Masks protect others from you but so some good

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Posted by Big Ron on August 13, 21 at 11:07:36:

In Reply to: Re: Hard to decide how to respond to you... posted by SA Devil on August 12, 21 at 12:56:16:

This is my first and last post on masking. I promised myself I would not jump into this cat fight, but these posts are getting out of hand. I'm not taking either side. I'm just adding some professional input. Masks, by themselves, are not an effective prevention, but they are a component of prevention systems.

Operating rooms are designed to ASHAE spec 170 standards. The best grade of high efficiency (HEPA) filtered air enters the room directly above the operating table. The room exhaust ducts are located at floor level away from the procedure area. This creates a positive pressure "clean zone" around the patient. Personnel masks assure that the operating staff breathing does not expel foreign material into the clean air stream. Instead, the masks deflect their exhaust and the room ventilation carries it away from the patient. In the attached illustration, you can see the gray HEPA filters above the table and the return ducts low on the walls. This creates a laminar air stream away from the patient.

Do masks directly stop the wearer from inhaling viruses? No. They do not stop bacteria either. But virus and bacteria do not free-float in the air. They hitch-hike in expelled micro water droplets then on dust/pollen that absorbs the droplets. These are what the masks stop. But specific procedures must be followed for masks to even remotely protect the wearers. There must be care in selecting a proper fitting mask, handling the mask, removing the mask and cleaning it after every use. [I tell my wife that sticking her used mask in her purse defeats its purpose. If did stop any virus laden pollen, the pollen is now in her purse with her tissue and lipstick.]

So what good are masks in our normal life? They keep us from breathing directly on one another. Outdoors, the masks deflect our expelled breath. It loses its velocity and prevailing breezes can dilute it and carry it away. Indoors, the deflected air still finds its way into the ventilation system. Without HEPA filters, the virus recirculates back into the room and your mask MIGHT help stop virus laden dust/pollen.

So, as I see it, masks do some good, especially if they are a component of larger virus fighting actions that includes hand sanitation stations, enforced distancing standards, vaccinations, business sanitation and wipe down requirements and anything else that we can throw at this virus. Lets face it, this damn virus is not going away anytime soon. Its not lethal enough to quickly kill all its hosts. Its too stable to quickly mutate to a benign form. Therefore, I have accepted mask mandates as a smaller pain in the butt than the virus.

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