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I never really intended to write this, but... once upon a time, I had a facebook friend. She seems to have unfriended me when we got into a kind of heated argument on Facebook in one of her public posts (see the original post here) over the effects and necessity of face masks. I made imho well informed arguments but she seems to have gotten upset and deleted our thread :(. Thus I got the idea for actually writing an article about Covid-19 ... and masks.

Lets face it: There are people that go to great length to justify not wearing a mask when around other people in the recent months.

Their main arguments in general seem to be

  • Covid-19 is not as dangerous as it might seem
  • Surgical masks do not help with aerosols
  • wearing a mask poses unlawful restrictions in one's freedom
  • There is expert X that says Corona is just a normal flu.

Lets go over all of them step by step.

"Covid-19 is not as dangerous as it might seem" ...?

Ok, you saw the situation in NewYork, in the East of  France, in Spain in the media, right? NewYork had to put the dead into storage units outside of the hospitals since there was not enough space left inside. In France, they exported ill people to Germany since it had free capacity at hand when French hospitals were at 100% load. In Spain people had to stay inside except when going for grocery shopping... If you are not seeing similar effects, chances are you are living someplace where by now officials have made sure to protect people in appropriate ways, e.g. wearing masks in public.

"Surgical masks do not help with aerosols" ...?

Surgical masks help with Covid19 virus particles getting airborn in the first place by reducing the amount of droplets getting into the air when speaking. For this to work everyone who speaks anything has to wear a mask though. If only you don't you are posing a risk to everyone around you. The only masks that protect from aerosols that are already airborn are FFP2 or similar and higher grade filter masks.

Aerosols are just really small droplets. While not all of them might get caught in a surgical mask directly in front of the mouth, a lot of them are. As with any virus infection the amount of virus particles you receive plays a role in deciding wether you become infected or not with a specific virus.

In other words: Keeping the virus - in case you have it - to yourself by wearing a mask might be literally vital for someone else.

"Wearing a mask poses unlawful restrictions in one's freedom" ...?

Does it? Where are you actually required to wear a mask?

  • in stores
  • in public transportation
  • on the way to your table in restaurants (seating inside is allowed in Germany)
  • at work

If you don't want to wear a mask, simply don't go there. You can walk or ride your bicycle or go by car. You can order groceries online.  You can quit your job. So you are FREE to do all those things. What is really a restriction in freedom, even life threatening, is your unwillingness to wear a mask in those places mentioned above. Because by that you potentially make other people sick.

"There is expert X that says Corona is just a normal flu." ... ?

Really? Most of those experts with knowledge in the space have kind of reverted their stance by now. Even Elon Musk by now has been much less vocal about Covid-19 not being a more serious issue than a normal flu.

Don't get me wrong

The virus is that: A Virus. We must make sure that we don't let the virus dictate our lives and long term business decisions. The current situation is extremely hard on restaurants, musicians and other people living from direct contact with audiences.

BUT: Masks actually make sure that we can do business as usual as far as possible without getting too many people sick and by that causing a state-wide emergency situation. Masks are our friends in getting along with our daily lives.