Saturday, May 18, 2024


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce


Four Potential Consequences of Wearing Face Masks We Need to Be Wary Of

people wearing face masks

Opinion | If healthcare workers wear surgical masks, there is good evidence that it limits the spread of respiratory viral infections in hospitals. But there is no clear evidence that surgical masks protect members of the public from getting or passing on these sorts of infections—most likely because of incorrect use. For cloth masks worn by the public, the picture is even murkier.

Surgical masks are made up of several layers of non-woven plastic and can effectively filter very small particles, such as droplets of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The masks typically contain an external waterproof layer and an internal absorbent layer.

Although masks made from scarves, T-shirts or other fabrics can’t provide the same level of protection and durability as surgical masks, they can block some of the large droplets exhaled by the wearer, hence protecting others from viral exposure. But their ability to filter droplets depends on their construction. Multi-layered cloth masks are better at filtering but harder to breathe through. And they become wetter quicker than single-layer masks.

The question we need to ask is not so much whether cloth masks offer as good a protection as surgical masks (we know that they don’t, and perhaps that’s fine), but whether there are serious unintended consequences of recommending their widespread use by members of the public.

When deciding if a safety measure is worth introducing at scale, it’s important to balance any benefits against potential harms. Here are four potential consequences that, unless mitigated against, could make things worse. Forewarned is forearmed.

The Big Four

First, what’s become known as the Peltzman effect suggests that introducing one safety measure, such as car seatbelts, may lead to other, compensatory risk behaviours, such as speeding. (If you perceive that your car is safer than usual, you might compensate for this by driving faster.) In the context of COVID-19, it has been argued that the wearing of a mask may make people feel safer, and hence minimise other protective behaviours which we know to be effective, such as social distancing and regular hand washing.

Although we don’t have clear evidence that this is happening during the pandemic, a few studies conducted before the outbreak found that people did indeed have worse hand hygiene when wearing a mask.

Second, to offer any protection, masks need to be worn correctly and consistently when in contact with other people. Most studies conducted so far—none of which were conducted during the current pandemic—didn’t explicitly look at the level of adherence to mask-wearing. Those that did reported variable adherence, ranging from “good” to “poor”.

It’s important to note, though, that the more severe a disease seems and the more susceptible people feel, the more likely they are to protect themselves during a pandemic. Given the high number of global infections and deaths, people may display greater than typical levels of adherence to mask-wearing during the pandemic.

Third, masks may act as an extra transmission route or prompt other behaviour that transmits the virus, such as regular face touching. To stop masks being turned into alternative transmission routes, they need to be safely put on and taken off.

People touch their faces 15-23 times per hour on average—an itchy or poorly fitted mask may mean that people touch their eyes, nose and mouth even more regularly. After touching your mask, there’s a risk that your hands become contaminated, with the risk that you will then spread the virus to other surfaces, such as door handles, railings or tables.

Fourth, U.K. researchers have calculated that if the entire U.K. population started using disposable masks daily, it would create a significant environmental hazard, namely 42,000 tonnes of potentially contaminated and unrecyclable plastic waste per year.

Also, most people will have noticed the increased littering of masks in community spaces, which may act as environmental and infection hazards. Reusable rather than disposable masks are therefore preferable.

National and international public health bodies now recommend that members of the public use masks in places where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing, such as on public transport. We strongly urge readers to carry on with good hand hygiene and social distancing, not touching their face and using reusable (rather than disposable) face coverings—and safely disposing of them at the end of their useful life.

This article was reprinted with permission. It was originally published in The Conversation.

