We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 321:Wear the damn mask

Daily Life In Belgium Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Today is just a simple plea to my readers. Wear the damn mask. It’s not that hard. When you go out you put on your clothes, you can put on a mask too. Since people seem to be making this a political statement now, I guess I can explain why it’s not one.

It’s very simple, you’re young, you’re healthy, your whole family is young healthy, and no one is over the age of 30. Everyone’s family is different, you could very well have a family of people where everyone is under 30 years old. Let’s say you have 10 people in your family and you interact with them regularly. So now the stage is set we can get into the hypothetical.

Let’s say one of you gets COVID-19. Well as we know from flu season, if one of you gets it, chances are you all will. So now you have ten healthy people showing little or now symptoms. We’ll get into the long-term effects shortly, but for now you’re still your young healthy you. How many people do you interact with on an average day, five? Ten? Let’s say you and your family are not social people so you interact with just 3 people on average daily. For this example we’re only going to focus on you, but we can expand it later for everyone else as well.

Of those three people you come into contact with you infect two, now chances are if no masks are involved, you’ve infected all three, but let’s say the third person had great hygiene and was extremely lucky. Now let’s say those two people infect two others, if we continue this chain just eight times, we have 256 people infected. This is exponential growth. The first link in the chain only two people were infected, by the seventh, 128 people were infected. That’s just one day and you’ve infected two people, you can be contagious without showing symptoms for 14 days or more! That’s a lot of people infected just because you are a young healthy person.

Needless to say if we extend this logic to the rest of your family, you have ten young, healthy people infected for a total of 2,560 people infected all thanks to your family and the eight links in the chain that did nothing different (I made a video about this concept here).

Here’s why this matters. You and your family are young and healthy. They will (most likely) survive COVID-19. Can you say the same for the 2,560 people you’ve passed the virus onto? How many in this chain have an immune disorder? How many are older? How many have problems breathing normally? How many have confounding factors that make them more susceptible? Still don’t want to wear the mask? (more on the spread)

But you’re young and healthy and so is your family! Let’s fast forward our scenario just a few weeks. You’ve all basically recovered from the disease, every doctor is giving you the green light that you’re not sick, yet something isn’t right. There are numerous reports of long-term issues with recovery, let’s fast forward again by a month. You’re long over this illness, so says the doctors, and you’re alive and still very young and healthy… right?

Unfortunately, you’re still having problems breathing. You feel exhausted all the time, you are dealing with something hard to describe so you call it brain fog because it feels like you can’t think anymore (more reading)(even more reading). Your doctors are confused and don’t know what to do because frankly no one knows what is causing this. This is a novel virus, the long-term effects are still not fully known, heck even the short-term effects are only now coming into light (more reading).

But you are young and healthy! Well… you were healthy at least. The fact of the matter is that while the death rate for people who contract COVID-19 is relatively low, we still have almost 130,000 people dead as of this writing (per CDC). Those who live to talk about it aren’t living the same life they had prior to getting sick. They are dealing with lingering symptoms that could very well be lifelong. We simply don’t know and we won’t know until well after this is all over. There is so much we don’t know, but there are a few things we do know that are just as important if not more so than the unknowns.

We know this is airborne (specifically spread by respiratory droplets). You spread it just by talking with people (more reading). You spread it (not very effectively) by touching your face and touching things that others touch (more reading). You spread it just like most diseases that are this contagious. You spread it by doing the things you normally do; through interacting with people.

We know that the best way you or I can stop this is by wearing a damn mask. Yes, that means you too even if you aren’t showing symptoms, you may be infected and contagious (more reading). Masks may feel uncomfortable, but you’re still getting just as much oxygen as ever, despite what the trolls say (more reading). Think about it, surgeons wear masks for sometimes more than 12 hours straight, if they reduced your blood oxygen level, we would’ve known by now. We would have doctors passing out mid surgery, that certainly wouldn’t be ideal.

Further, if you just want to be a selfish asshole thinking you do not need to wear a mask by claiming to have breathing issues, know this is actually a major indication you should wear a mask. Plenty of people who had troubles breathing were wearing masks anytime they went out long before COVID-19. While I admit there are legitimate cases where people cannot wear a mask, most of those individuals stay at home because going out is not safe.

I’m not saying we need to police disability, just that if you’re trying to claim to be disabled to get out of wearing a mask, that’s a pretty shitty thing to do. Worse it makes life for actually disabled people, such as myself (luckily none of my disabilities prevent me from masking) harder because people will constantly wonder if you’re faking. We already get policed by able-bodied people as it is, so this just makes things worse for us.

In summation, wear the damn mask and if you legitimately can’t, stay home and stay safe until this is over. Don’t be another link in the chain.


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