Most of the public does not understand the difference between one mask and the other and regrettably, the decisions they make can be fatal or have long-term consequences. If you work with the public, your chances of being exposed to COVID are exponentially increased. Stefano Riznyk, an employment and business lawyer runs a fashion label (AntonioStefano.com) in order to raise money for abused dogs. Out of necessity, for his staff and elderly relative (91), he had to create a safe mask as the 3M 95s are not available to the public. Having spent a year in fashion school, he combined that knowledge with his scientific background in biochemistry and genetics. In order to do so, he had to extensively study COVID as well as the masks on the market. Here is what he learned:
MASKS ON THE MARKET
1. The disposable blue masks you see everywhere. These masks are water resistant, try them under running water and you will see. If water cannot easily permeate them, air won’t either. As a result, in seeking the path of least resistance, the air will flow from both above and below the mask. What this means is that although the mask offers some protection from sneezes (how often do people sneeze?), the person wearing them is both inhaling and exhaling contaminated air. The person wearing it has no protection from COVID or other viral agents; try blowing through it, you will not feel your breath.
2. The second choice that became popular was the mask that offered a round air valve, and it’s popularity was based on the fact that it was easier to breathe through. The issue with that mask, was that again, people were inhaling and exhaling contaminated air.
3. The third choice you often encounter is the single-layer mask with a company logo or some other design. There are two issues with such a mask. First, there is only one layer of protection. Cloth is manufactured and has vertical and horizontal strands called the warp and weft, respectively. Given that feature, a person inhales and exhales through the minute openings between where the strands of fabric intersect. Again, this provides ‘some’ protection in that a virus may get caught in the intersection of the fibers, but if it doesn’t, then you simply inhale it. The second issue is that many of these masks are manufactured out of cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture. You have a very good chance of absorbing several water droplets in the air containing COVID and then at some point you may inhale them, or simply touch your mask, thereby risking infection.
UNDERSTANDING THE COVID CHALLENGE
There are two main ways of contracting COVID. One way is by touching something that has been touched by someone who is a carrier, for example a cart in a grocery store. The second, much more dangerous way, is from a cloud. When someone speaks or breathes, they create an invisible cloud. COVID attaches itself to the water/moisture droplets in those clouds. If you are not sure that your breath carries moisture, breathe on a pair of eyeglasses.
COVID can be around you or not, it is the invisible enemy. However, you never know. You need to protect yourself, not just those around you; after all, there are articles about people wearing masks yet contracting COVID; it’s no surprise.
WHAT MAKES COVID SO DANGEROUS
- First, COVID is an RNA virus which means it does not check its strands when replicating as a DNA virus would. It will mutate and keep replicating and it can do this much more rapidly than a DNA virus. Think of it as reckless.
- It has a hook for hanging on to its prey. It is physically designed in such a way that it can maintain a grip on its territory.
- It is extremely contagious.
- It is able to harbor itself in your body for a week and fool the body’s protective systems into thinking that it is not there. During this time it is able to replicate rapidly and develop a presence in the body. It’s job now is to replicate as rapidly as possible in order to create such a critical mass that by the time the body discovers it, the body is so overwhelmed that it is unable to defend itself. The odd thing is that it kills the host, and in that process, it kills itself.
HOW TO SURVIVE COVID
As we have witnessed, COVID has gone from a small problem to a global pandemic; it seems it will be endemic. For most people, it will simply be a matter of time before they are subjected to the virus, as many people choose not to wear masks and are freely spreading it. No matter how careful you are, you may catch COVID:
- In the airplane seat of the person who just spent 3 hours creating a cloud-full of viruses;
- By putting your hands on the grocery cart or an item that someone infected by touching it;
- By sitting in a car that has not had the air cleared by opening the windows,
- By touching a piece of equipment on the gym; or even by
Walking into a hospital wearing a less than protective mask.
The only way you can hope to survive this virus is by being exposed to a small amount of it. If that is the case, your body may be able to protect you, if you are one of the lucky ones who is not very sensitive to it. If, on other hand, you will be exposed to a large amount of the virus when first exposed to it, and a large amount, replicating wildly, will overwhelm your body and, well, you watch the news. The cheapest and most effective protection you can find today is your mask, and you have to wear it. Consider yourself, your parents, children and staff when choosing the right mask, and wear it. Think of the situation as you would unprotected sex…the one time you don’t protect….you know what can happen…in this case no different except for the end result being the exact opposite.