34 Responses

  1. Here’s more info: This is from someone at OSHA
    I am OSHA 10&30 certified. I know some of you are too. I don’t really know WHY OSHA hasn’t come forward and stopped the nonsense BUT
    I wanna cover 3 things
    • N95 masks and masks with exhale ports
    • surgical masks
    • filter or cloth masks
    Okay so upon further inspection OSHA says some masks are okay and not okay in certain situations.
    If you’re working with fumes and aerosol chemicals and you give your employees the wrong masks and they get sick you can be sued.
    • N95 masks: are designed for CONTAMINATED environments. That means when you exhale through N95 the design is that you are exhaling into contamination. The exhale from N95 masks are vented to breath straight out without filtration. They don’t filter the air on the way out. They don’t need to.
    Conclusion: if you’re in Stewart’s and the guy with Covid has N95 mask his covid breath is unfiltered being exhaled into Stewart’s (because it was designed for already contaminated environments, it’s not filtering your air on the way out)
    • Surgical Mask: these masks were designed and approved for STERILE environments. The amount of particles and contaminants in the outside and indoor environments where people are CLOGG these masks very Very quickly. The moisture from your breath combined with the clogged mask with render it “useless” IF you come in contact with Covid and your mask traps it You become a walking virus dispenser. Everytime you put your mask on you are breathing the germs from EVERYWHERE you went. They should be changed or thrown out every “20-30 minutes in a non sterile environment”
    Cloth masks: today three people pointed to their masks as the walked by me entering Lowe’s. They said “ya gotta wear your mask BRO” I said very clearly “those masks don’t work bro, in fact they MAKE you sicker” the “pshh’d” me.
    By now hopefully you all know CLOTH masks do not filter anything. You mean the American flag one my aunt made? Yes. The one with sunflowers that looks so cute? Yes. The bandanna, the cut up t-shirt, the scarf ALL of them offer NO FILTERING whatsoever. As you exhale you are ridding your lungs of contaminants and carbon dioxide. Cloth masks trap this carbon dioxide the best. It actually risks health. The moisture caught in these masks can become mildew ridden over night. Dry coughing, enhanced allergies, sore throat are all symptoms of a micro-mold in your mask.
    Ultimate Answer: N95 blows the virus into the air from a contaminated person.
    The surgical mask is not designed for the outside world and will not filter the virus upon inhaling through it. It’s filtration works on the exhale. (Like a vacuum bag it only works one way)
    Cloth masks are WORSE than none.
    The CDC wants us to keep wearing masks. The masks don’t work.
    *Occupational Safety & Health Administration sited.
    The top American organization for safety.
    They regulate and educate asbestos workers, surgical rooms, you name it.
    If your mask gives you security wear it, just know it is a false sense of security.
    If stores stopped enforcing it no one would continue this nonsense.
    If work requires you to wear a mask, OSHA requires that your employer verifies you are receiving the minimum of 19.5% oxygen level by law! Are your oxygen levels being monitored while at work? Are you experiencing dizziness and headaches? This is a written law NOT a recommendation! I guarantee if employees started citing law and demanding their employers follow the law then the masks would go away!

    1. This is fantastic information, Jim! Do you have a webpage or OSHA pdf that we can pass on to loved ones buying into the false narrative? I went to the OSHA website and did not find this information there. (disappointed) The fearful tend to only follow what the media and powerful corporations/agencies publish and broadcast. An official OSHA report may help shift this. Thank you so much!!

    2. Wow! Thank you for that incredible information! Why in the world would Dr Fauci and his “team” not be aware of this information that was compiled by a governmental organization well known for protecting citizens? Is Dr Fauci deliberately suppressing this information?

  2. I do not wear any masks and will not comply as I have invested 4 months researching this scam and found overwhelming evidence how this so-called virus is not the monster the media wants us to believe. With a survival rate of around 98.5% it is the media pushing the death rates (0.03%) to be much bigger than they really are. Anyone with critical thinking skills will see through this veil of hype and choose for themselves and not be forced into anything. I have several clinical studies found in peer-reviewed medical journals stating how masks do not protect one from influenza and other respiratory diseases. Want a comparison? The Influenza virus is as large as a sun while the coronavirus is the size of the earth. If you can picture this you know masks will not protect you, if in fact this new virus causes anything.
    No one has conducted Koch’s Postulates to prove whether or not this virus actually causes any disease. Koch’s Postulates have been the standard in proving any micro-organism is the causative agent since the late 1800’s. Yet not one laboratory, clinic or hospital have carried this out.
    Until Koch’s Postulates PROVE without any reasonable doubt the “virus” causes disease, I will not wear a mask.

