Updated: Jul 3, 2020
I said it at Tuesday’s Emergency Council Meeting, and I’ll say it again here: I absolutely support mask-wearing where appropriate. It’s responsible and effective. I don’t believe people should be punished for not wearing one, nor businesses punished for not making people wear one.
I do want to dispel some of the myths about masks:
1) The size of the virus is largely irrelevant—the virus isn’t floating through the air like smog, it’s transmitted predominately by microscopic droplets, which any mask but Zorro‘s is effective at inhibiting. Some masks are more effective than others, but none that cover both the nose and mouth are useless.
2) If you wear a mask but constantly touch other surfaces (or people) and then touch your face, you’re rendering it pretty much useless. A mask is most effective at preventing your droplets from reaching others, and somewhat effective at preventing others’ droplets from entering your body, but if you’re going to just put it in your body yourself, the mask won’t do a thing.
3) A mask is for when you can’t socially distance. The recommended distance is 6 feet because droplets (which don’t have the mass of bricks) have an effective range of 4+ feet, making 6 feet safe. Use more caution outside in the wind.
4) Don’t wear a mask during strenuous exercise. The few people who have died of hypoxia did this.
5) Disposable masks should be used and tossed. Others should be washed. The humidity created by your breath in a mask is a breeding ground for germs and will be counter-productive if you deem it your “lucky mask” and refuse to wash it the way hockey players refuse to wash their pads.
6) Masks help reduce the spread of the virus—they don’t stop it. Don’t develop a false sense of security that makes you ignore social distancing or hand-washing. Masks will help slow this thing down, but are NOT going to eradicate it. If you believe a mask makes you Superman, then do yourself a favor and think of the virus as kryptonite.
6) Masks have become a symbol of tyranny, oppression, and government overreach. Tyranny is tyranny, and must be fought, but a mask is just a mask, and I encourage everyone to wear one where appropriate.
Plenty of things are being politicized that shouldn’t. Mask-wearing is one of them. We achieved a victory for self-governance and personal responsibility Tuesday by passing a recommendation rather than a mandate, punishable by law. That was preempted today with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order mandating individuals statewide to wear masks in specific circumstances.
I obviously don’t agree with the order, but that doesn’t change my stance that responsible adults (and young adults as appropriate) should voluntarily wear masks until the spread of this virus has substantially died down.