On the eve of our nation’s Independence Day, let’s talk about masks. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated this week, “This mask, this face covering, actually is an instrument of freedom for Americans if we all use it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote, “We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
President Trump said in an interview with Fox Business on Wednesday, “I’m all for masks.” Yesterday, Fox News aired a public service announcement with Sean Hannity encouraging viewers to wear masks. And effective today, Texas joins a growing number of states requiring masks in public.
Answering four medical objections to wearing masks
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated recently that thirty-three thousand lives could be saved if at least 95 percent of Americans wore masks in public. Opponents, however, claim that masks are more harmful than helpful. Let’s consider their objections.
First, some claim that masks decrease oxygen levels and increase carbon dioxide levels for those who wear them. Dr. Russell Buhr, a pulmonary and critical care physician at UCLA Health, disagrees. He explains that gas molecules are much smaller than the pores in the material, meaning that the mask does not keep oxygen or carbon dioxide from moving through it. “Medical professionals wear these masks for hours a day for entire careers,” he notes.
A second objection is the claim that masks increase our risk to viruses by triggering dormant retroviruses in the body which take advantage…