  3. I would like to see a “print”, save to PDF option for these articles. Wanted to bring in this one to my local health food store to distribute to shoppers.

  4. Another issue getting some discussion is that mask wearing for extended periods creates a hypoxic (low oxygen) state in the wearer–they aren’t getting enough oxygen. We require oxygen for life. Depending on the health of the wearer, this causes degrees of fatigue, headaches, fuzzy thinking (which can lead to unsafe behaviors on the job), and increase in heart rate (tachycardia) as the body seeks to compensate for low available oxygen. Hypoxia will worsen the effects of pre-existing cardiopulmonary diseases, and is also a major contributing factor to cancer.

    How much can you restrict oxygen to someone before you have created a new problem?

    Mask wearing has become a magic talisman, and now is becoming a divisive symbol with people shaming non-mask wearers, yet as medical device there is not universal agreement about the benefits. Several studies conducted prior to the era of COVID show that even surgeons and surgical nurses, who know how to use them, aren’t protected from passing germs to each other.

    At the bottom of all this is our fearful embrace of external barriers as substitutes for a heathy immune system. It’s like a feudal town that surrounds itself with a wall, but posts no sentries and has no weapons with which to defend itself. A healthy immune system provides sentries and weapons. Boosting immune strength should be getting more play than masks, not shoved into a dark corner like a stepchild in a Dickens novel.

  5. I’m an RN and appreciate the info included in this article. Has anyone else considered that a mask of any type restricts our ability to breath and changes normal gas flow dynamics as it relates to the need to exhale CO2 and water vapor and the need to inhale O2?

    Something tells me that restricting our ability to exhale carbon dioxide as well as restricting the ease at which we inhale oxygen, may be causing issues for those with various lung conditions.

    I see 60-85 year old seniors walking down the sidewalk with no one else nearby in 90 degree heat and I wonder if this is not actually INCREASING their risk for various adverse events. ??? Fear causes folks to lose what common sense they might actually possess. 🙂

  6. Okay let’s compromise. Those who are suspicious of vaccines and the possible side effects they may cause….wear cloth masks. Those who think vaccines should be mandatory and think the government should force vaccines on all citizens with no exceptions…..wear plastic bags over their heads, tightly secured around their necks, just to keep out the bad old germs. :o)

  7. There are also behavioral issues with wearing masks. It has become a political statement. Those who know they are not effective because they are not worn correctly and consistently— are shamed for pointing out the fact. There is a massive smear campaign happening right now, in every business and public arena. It was all cleverly orchestrated and those who managed to create this mass hysteria are now laughing. Snitches will always be snitches, so watch your back and stay close to those who love you unconditionally. Someone may “turn you in”.

  8. You didn’t even touch on my main concern. What does wearing the mask do to the health , especially immune response, of the person wearing the mask? After wearing it for hours, am I more likely to catch the virus because my immune system is compromised due to lack of oxygen when wearing it?

    1. Exactly!! There is a disease u can catch from prolonged mask wearing I heard it mentioned somewhere before n the side effects include dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, confusion, n loss of appetite!! My dad is experiencingALL OF THESE n the mem loss is SEVERE he has stage 4 lung cancer n is Terrified of c19 n wears it everywhere!! He will NOT listen to me on the subject hes its soo much worse shape now then he ever was before!! N it killing me hes bff!! N I feel helpless n SOO PISS3D about this fake virus I showed him even where the CD had been stacking the death toll #s n have quietly lowered them repeatedly!! Twice this past week!! Fauci has a sealed indictmentagainsthim now straight from trump n another woman. They are pigs animals . I’ve heard for along time now they ( government) wanted our immune systemslowered n now they r hes dying a more aweful slower death THANCANCER!! Never thought In all my years I’d say sum likevthat!!

