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Face masks : what does the science say


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#1 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 03:24 PM

Covid is a recent virus so the science is thin on transmission and prevention.

Face masks are a big debate. The science says the virus is airborne and has even proven how a "damp homemade face mask" can greatly limit virus shedding and spreading.
Yet we are told repeatedly that it is useless and even that it can make things worse.

So I am posting here the links to the science in favour of masks, But where is the science on the inutility or risks of wearing one.

https://www.medrxiv....1177v1.full.pdf and make sure to watch the videos here https://zenodo.org/r...25#.Xo1MES1L1Z0

than a couple more on how Covid is airborne:
https://www.nejm.org...56/NEJMc2004973
https://jamanetwork....article/2763852

If you are against face mask wearing, make your argument solid and not political by attaching a link to a scientific study.

For what concern shortage, there are dozens and dozens of tutorial done by medical staff teaching how to make one at home with or without sewing machine and what to use as a filter.  They even ask to please drop the mask at the medical centre for staff too use. So nobody is talking about depriving medical staff from precious resources.

Also out of curiosity who is wearing a mask?

Edited by Lost_In_Australia, 08 April 2020 - 03:25 PM.


#2 ~THE~MAGICIAN~

Posted 08 April 2020 - 03:29 PM

I'm certainly not wearing one. Hardly anyone I see at the supermarket is wearing one. I visit the hospital twice daily, and you can't actually get in if you arrive wearing one. The only ones I see working there that have one on are ones caring for/transporting patients, and the nurses at the door screening visitors.

#3 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 03:31 PM

Have you looked at the links I posted ?

#4 Moukmouk

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:12 PM

Medical staff are not allowed to use any mask that isn’t TGA approved. Particularly to protect anyone who is exposed to droplets and aerosols - you need very specific masks, and even then they aren’t 100% effective. So yes, by wearing them you are depriving medical staff of precious resources. If you want to make and wear a cloth one, knock yourself out.

#5 aquarium2

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:15 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but i think the debate is not about the science i.e. very few are doubting that masks are effective (when worn correctly) if the virus is present and certainly sick people should be wearing masks to prevent the spread to others.

I think the argument is more that you are very unlikely to come into contact with airborne virus particles unless of course you are in a medical or other setting whereby there are known cases.

The chance of coming into contact with airborne virus particles while outside in the community is very slim.

Edited by aquarium2, 08 April 2020 - 04:17 PM.


#6 born.a.girl

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:24 PM

I've read the links.

It's not in the least surprised about speaking, but one of the answers I'm interested in, and didn't get from either of those, was distance the transmission was, from speaking.

We got it for the sneezing, and I've doubted the 1.5 - 2m all along and been further apart than that for anything that's possible.


I'd love to know if someone simply speaking (and to be fair we're all shouting at the moment!) carries several metres.

Not wearing a mask, and have seen far fewer than I did two months ago, seems the message to preserve them for health workers has been heard, and if people want to wear one to protect others, make your own.

ETA: I will try to find the article by a medical expert who said that fine, wear one if you think it will protect others from you, but your risk of catching it is probably increased unless you're used to wearing them, simply because of human nature.

Edited by born.a.girl, 08 April 2020 - 04:26 PM.


#7 Ozquoll

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:26 PM

Don't have time right now to post more links, but here is a comment from Nassim Taleb on the subject:

The argument by the
@WHO
imbeciles & journo fellow travelers that masks "can give a false sense of security" is interesting. Let's apply it to:
+seat belts
+airbags
+helmets
+door locks
+condoms
+circuit breakers
+parachutes
+bulletproof vests
+fire alarms
+scholomorochs ...
Show

#8 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:49 PM

View PostMoukmouk, on 08 April 2020 - 04:12 PM, said:

Medical staff are not allowed to use any mask that isn’t TGA approved. Particularly to protect anyone who is exposed to droplets and aerosols - you need very specific masks, and even then they aren’t 100% effective. So yes, by wearing them you are depriving medical staff of precious resources. If you want to make and wear a cloth one, knock yourself out.

