Medical student Sarah Printz in her 5-22-2020 letter (“Cloth mask increases risk”) warned that cloth face masks are not only ineffective in protecting against COVID-19 but potentially harmful “Virus infected” were her words. Would her U of WA medical professionals agree?
I know my homemade two-ply face mask with flimsy elastic in short support supply ear holders is not comparable to the medically sanctioned but also in short supply N-95 masks. But for those of us who do wear cloth face masks, we do so in agreement and support of the available science interpreted by respected world experts in public health, virology and, yes, history. We practice discernment in following questionable data espoused by leaders who have little ability to listen to the experts, and who have political agendas of their own.
Wearing a mask says we do not want to contaminate you and we do not want to contract the virus ourselves. We respect the caregivers and a medical system so overburdened right now. Recent UMass Dartmouth studies show COVID-19 is most likely spread in enclosed areas with face-to-face conversation and even more robustly transmitted in noisy enclosed environments where voices have to be raised. This kind of close interaction and subsequent transmission is not likely to occur when wearing a mask.
Like everyone, we want this episode to be over with no more heartbreak to families. We want the economy to recover. We all miss the life we had before, but we are willing to do our part — which may be as little as wearing an imperfect but functional mask and following protocol for shopping, working or being out in the world.
Eileen Malone Lyons