  9. Common sense and critical thinking needs to be applied to the entire COVID fear porn and mask shaming. According to the corrupt CDC, there is a .26 percentage fatality which thereby is a 99.74 percent cure rate of COVID. Yes, COVID is contagious just as the flu and yes the flu can be and is deadly like other viruses. In fact boosting our immunity is much better than restricting airflow of oxygen and breathing in germs and viruses we continuously shed with a mask on. We have 380 Trillion virus in our body and 30 Trillion bacteria. We are a germ factory. Clean air, food, water along with Vit D, C, A, zinc, quercetin, Iodine and hand washing is what the CDC, WHO and NHI should be promoting instead of fear, mask and ventilators. Immune compromised folks and those who are ill should take extra precautions to protect themselves as they should at all times from all viruses, bacterial and fungus infections. As healthcare professionals, I will not comply with this insanity. FYI. Test are extremely inaccurate with very high percentage of false positives. This is your so called second wave.

    1. Exactly!! There is a disease u can catch from prolonged mask wearing I heard it mentioned somewhere before n the side effects include dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, confusion, n loss of appetite!! My dad is experiencingALL OF THESE n the mem loss is SEVERE he has stage 4 lung cancer n is Terrified of c19 n wears it everywhere!! He will NOT listen to me on the subject hes its soo much worse shape now then he ever was before!! N it killing me hes bff!! N I feel helpless n SOO PISS3D about this fake virus I showed him even where the CD had been stacking the death toll #s n have quietly lowered them repeatedly!! Twice this past week!! Fauci has a sealed indictmentagainsthim now straight from trump n another woman. They are pigs animals . I’ve heard for along time now they ( government) wanted our immune systemslowered n now they r hes dying a more aweful slower death THANCANCER!! Never thought In all my years I’d say sum like that!!

  10. In the apartment complex where I live, there are masks lying about on the grounds. What next? A mask recycling law? I feel I have as much right to be out and about as anyone else and I do not wear a mask. If a person is worried about getting sick, stay home. I will not be forced into that restrictive world because you are in fear mode.

  11. SARS-CoV-2….the virus that causes….CoVid19…..sounds scary! Hmmm like HIV…..the virus that causes AIDS!! CDC said then humanity is doomed. Didn’t work out that way. Another non-pathogenic RNA virus. Great posts all! To Mark R. absolutely correct, without purification of virus, correct RNA cannot be used for PCR as a measure…..but, the other problem, PCR only amplifies fragments of DNA and was meant for lab work to manufacture enough particles to perform other lab sequences. Kary Mullis, it’s inventor made this very clear during the “AIDS” lie.

  12. I’d like to thank Jim (employee at OSHA?) for his comment above. Really, I think this whole pandemic (so-called) is one extremely creative, but diabolical, operation. Or ‘psy-op’, if I may say so. I was struck, very early on, by the pervasiveness of fear-spreading everywhere you went online, in the form of a ‘COVID WARNING’ from sites ranging from your local hardware store, to medical journals. If I google a doctor, there’s always a ‘COVID WARNING’ at the top of the search result page. The psychological message is very strong, as a result.

  13. My son-in -law is a doctor and when I mentioned the danger of inhaling carbon dioxide wearing a mask, he said surgeons wear masks for 10-12 hours at a time 5x a week and they’re fine…?
    I did not have the info to comment.

    1. LOL, he was lying to you. I seriously doubt any surgery lasts 10 or 12 hours unless he’s transplanting hearts daily….absurd. If true his outcome rates are probably bad! He couldn’t concur that hypercapnia in his case was something he should be concerned about? Thats dishonest. It happens to people with COPD, or respiratory problems or on sedatives. Acute hypercapnia is dangerous because the kidneys can’t compensate by producing bicarbonate. Coma is one side effect.