I wear a Cambridge mask N99 which is a reusable cloth mask which is not suitable for medical settings. so NO , I am not depriving medical staff of precious resources .

View PostOzquoll, on 08 April 2020 - 04:26 PM, said:

Don't have time right now to post more links, but here is a comment from Nassim Taleb on the subject:

The argument by the
@WHO
imbeciles & journo fellow travelers that masks "can give a false sense of security" is interesting. Let's apply it to:
+seat belts
+airbags
+helmets
+door locks
+condoms
+circuit breakers
+parachutes
+bulletproof vests
+fire alarms
+scholomorochs ...
Show

exactly my point. Not only patronising but also insulting

#9 (feral)epg

Posted 08 April 2020 - 04:52 PM

Face masks are a PART of protecting you in a high risk situation - but you need to not touch your face (including when you put it on and take it off or adjust it) and if it doesn't fully seal you may still be exposed.  If your eyes aren't covered you may still be exposed.  Basically face masks protect front line health workers who have a high chance of being exposed and are used as a suite of PPE and with some knowledge of how to limit contamination when putting on and removing the gear.

Where face masks are really useful is if you have (or COULD have) a respiratory virus and you need to protect people around you.   The simple mechanical barrier to airborne viral particles will stop a large percentage of viral particles getting to the next person.

In short - if you are in a an area where there is significant community spread then wearing a face mask in public is a great idea, but it's to stop other people getting it.  

It will do a little to protect you, but not nearly as much as social distancing, hand washing and NOT TOUCHING YOUR FACE.

#10 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:21 PM

View PostLost_In_Australia, on 08 April 2020 - 03:24 PM, said:

Covid is a recent virus so the science is thin on transmission and prevention.

Face masks are a big debate. The science says the virus is airborne and has even proven how a "damp homemade face mask" can greatly limit virus shedding and spreading.
Yet we are told repeatedly that it is useless and even that it can make things worse.

So I am posting here the links to the science in favour of masks, But where is the science on the inutility or risks of wearing one.

https://www.medrxiv....1177v1.full.pdf and make sure to watch the videos here https://zenodo.org/r...25#.Xo1MES1L1Z0

than a couple more on how Covid is airborne:
https://www.nejm.org...56/NEJMc2004973
https://jamanetwork....article/2763852

If you are against face mask wearing, make your argument solid and not political by attaching a link to a scientific study.

For what concern shortage, there are dozens and dozens of tutorial done by medical staff teaching how to make one at home with or without sewing machine and what to use as a filter.  They even ask to please drop the mask at the medical centre for staff too use. So nobody is talking about depriving medical staff from precious resources.

Also out of curiosity who is wearing a mask?


I will not wear a mask unless I am sick or until my DD can be assured of having an N95 mask as she tends CV-19 patients.

CV-19 is not airborne, it is in droplet form but can be transferred through the air in aerosol form. There is a difference.
The majority of transfer of CV-19 is by touching a surface on which the virus has been transferred to by touch.
Thus the need for strict hand washing as the first line of defence.

#11 Tiara15

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:23 PM

I have started wearing a reusable facemask which contains a disposable 5 layer activated carbon filter. I bought one for myself and daughter when the air quality was really poor due to the ongoing bushfires. The filter is rated N95 to filter out fine particles but is not graded for medical use so I am not taking resources away from the medical profession.

Every second person in my suburb is wearing a facemask when out and about and at the shops so I don't feel self-concious or stand out. I think if the virus continues to get worse, it will just be the new normal to see people wearing masks.

The US recently changed their stance on wearing masks to prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the disease. As we are all aware, people with coronavirus can be contagious for 14 days before showing symptoms, so wearing masks will help to stop the spread of the disease as each breath, cough and sneeze expels the virus.

