Ample Evidence

There is ample evidence that mask-wearing decreases the spread of airborne communicable diseases. This is not new information.  Think about why surgeons and other hospital personnel wear masks, and for years why hospitals have posted signs for visitors and staff that say if you are feeling any sort of symptoms at all, go home, but if you must stay, please wear a mask.

Some people have been saying that masks make you sick by retaining carbon dioxide, but this is not true.  “Face masks do not decrease your oxygen intake.  They also do not make you retain more carbon dioxide than usual. Oxygen and CO2 are very small, so they can easily pass through a face mask.  Droplets are much larger in comparison, and they cannot pass easily through a face mask.”    Did you ever wonder why hospital personnel haven’t been dropping like flies for years?

Some people say masks are ineffective, but masks are very effective at providing a physical barrier to slow down airflow and impede droplet transmission.  Still skeptical?  Go light a candle and then blow it out.  Now hold a t-shirt in front of your mouth and blow it out.  Now double the t-shirt and try to blow it out.  Pretty, cool, huh?  Just two layers of fabric will generally prevent enough airflow that you can no longer blow out the candle.  Try it with the masks you have and if you’re able to blow out the candle, throw them away and get new ones!

Some people have been saying that we need to be exposed to the virus to keep our immune systems strong.  There is some evidence to support the “hygiene theory” that things like playing in the dirt during early development can help strengthen our immune reactions.  But SARS-CoV-2 is a “novel” virus that hasn’t previously been found in humans and it is very deadly in some people.  Because it is newly identified, we haven’t had time to learn about how to treat it or what the long-term complications might be if you survive.

I hear yet others say that they’re not going to wear a mask because God has a plan for each of us and there is nothing we can do to change that.  That one reminds me of a joke that my mother loved when she was undergoing cancer treatment.  It’s the one about the guy who declined chemo, radiation, and surgery because he had faith that God would save him.  When he showed up at the Pearly Gates, he asked St. Peter why God didn’t save him and an exasperated St. Peter said “we sent you an oncologist, a radiologist, and a surgeon, and you turned them all away!”

Do your part for your country! Think of the sacrifices soldiers have made and are still making for our country and take some simple steps that will help save the lives and well-being of other Americans.

Wear a mask! Wash your hands!  Watch your distance! 

It’s not just the lives lost, but also the short and long-term physical suffering and the likely post-viral complications that we are just starting to fathom, and of course the prolonged economic hardship that will be lessened if we all work toward the common purpose of defeating this virus!

This information is written by my cousin Jeanie, whose sister was my care-giver when I had surgery and 3 small children.  I thank my angels everyday. She wrote this in response to a colleague who did not believe in wearing masks or vaccines and sounded really convincing, which was scary, as others may follow her lead of protesting and advocating for invalid information. So wrote family who is an expert and I trust.

Jean M Kerver, PhD, MSc, RD
Associate Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
Traverse City Campus