Remember when face masks weren’t something we had to think about? Me neither. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been much debate about wearing masks (or not wearing them).
Many corporate chains across the country have made it mandatory for face masks to be worn upon entering their stores.
And many videos on social media have featured irate would-be customers losing their MINDS when told that they needed to wear a mask in order to enter said store.
Social media has been a hot-bed of debate about if wearing a face mask really does anything to mitigate the spread of the virus. To wear or not to wear- that IS the question.
A scientist performed a test about the transmission of respiratory droplets with and without a mask, & shared a picture showing the obvious benefits to wearing a face mask.
Rich Davis is a clinical microbiology lab director who clearly knows his stuff when it comes to germ transmission. His Twitter timeline features a great deal of informative tweets about Covid-19 diagnostic rates, hospital preparation issues, etc.
Rich advocates that people wear masks in public. But based on his self-performed test results, it appears he’s got science on his side.
To settle the question of just how effective face masks are at potentially cutting down the spread of coronavirus, Rich:
sneezed, sang, talked & coughed toward an agar culture plate with or without a mask.
Basically Rich mimicked the same types of behaviors that people would normally be doing in public. He photographed the results, posting them in a tweet that quickly went viral:
What does a mask do? Blocks respiratory droplets coming from your mouth and throat.
Two simple demos:
First, I sneezed, sang, talked & coughed toward an agar culture plate with or without a mask. Bacteria colonies show where droplets landed. A mask blocks virtually all of them. pic.twitter.com/ETUD9DFmgU
— Rich Davis, PhD, D(ABMM), MLS ??? (@richdavisphd) June 26, 2020
In the column on the left, it’s clear that without a face mask, bacteria colonies quickly spread from the dispersed droplets.
And in the column on the right…. it seems that those promoting the use of face masks are RIGHT.
Wearing a face mask dramatically prevented the spread of droplets, as evidenced by the picture featured. Based on Davis’ experiment, it’s clear that although face masks cannot be guaranteed to be 100% effective, they definitely go a LONG way in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Granted, the science isn’t exact; Davis quickly explains that his simple experiment isn’t typically how one would culture viruses or model the spread of Covid-19.
(Simply put, the respiratory droplets in Rich Davis’ experiment are normal, everyday ones, not Covid-19 droplets.)
But masks do go a long way in keeping your respiratory secretions -healthy or otherwise- to yourself!
Rich & his research team at Providence Eastern WA even created a short video to explain the process of the experiment and the benefit of wearing face masks in public:
It's amazing how much good one little mask can do! Check out how a normal, everyday mask keeps respiratory droplets from spreading outside your body, potentially sharing viruses. pic.twitter.com/zeXyemJwO8
— Providence Eastern WA (@providence_phc) June 26, 2020
Face masks are controversial to say the least; many Americans feel that the insistence of face masks in public infringes on their individual rights.
In the land of the free and the brave, why should people have to wear something on their face if they don’t want to, dammit?!
The pandemic has ravaged much of our “normal” way of life. It’s a bizarre time, an uncertain time, and everyone feels the stress. People have their own opinions about how to handle this unusual crisis- naturally face masks fall into this category.
In terms of public health, however, it does seem clear that based on Rich Davis’ experiment, the use of face masks in public can make a significant difference in terms of limiting the spread of the virus.