I decided to start wearing the mask while out and about for 2 reasons:

1. To protect others in case I am asyptomatic
2. To protect myself from breathing in potentially infected air

I know the keyboard warriors will be up in arms about point 2 but I would rather play it safe and have some protection rather than none. This is obviously in addition to social distancing, washing hands and not touching my face etc

#12 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:26 PM

View PostTiara15, on 08 April 2020 - 05:23 PM, said:



The US recently changed their stance on wearing masks to prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the disease. As we are all aware, people with coronavirus can be contagious for 14 days before showing symptoms, so wearing masks will help to stop the spread of the disease as each breath, cough and sneeze expels the virus

With due respect I am not inclined at this point in time to take any notice of advice that comes out of the US or the White House.
They are not appearing to be too expert on this.

#13 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:30 PM

I wear the N95 mask I purchased in Queenstown  Mitre 10 in January due to the bushfire smoke back here.

I keep it in the car so any virus particles are heated out of it.

I attempt not to touch my face while wearing it.

I only wear it when shopping and also wear gloves.

I find it very hard to believe they are completely useless when some countries have made it mandatory to wear.

Should everyone have one and deprive medical staff, obviously not.
But I don't believe that mine is one of those and I feel much better with than without.

#14 Tiara15

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:30 PM

View PostSoontobegran, on 08 April 2020 - 05:26 PM, said:

With due respect I am not inclined at this point in time to take any notice of advice that comes out of the US or the White House.
They are not appearing to be too expert on this.

I referenced the US as its a western country but if you look at the Asian countries who have low transmission rates, they are wearing masks

#15 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:33 PM

View PostTiara15, on 08 April 2020 - 05:30 PM, said:

I referenced the US as its a western country but if you look at the Asian countries who have low transmission rates, they are wearing masks

But we are Australia, we have by comparison low transmission rates due to social distancing, isolation and improved hand washing not because people are wearing masks.

Edited by Soontobegran, 08 April 2020 - 05:45 PM.


#16 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:34 PM

View PostSoontobegran, on 08 April 2020 - 05:21 PM, said:

I will not wear a mask unless I am sick or until my DD can be assured of having an N95 mask as she tends CV-19 patients.

CV-19 is not airborne, it is in droplet form but can be transferred through the air in aerosol form. There is a difference.
The majority of transfer of CV-19 is by touching a surface on which the virus has been transferred to by touch.
Thus the need for strict hand washing as the first line of defence.

the recent studies contradict you. It is airborne and stays floating in a room for up to 3 hours.
And where is the proof the minion + people who have been infected touched their face? Michael Osterholm disagrees with washing your hands being the best line of defence. He argues it is to placate a need to be able to do something, so we tell people to wash their hand. Listen to this https://www.youtube....h?v=E3URhJx0NSw (jump to minute 44.20)

#17 .Jerry.

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:34 PM

I make no judgment on those who choose to wear masks, especially if they wear them "correctly".

I am dubious about all these home sewing groups making pseudo-masks out of pretty quilting fabric.  I guess they may slow large droplets.

I am personally not going to wear a mask as I know I would touch my face anyway.  I do not have COVID-19.  I am not fearful about getting COVID-19.  Therefore I wouldn't wear a mask.
I would wear one in a clinical setting if advised to do so by a medical professional.

#18 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:38 PM

View PostPhillipaCrawford, on 08 April 2020 - 05:30 PM, said:

I only wear it when shopping and also wear gloves.


Do you wear one pair of gloves or do you change them between touching various items on the shelves then for paying and then for getting back to the car ?

Today every second person had  gloves on as they touched several pieces of fruit, used their phone, readjusted their masks, rummaged through the meat packets, getting their wallet out of their handbag, then packing their groceries and pushing the trolley to the car.
This is not how to wear gloves.
This is a disaster in cross infection. What happens is if you pick up the virus in one spot you spread it to many more on your gloves.....you might  be safe but the person that comes after you isn't.

I won't wear gloves, I apply sanitiser before every single thing I pick up off the shelf.

Edited by Soontobegran, 08 April 2020 - 05:49 PM.


