All medical interventions should be weighed according to a full accounting and analysis of the risks and benefits of the intervention. Unfortunately, rather than providing the public with a full and fair assessment of the pros-and-cons and risks-and-benefits, the CDC, WHO, and many public health "experts" have lied (Fauci in March), confused, and frequently changed their positions and rationales for recommending community wearing of medical masks. Furthermore, the experts have been willfully negligent in fully informing the public of the risks of wearing medical masks.
Because the public has been deprived of information related to the risks of medical masks, I (and many others) have endeavored to provide that information and make a case for why medical masking of the community is an unscientific bad idea:
If our public health experts were honest, not trying to fear and manipulate us into submitting to expensive anti-virals and fast-tracked vaccines, the recommendations for the public to wear medical masks would have been easily settled by a simple analysis of the risk to benefit ratio.
Therefore, let's do that analysis now, by establishing a ratio-proportion analysis of the risks and benefits of medical masks. Perhaps then we can bring some clarity and answer your personal question about wearing medical masks.
On the benefits side of the ratio, we have some evidence that suggests surgical and cloth masks provide some benefits in blocking respiratory droplets and the viral particles they contain. The scientific research literature demonstrates that N95 masks block 95% of respiratory droplets, surgical masks 44%, and cloth masks 3%. The first point that should be clear is that more viral particles pass through the mask than are blocked, and cloth masks are fairly worthless. In fact, cloth masks are so ineffective and more likely to mislead the wearer into not guarding coughs and sneezes, that they are probably worse than going mask-less while practicing appropriate guarding behaviors.
Regardless of their limited ability to block respiratory droplets and viral particles, masks add almost nothing to the prevention of viral transmission achieved by frequent hand washing and social distancing practices. Therefore, the overall benefit of masks contributes almost nothing to the picture, and the benefit side of the ratio is very small.
On the risk side, medical masks significantly increase the risk of:
I could continue, but I think that list is enough to establish the fact that the "risk number" is sufficiently large.
Therefore, we now have a small "benefit number" and a LARGE "risk number." The ratio then becomes:
LARGE RISK : SMALL BENEFIT
You don't have to have an advanced degree in math or the sciences to understand that the risk to benefit ratio does not support community wearing of medical masks.
If you are vulnerable and worried, wash your hands frequently and stay six feet away from anyone you don't know or trust to be uninfected. The rest of us will do the only thing that has ever worked against pandemic diseases. We will bravely encounter the virus, allow our healthy immune systems to eradicate the virus, develop lifelong immunity, and allow ourselves to become contributors to herd immunity. We will protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Support your immune system!
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