mixed messaging.