#19 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:41 PM

View PostLost_In_Australia, on 08 April 2020 - 05:34 PM, said:

the recent studies contradict you. It is airborne and stays floating in a room for up to 3 hours.
And where is the proof the minion + people who have been infected touched their face? Michael Osterholm disagrees with washing your hands being the best line of defence. He argues it is to placate a need to be able to do something, so we tell people to wash their hand. Listen to this https://www.youtube....h?v=E3URhJx0NSw (jump to minute 44.20)

It is not airborne.........it floats in fluid in the air......it is called aerosol transfer. The virus travels in a droplet. If there is no moisture in the air it will drop to the ground.
Sneezes and coughs project the droplet THROUGH the air, not in an air particle.

Wear a mask, don't wear a mask just do not rely on it. Prevention of transmission is so much more than a mask and a pair of gloves.

Edited by Soontobegran, 08 April 2020 - 05:47 PM.


#20 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:47 PM

View PostSoontobegran, on 08 April 2020 - 05:41 PM, said:

It is not airborne.........it floats in fluid in the air......it is called aerosol transfer. The virus travels in a droplet. If there is no moisture in the air it will drop to the ground.
Sneezes and coughs project the droplet THROUGH the air, not in an air particle.

would you mind sharing the science on this. I put scientific papers links . Give me yours.

#21 Tiara15

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:49 PM

View PostSoontobegran, on 08 April 2020 - 05:33 PM, said:

But we are Australia, we have by comparison low transmission rates due to social isolation and isolation not because people are wearing masks.

The following article references recent research supporting the use of masks.

https://www.theguard...top-coronavirus

Some key points:

- Every country with enforced mask usage shows dramatically lower death rates compared with countries not using masks widely

- Prof David Heymann CBE, a World Health Organization (WHO) adviser, said, “I think that wearing a mask is equally effective or more effective than distancing.”

- South Korea was on a similar trajectory to Italy and then the government ensured there was enough mask supply for all citizens, after which exponential growth slowed

- “Masks for All laws” are now in place in Israel, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mongolia and elsewhere, with more locations added every day.

#22 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:54 PM

View PostLost_In_Australia, on 08 April 2020 - 05:47 PM, said:

would you mind sharing the science on this. I put scientific papers links . Give me yours.
https://www.who.int/...recommendations

#23 Soontobegran

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:56 PM

View PostTiara15, on 08 April 2020 - 05:49 PM, said:

The following article references recent research supporting the use of masks.

https://www.theguard...top-coronavirus

Some key points:

- Every country with enforced mask usage shows dramatically lower death rates compared with countries not using masks widely

- Prof David Heymann CBE, a World Health Organization (WHO) adviser, said, “I think that wearing a mask is equally effective or more effective than distancing.”

- South Korea was on a similar trajectory to Italy and then the government ensured there was enough mask supply for all citizens, after which exponential growth slowed

- “Masks for All laws” are now in place in Israel, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mongolia and elsewhere, with more locations added every day.

Is there something wrong with Australia's death rate ?

We are not mandated to wear a mask.....I think we are doing okay.

#24 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 08 April 2020 - 05:59 PM

View PostLost_In_Australia, on 08 April 2020 - 05:47 PM, said:

would you mind sharing the science on this. I put scientific papers links . Give me yours.
The tone of your posts makes me less inclined to bother reading them. You catch more flies with honey ...

If you are trying to change people's minds, maybe try listening to them, trying to understand where they are coming from, and then being pleasant to them.

This thread was strangely argumentative from the start.

#25 Lost_In_Australia

Posted 08 April 2020 - 06:01 PM

The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious journal of Medicine, says it stays in the air for up to 3 hours
" SARS-CoV-2 remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of our experiment (3 hours), with a reduction in infectious titer from 103.5 to 102.7 TCID50 per liter of air. This reduction was similar to that observed with SARS-CoV-1, from 104.3 to 103.5 TCID50 per milliliter (Figure 1A)."

https://www.nejm.org...56/NEJMc2004973

I am yet to find a paper that says the 100.000s of people in Italy, Spain , Frances, got infected and potentially killed because they were careless enough to touch their face and not wash hands. Seriously .

Of course it also passes through contact. But not only and I say not mainly




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