And the Masks Stay On

The simplest lies are the most effective.

Just give us two weeks to flatten the curve.

And with that phrase the American people were led down the path to submission. Once that simple lie was accepted, the ones that followed could be made more complex and harder to question.

Your mask protects them, their masks protect you.

The beauty of that lie is that it seems simple but has multiple layers. The first asks you only to internalize a belief. No action is required. The second lie has to be unpacked. Not only are you required to accept a belief but you also have to act on it, and demonstrate your belief in a public display. You are also empowered to police the actions of others when they are caught flaunting their disbelief.

Then, there are the supporting lies.

Trust the Science

That seems the easiest one to take on. Science is most absolutely NOT based on trust. It is a framework used to understand the world around us, and one of the foundational principles is skepticism. Never trust the science. Instead, question and evaluate in order to reach your own conclusions.

Now, onto what I see as the most impactful lie:

Wear the mask to protect against the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Go to the National Library of Medicine and search the terms “mask” with “COVID-19”. You will find over 2500 peer-reviewed articles with conclusions at odds with each other. Some conclude that masks have no effect on stopping viral spread, others suggest that they are very effective. Almost all of the articles use weak levels of evidence such as modeling or observational studies. I suggest that you not get sucked into that chaos. I offer an Occam’s razor alternative.

The virus that is reported to be causing the current pandemic has a known size:

The virus particle has a diameter of 60~100 nm (from the journal Viruses)

The best mask that is being used by medical staff, and rationed to be saved for those who need them most is the N-95. The N-95 is designed to filter particles of a known size:

N95 masks can filter at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) test particles (OSHA Review)

Let’s size those measurements on the same scale –

A nanometer (nm) is 1 billionth of a meter -> virus 100nm = 0.1 microns

A micron is 1 millionth of a meter, an N95 filters particles no smaller than 0.3 microns

The virus that needs to be contained by the best mask being used has a particle size 300% smaller than what the mask is able to stop.

Then the discussion devolves into arguing over droplet size and aerosol spread. Again, use the razor. Yes, all face coverings stop respiratory droplets to some degree — but none stop all. Once the droplet is absorbed it breaks down and evaporates. What is left is the 100nm viral particle. What is its fate? We know that the mask is moved and touched. Each of those things will dislodge and transport the virus. To a hand, to a surface, back to the air. There it will “live” for at least hours if not days (Cleveland Clinic)

Now for the most malicious lie:

Just be patient and wait for the vaccine. Then we’ll be able to live our lives again

The vaccine is out, and the trusted scientists have given us their dictate — you still need to wear the mask in public (CDC)

So, you are still expected to show evidence of submission. You will wear the mask. If you have not yet questioned why, I implore you to. It is not “science”. It is not safety.

A Preventive Medicine physician, committed to improving the health of his family and community.