About COVID-19 and wearing a face-mask
You’re being asked to wear a cloth mask to cover your face to reduce the majority of the droplets you exhale from combining with the droplets that other people exhale, in a community effort to lower the overall risk of contagion to others.
It will absolutely not 100% protect you from inhalation of droplets, and that is entirely the point of making it a shared effort to reduce the total volume of respiratory droplets in the same air breathed by everyone. Less droplets exhaled leads to less droplets inhaled.
Photo #1: I am wearing a polyester neck gaiter as a simple, single layer, face mask. Even though it is not intended to act as protective personal equipment, or a medical grade filtered mask or respirator, that’s not the point. It helps to reduce, not eliminate, the droplets that I exhale. It’s not perfect, nor is it the most effective, but it is better than nothing. I can breathe just fine, and go about shopping at a local Asian market for what I need to stock up on, where everyone else is masked. The risk is there, of course, but greatly reduced for everyone present. With my asthma, I never felt restricted in any way, never felt my breathing was compromised, and could easily function with very minimal impact to my oxygen levels.
Photo #2: I was wearing a chemical protective mask and full chemical protective suit designed to filter out or reduce the impact of a variety of airborne contaminants, sprayed droplets, or vaporized hazards including: mustard gas, CS gas (tear gas, for you civilians), a variety of nerve agents, blister agents, weaponized anthrax spores and some biological hazards, and toxic chemicals due to fire and smoke and it was still was not 100% effective against every threat out there. It just reduced the risk to a much greater extent and for a longer period and I would have needed a fully sealed suit with its own air supply to be completely protected against all contaminants.
At the time the photo was taken, it was August, around 3pm, during a training exercise in Georgia. It was hot, miserably humid, and I had been wearing the full suit for about two hours with another 2 hours to go before someone gave the “All Clear.” The mask absolutely could not be removed until then. I could hydrate through a tube at the opening of the mask, connected to my canteen. Otherwise, physically, I had to still carry out the training mission, fully dressed in the suit and mask (MOPP Level 4), during the hottest part of day, and the hottest day of the year, in a Georgia swamp, at a high tempo, until whenever someone in charge decided that the exercise was over.
The point is, even under conditions most civilians whining about masks will never face, MOPP-4 did not kill me. Although it made me miserable, overheated, and exhausted over the course of 4-6 hours, MOPP-4 was designed to protect me from an incredibly contaminated environment. The biggest risks I faced during that particular exercise was dehydration and possible heat stroke. Imagine, now, having to wear MOPP-4 in a real combat environment.
By comparison, a face mask is not meant to protect you from the contaminants within that environment. It is only meant to help reduce the contamination to a shared environment by reducing everyone’s exhaled droplets. It’s the same as trying to get everyone to reduce their collective carbon footprints (and we know how well that is going), only this time it is trying to get everyone to reduce their COVID-19 footprints.
For the majority of you, certain health conditions aside, even an improvised face mask is not going to cause any risk to you, outside of a slight inconvenience to your pride. Realistically, listening to Donald Trump will more likely get you killed, assuming that rat has convinced you that “mAsKs r A dEmOcRaTiC tAcTiC 2 gEt U 2 GiVe Up Ur FreEdUmBz MAGA!”
If a training exercise with the US Army 3rd Infantry Division for several hours under MOPP-4 conditions during the hottest part of a brutally hot and humid day in a Georgia swamp did not kill me, wearing a simple cloth mask to go grocery shopping for 20-30 minutes will not kill you.