Super-Heroism 101: You Need a Mask
By Chicago cousin Yvor Stoakley, Attorney
While the jury may still be out (sorry about the legal jargon…it means there is still no clear verdict on this issue), “Masks Save Lives” (https://www.maskssavelives.org/ ) makes some compelling arguments for wearing masks in public during this pandemic. We each have to weigh these arguments and make up our own minds but here are some of the points they offer for consideration:
· Western countries are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infections compared to Asian countries where mask wearing is a more culturally accepted practice.
· There is broad consensus that individuals who are infected and individuals who are contagious should wear a mask in the presence of other people to reduce the incidence of infecting others.
· It is standard practice in hospitals for surgeons to wear masks to avoid transferring germs to their patients.
· Masks can protect against transfer of aerosolized droplets that may contain viruses
· Wearing a mask during a pandemic is a courteous gesture towards other human beings.
· Masks trap virus particles on the inside preventing them from becoming airborne.
· Without sufficient testing and given that many COVID-19 carriers may be asymptomatic (i.e., not exhibiting symptoms) it is best to assume that everyone could be a carrier.
· Masks are only one protective strategy and should still be combined with social distancing, coughing into your elbow, washing your hands frequently, and other appropriate practices.
· Masks can be easily made from readily available materials without preventing healthcare workers, first e responders and others from having masks they vitally need.
· N95 masks are better than surgical masks, but anything that prevents breathing in moisture particles with viruses helps.
We clearly need more research and hard data to confirm or illuminate the effectiveness of wearing masks. And it is always good advice to consult with a doctor. But in a time when every individual is called upon to do his or her small part to “flatten the curve” and mitigate the spread of the corona virus, we can all wear a mask in public or when interacting with other people. At any rate, while you are sheltered in place, give it some thought.
And furthermore, remember that many fictional superheroes and defenders of justice (e.g., Zorro, the Lone Ranger, Black Panther, Raven, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) choose masks.*
*In law school they taught us to try any argument that we thought might be persuasive.