Add Masks to the Innumerable List of Everyday Filters That Make Life Easier

Masks are simply one addition to the endless array of filters that mitigate undesired pollutants. Get used to it. Just do not fucking politicize them, please.

By David Icke Turner

Photo by Foteini Zaglåra

Everyday, our lives are made better by a multitudinous number of filters. Our homes have a dozen filters. Our cars have a filter on just about every component. We expect every iota of water we drink to be filtered to the point that there is zero microbial load. The human body has a complex array of filters to filter out everything from toxins to tequila. Even cigarettes have filters. Why has adding one more filter, albeit temporary,  suddenly made us all go batshit crazy?

There has never been a delusion that any one of the aforementioned filters are impermeable. Mitigation is the central ethos to any and every filter. Science has concluded that the process of reducing contaminants is a worthwhile endeavor even if it fails to act as a silver bullet. This has been the thinking as it relates to transmission of the coronavirus. Masks reduce the probability of infected people transmitting the disease. Put a filter on both the infected and uninfected; neither of whom know if they carry the virus or not. Sounds easy enough. Well not for everyone. 

All over the country, ‘anti-mask activists’ have staged protests. A health practitioner in Orange County, Calif., quit her job after receiving a death threat for a face-mask order. Shortly thereafter, California Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated wearing masks in public. At first, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott forbade municipalities from fining people for not wearing masks yet quickly flipped the script. 

Though state governors across the nation differ on how to handle masks, scientists have reached broad consensus: Masks work.

The Lancet published a  meta-analysis of 172 studies that examined an array of ways to prevent transmission of various coronavirus iterations from an infected person to people in their proximity. The study found that masks markedly reduced viral transmission.

“What this evidence supports is that, if there is a policy around using face masks in place, it does actually come with a fairly large effect,” said researcher Holger Schünemann, an epidemiologist at McMaster University.

To be fair, the CDC initially told Americans not to wear masks. It was presumed that the mere taking on and off of the mask would create an opportunity for hand to face transmission. Public health officials quickly changed their tune after several studies determined that repeated exposure to the virus via air droplets was a large factor in the spread of Covid-19.  Repeated demands for people to regularly wash and sanitize their hands became the fix for hand to face transmission. 

Scientists have found that people release exponentially more of the virus when their mouths are open or they are speaking. 

“If you’re talking, when things are coming out of your mouth, they’re coming out fast,” says Virginia Tech researcher Linsey Marr. “They’re going to slam into the cloth mask. I think even a low-quality mask can block a lot of those droplets.”

She references a study published in Nature Medicine last April that examined those infected with the flu and common cold. It concluded that loose-fitting surgical masks mitigated nearly all the airborne droplets wearers breathed out. This reduced people’s exposure as well as limited the amount of the virus lingering in the air. 

There are several other studies. There is one published in late May in BMJ Global Health. There is another study, published in late May in the journal Cell. Even the British have a study

What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? - Smart Air Filters
A scarf can make you look either smart or pretentious. You decide.

But none of this seems to matter to those who can not be convinced. Somehow we have gotten to the point where masks are emblematic of the political divide in this country. The right is accusing the left of using masks for some sort of Trojan Horse for communism, mandatory homosexuality, or forced conversion to Islam. Someone needs to explain to your average hillbilly on the right, that their face needs a mask the same way their Ford Raptor does. To their discredit, much of the left spends as much time vilifying those who do not wear masks as much as they go out without wearing masks. If you were a connoisseur of fine hypocrisy,  2020 America would be your fucking dream come true. Yet living in a nation where science is politicized is dangerous for everyone. It did not start with masks. But let’s hope it ends with them. 


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