Testing shows basic advantages of wearing mask to safeguard against COVID-19

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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Wearing a mask as society opens back up, is not something society is in agreement about.

“When this all started, we didn’t have enough data about whether masks were protective. There was some concern whether the virus was transmitted by airborne droplets, or respiratory droplets like influenza,” said Dr. Tom Moore, an infectious disease specialist in Wichita. “Subsequent to that you had plenty of information gathered in the last several weeks that allow us to say that if 80% of the population wore masks like this, or a mask, that we could really open up completely. The trick is, will 80% of the population actually wear a mask? I don’t think so, because apparently now it’s become politicized to protect others. I don’t understand that at all.”

A part of the problem for some was that early guidance from federal health officials did not promote mask wearing.

“The trouble is the data evolved over time,” said Dr. Moore. “That’s the way medicine is. You have to be comfortable with significant uncertainties. There are almost infinite possibilities on permutations on how these viruses can mutate and be transmitted.”

But now, most health officials do urge the use of masks as way to help safely opening the economy.

“If 80% of the population would wear them, then we could ramp back up almost to where we were before this whole thing started,” said Dr. Moore.

In the video above,

you can see a simple test we did with Tim Wallace of Germadic Pest Control. He used a laser particle counter to measure the particles in the air with and without the use of a mask. You’ll see in that video, even a simple cloth mask cut down on the number of particles, large and small, getting through.

Dr. Moore says the test is a good one to show the basic advantages of mask wearing.

“The point that is made, is that a mask of any kind, even the simplest mask goes a long way to reducing particle spread.”

Dr. Moore acknowledges the need to get people out of their homes and back to work, but he urges people to take the recommended precautions in doing so, including wearing a mask.

“Again, you could be out in public wearing a mask like this, you’ll still get the virus, *if* everyone else around you is not wearing a mask,” cautioned Dr. Moore. “But if everybody wears a mask, at least 80% of the people, then the virus transmission drops significantly.”

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