      1. A friend of mine went to the doctor the other day and had to wear a mask in the waiting room. The wait was longer than he had thought, and it was nearly an hour before he got in to see the doctor. When he finally did, he felt light-headed and dizzy. The doctor tested his oxygen and found it to be under 90 percent. He was told not to wear a mask. Problem is, people crazed by the whole mask issue can be very in your face about it. Scary to have a breathing problem these days.

    2. Surgical masks are worn in cold, controlled environment, and changed out every time the surgeon leaves the OR. That is no comparison to public wearing masks in a variety of environments, including hot temps with poor air quality throughout July, August and September. Some people don’t know they suffer heart disease until they wear a mask for too long and wind up in the hospital, mis-diagnosed with Covid instead of organic heart disease.

  14. Thanks for this important information. Common sense tells you there’s something not right with restricting your oxygen inhale and carbon dioxide exhale. My solution when I go shopping is to hold a folded washcloth in front of my nose and mouth, “a face covering”. This doesn’t restrict my breathing but shows courtesy to others. I’ve become pretty good at one handed shopping ! On occasion I need to use my other hand but it’s brief and so far no one has bothered me. I’m fortunate to not be in an environment where the mask is required full time. I am also nurturing and relying on my immune system as I do for all illnesses.

  15. There is one more aspect of mask wearing – people hear with their eyes. Not only hearing impaired – most of us. Especially children learning language. My son is deaf and autistic, and he lip reads all the time. Those masked monsters don’t even look like like people, let alone teach language!
    And Barbara Cohen – what your SIL forgot to tell you is that surgeons (and clean room workers, etc) are wearing masks in POSITIVE AIR PRESSURE environment! Where oxygen is basically pumped into you. So you wearing a mask while shopping in hot Walmart or a surgeon masked in a cool well air conditioned space are two different things.

  16. Wear mask. Instant upgrade. Bandito Pro.

    And most people look like an absolute fearful idiotic moron with the masks on.

    If you want mandatory masks, move to the middle east.

    Masks are just the litmus test. Enough people are acceptant of them, they’re immediately moving towards mandatory vaccinations and state sanctioned discrimination for those whom disagree.

    There was no effective resistance, only whimpers from behind the mask. Liberty is lost. Tyranny is here. Now we need only wait for it’s ugly effects and the ensuing civil war which will inevitably follow. The outlook is no longer hopeful. The outlook now seems that civil war is an inevitability. We are witnessing history repeating and this is disconcertingly similar to the build up pre 1940’s. We lost free travel. We lost school. We lost services. We lost participation. We lost democratic reasoning. We’re enjoying riots. We’re enjoying violence. We’re enjoying state sanctioned discrimination. The end is near.

  17. So pleased to have stumbled upon this page. Yesterday I went to Asda (England’s version of Walmart) duly donned a face mask and within 5 minutes felt nauseous to the point I thought I was going to throw up. I have thought right from the start that surely, wearing a mask will inhibit oxygen intake and increase carbon dioxide and mould forming moisture build up. When I looked into the Spanish Flu “pandemic” I found that it was not the “first wave” that killed millions but actually in most cases pneumonia caused by a secondary upper respiratory tract infection during the so called “second wave”. The recommended “antidote” back then was not face masks but HUGE doses of the recently patented Aspirin, prescribed in such dangerously high quantities that led to the secondary infections and ensuing pneumonia. This made me question today’s response ie, face masks and to wonder what the effects of inhibiting your breathing flow would actually lead to. Long term use of face masks, it seems, is the new way of killing more people off. Thanks everyone for all the information on here. I am so glad to have found this.

  18. It’s interesting that you mentioned the potential consequences of wearing face masks that users need to be aware of. I agree with what you said that this must be worn correctly and consistently, especially when going out where one can encounter a lot of people. Since we’re running out of it, I’m hoping to find 3 ply face masks online.

  19. You made a good point that people should still avoid touching their face in order to protect themselves from the virus. A friend of mine might need to start buying wholesale face masks because he was asked to start reporting to his job after five months of working from home. It would indeed be for the best if he could always change in to a new masks every few house in order to be very sure of his safety.

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