By Scott Linscott
I’ve been spending a good deal of time doing some vaccine advocacy work and trying to answer misinformation with facts, hoping to maybe make an impact here and there.
Being a solid organ transplant survivor, I have been pretty restricted for the past year. This COVID thing is a very big threat to people like me. So, I’ve been trying to make the most of my time by trying to educate.
Recently, I’ve heard and read the same misinformation about face masks numerous times. It claims that the number of COVID deaths in the United States is proof that masks do not work.
If my roof leaks does it means all shingles are useless and I should remove them all? Masks do work and have worked. Without masks, distancing and attention to hygiene we would have been looking at deaths in the millions by now. Only 60% of Americans report consistent masks use.
Isn’t the COVID virus small enough to pass through masks? Yes! Except the virus cannot travel on it’s own. It needs a vehicle to travel. That vehicle is our respiratory droplets.
Non-aerosal respiratory droplets, according to measurable and readily provable standards, range between 5-10 micrometers (µm) . The COVID virus molecules, which require a vehicle for transmission, have a diameter ranging range between 50 nm to 140 nm.
Because there are 1000 nm in 1 micrometer, a respiratory droplet is MUCH larger. Those droplets are what masks are able to trap.
Think of it as a tractor trailer truck that is 14-feet tall trying to go under a 12-foot train trestle. Yes, all the boxes in the truck could easily fit under the bridge on their own but they need a vehicle to move. The masks are like the bridge, the droplets are the truck and the boxes it contains are the virus.
This why masks are effective. They stop the vehicle that carries the virus.
I will get my second vaccine on Friday at my transplant center and regain so much of my freedom. I can’t wait! But, some surveys show that as many as 30% of Americans are either frightened or unwilling to be vaccinated. That’s due to an endless stream of bad science, no science and misinformation (lies).
Maybe I will tackle some of that in another post. For now, mask up and help get the spread under control while we get millions vaccinated.