Wearing a face mask is NOT a guarantee of safety against the COVID-19 virus. Virus particles are smaller than bacteria cells and can enter your body through your eyes as well as your mouth and nose. “However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of the coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly five (5) fold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).”*
If you’re outside walking around, a mask probably is not going to be much help, and you’re also probably not at very high risk according to Dr. Hannah Devlin**, who writes for The Guardian.
Even still, wearing a mask to prevent contagion from the coughs and sneezes of others may be somewhat helpful. But, if it gives the wearer a false sense of protection, then it’s actually detrimental.
Here’s why masks aren’t as effective as we might think. Most fibrous face masks (from surgical, cloth to homemade bandanas) have a very low degree of protection against the COVID-19 virus. There are a number of reasons for this. Several of the reasons involve poor fit, user error, and the amount of breathing ability that they provide. However, the biggest problem is that the COVID-19 viral strand is small enough to fit right through most face masks. According to studies, most masks filter about the size of 0.3 micrometers (um). The COVID-19 viral strands have been measured between 70-90 nanometers (nm).***
So, here’s the math:
A 0.3 um mask will filter out particles that are as small as 300 nm, but it won’t filter out those that are 70-90 nm. They are just too small.
So, wearing a face mask is still not a bad idea, but it is more protection FROM you than FOR you. It will, however, catch the droplets in the air from your own coughing or sneezing AND it will give you some protection from the coughing and sneezing of others who might be carrying the COVID-19 virus. Keep in mind that even if someone is showing mild to no symptoms, they could still be carrying the virus.
So, the best defense we have at this time is just not to come in contact with people by keeping your “social distancing.” And, keep yourself as healthy as you can. Eat healthy foods, take vitamin supplements for the anti-oxidants that you aren’t getting from your food, get good rest, exercise reasonably, and consider CBD oil in addition to your vitamins. Read our information on the benefits of CBD oil.
*“Can a Face Mask Protect Me From Coronavirus? COVID-19 Myths Busted”
**Hannah Devlin is the Guardian’s science correspondent, having previously been science editor of the Times. She has a PhD in biomedical imaging from the University of Oxford.
***Commentary: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data: Lisa M Brosseau, ScD & Maraget Sietsema, PhD. Univ. of Minn. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy