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Does a Mask Protect the Wearer from the Coronavirus?

(Three-Pronged Path to Ending this Crisis)

Part Two

By Gary F. Zeolla


      This three-part article is continued from Does a Mask Protect the Wearer from the Coronavirus? (Three-Pronged Path to Ending this Crisis) Part One. That part demonstrated that masks do indeed work at protecting the wearing from the Coronavirus (CV), but in a rather unique way. A mask reduces the “viral load” that the mask-wearing is infected with, so that the person is likely to have a less severe case of the CV, having only mild or no symptoms. That makes masks tantamount to a vaccine, just like Dr. Redfield, the director of the CDC, indicated in his Senate testimony, as quoted at the beginning of Part One. This Part Two will continue this discussion with a look at other aspects of mask-wearing and explain what is meant by the subtitle to this three-part article.


Incorrect Mask Wearing


      This whole scenario assumes the person is wearing his mask correctly. But sadly, that is often not the case. If you watch your local TV news, pay attention when an on-site reporter is interviewing someone wearing a mask. More often than not, the interviewee will touch his mask multiple times in the course of a 20 second interview. The reason he does so is because his mask is not fitting correctly, so, as he talks, it slides down off of his nose. Therefore, he keeps touching it, pushing it back up. And every time he touches his face, his is potentially infecting himself.

      That includes Democrat presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. During his “whistle stop” tour after the first debate, he stopped here in western Pennsylvania on September 30, 2020. He was interviewed by Shannon Perrine, a local news reporter from WTAE (ABC affiliate). The interview lasted seven minutes and 30 seconds. Biden was wearing a black cloth mask that obviously was not fitting correctly, as throughout that short time, the mask kept sliding down completely off of his nose, and he had to push it back up over his nose two dozen times.

      His constantly fiddling with his mask was very distracting and made it difficult to pay attention to what he was saying. He might as well have just taken it off. In fact, he finally did that with 30 seconds left in the interview. But when he did, he just slid it down under his chin. That was not a good move, as, if in fact he had been exposed, then his chin and neck could have the virus on it. Then when he pulled the mask back up, the virus would be on the inside of the mask and he would breathe it in.

      Meanwhile, Shannon was over six feet away and wearing a mask herself, which she had no problems with, and no one else was in the scene, so Joe didn’t even need the mask in the first place. More on that shortly.

      But here, to explain why fiddling with a mask over and over again is problematic, I need to go back to my illustration in Part One. As Luke sits, having the conversation with Robert, his hands will be on his lap. As Robert without a mask talks, some of his exhaled CV particles will fall onto the hands of Luke. Then if Luke touches his face with those hands, he will bring the CV particles directly in contact with his mask. That could enable even more CV particles to penetrate his mask, giving him a greater CV load. If Luke reaches under his mask to pull it up, he will directly insert CV particles under his mask, and those will easily be inhaled. He could also touch his eyes in the process of fixing his mask, further infecting himself.

      On that latter, point, the eyes are a potential source of infection, but the health authorities rarely mention that point. That is apparently because the eyes are not a major gateway into the body for the CV, at least as it travels through the air. But if your touch infected hands to your eyes, then it can easily be seen that they would be a gateway for infection.

      Note also, like his hands, Luke’s chin and neck could also be infected even with wearing a mask. Thus, again, pulling a mask down under the chin then back up again is an incorrect way of momentarily removing it. I will explain the correct way shortly.

      But here, incorrect mask-wearing relates to one reason President Trump has downplayed the wearing of masks. At one of his rallies, he gave the illustration of a waiter touching his mask, then lifting up a plate off of a server tray and putting it on a customer’s table. Such an action could theoretically lead to the virus being transmitted from the waiter to the customer.

      But even more likely to lead it infections are “half-masking” (having the mouth covered but not the nose). That is just plain useless. You might as well not wear a mask. But you see it all of the time.

      In addition, a mask should only be worn once, then washed or in some way disinfected or discarded. If it is worn more than once, it is not being worn correctly. The buildup of the CV would render the mask useless. It would be like using a water filter past its usage volume. With the filter being filled, it begins to work in reverse, leaking the trapped particles back into the water. In fact, in reusing a mask, you could infect yourself just putting it on. Instead, when you take it off, you should discard or disinfect the mask then wash your hands immediately.

      Note also, the common light blue medical masks have a metal strip in them. More on that in a moment. But here, that means, they cannot be put in the microwave to be disinfected. But they and cloth masks can be put in the washer and dryer, and that will kill the virus, if warm or preferably hot water is used. But disposable medical masks are so inexpensive now, you really do not need to wash them. Just use it once and pitch it. I just bought 50 such masks for $5.19 from Amazon. At a dime each, they are truly disposable.

      This all relates back to why the health authorities told us back in March to not wear masks, but they are now telling us to do so. Back then, masks were in short supply, so the authorities wanted to be sure healthcare workers had access to them. Healthcare workers are trained in proper mask wearing, so it would make a big difference for them to wear masks. However, the average person is not so trained. As such, the authorities knew it would be a waste of masks for the general public to wear them.

      But now, masks are plentiful, so the general public purchasing them does not detract from healthcare workers attaining them. Thus, even though many in the general public will not wear them correctly, enough will do so to make it worthwhile to issue a general recommendation for everyone to wear masks.


A Facebook Meme, Types of Masks, and More on Correct Mask Wearing


      I mentioned about a Facebook meme in Part One. The main one I had in mind pictures a woman on the left wearing a mask. A man on the right is putting up a chain link fence. The woman is saying she is wearing a mask to protect herself from the CV. The man is saying he is putting up the chain link fence to protect his yard from mosquitoes.

      The point of the meme is that a chain link fence is useless to stop mosquitoes, as mosquitoes are far smaller than the holes in a chain link fence, so they easily fly through the fence. In the same way, CV particles are so much smaller than the holes in a mask that they can easily pass through the mask. This then gives the person posting the meme an excuse for not wearing a mask, claiming doing so is useless. Below is a similar meme with an appropriate caption.

      The reason for that caption is there are numerous problems with this kind of meme and the conclusion being drawn. First off, I cited in Part One numerous studies that show masks in fact do work at reducing the transmission of the virus. I focused on studies about the mask wearer being protected, but far more studies have been done that show wearing masks protects others from a CV-infected mask wearer. “Recent studies suggest that wearing face masks reduces the spread of COVID-19 on a population level and consequently blunts the growth of the epidemic curve” (Science Advances).

      Let me stop and say, studies that you might see posted on social media claiming mask do not work are generally not conducted by bona fide medical institutions and published in peer-reviewed journals, like the studies I quoted in Part One from the New English Journal of Medicine, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and The Lancet. And most likely, those posted studies did not consider incorrect mask wearing.

      As for the mask itself, studies find that they do indeed stop most CV particles, though not all of them. But that is exactly as predicated and even as desired in the scenarios I have outlined.


Masks can filter particles as small as 0.007 microns – 10 times smaller than viruses, and much, much smaller than the PM2.5 cutoff. What’s more, they work surprisingly well, even while people are wearing them. Surgical masks don’t work as well as N95 masks, but they are cheaper and more readily available. This makes them useful alternatives when other masks aren’t available (Smart Air).


      This study was done with N95 and surgical masks, and it found they stopped 90-95% of the particles. And note, by “surgical masks” is meant the common light blue masks I am sure you have seen. It was in fact such a mask that Dr. Redfield held up when he uttered the quote at the beginning of Part One. That is because the light blue surgical masks have a metal strip in the seam at the top of the mask. That enables the wearer to mold the mask around the nose, reducing the gap in that area. But that assumes the wearer even knows about that feature, puts the mask on right side up, and utilizes it. But sadly, many do not, and that takes us back to incorrect mask wearing.

      That metal strip also keeps the mask from sliding down off of the nose. That was seen when Joe Biden gave a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the afternoon of the day President Trump tested positive for the CV (10/2/20). This time, Joe was wearing a light blue surgical mask with the metal strip. You could see him press the strip in at the beginning and during the speech. Then during the 22-minute speech, the mask slid down some, but it never came completely off of his nose, and he “only” had to push it back up 16 times.

      But still, you would think as a presidential candidate and as someone who is promoting the wearing of masks, he would have been taught how to properly wear a mask. In fact, we could use a nationwide lesson on the subject. It starts with getting a mask that fits properly.

      But even when you are not wearing a mask, the recommendation to not touch your face still applies. An example of this is again Joe Biden. After the problems with his masks in the preceding two situations, he began to take off his mask before speaking at a podium. That is good, as there is no one near him, so there is no reason for him to keep a mask on as he talks. However, in just the short clips I have seen, he always touches his nose at least a couple of times.

      The reason that is a problem is just before he takes to the microphone, he is probably near people. It is possible his hands could get infected while he is near those other people. Thus, unless he washes his hands in-between, they will still be infected when he touches his nose at the podium, enabling the virus to enter his system.

      You also need to be careful when taking off of a mask and putting it back on. This was seen when the President’s doctor gave a press conference. He and the rest of his team were all wearing masks. But when Dr. Sean Conley went to the microphone, he took it off. When he did, he carefully folded it inside in without touching the inside and put it into his pocket. They didn’t show it, but I would bet when he put it back on, he was careful to again not touch the inside, to only touch the outside and the ear loops. That is important, as again, if your hands are infected and you touch the inside of your mask, you will get the virus inside the mask and breath it in when you put the mask back on.

      I know this all sounds obsessive. But again, this is why the authorities were telling the general public back in March not to wear masks. They knew the public would not take care for all of these steps, but again, healthcare workers are trained to do so. But to end this crisis, we need the general public to wear masks and to wear them correctly.

      In any case, the difference in the slippage of Biden’s two different masks demonstrates why cloth and other types of masks are not as effective as surgical and M95 masks. The former does not have the metal strip, and they tend not to fit as well as surgical masks, so they are not as effective. Although multiple lawyers will increase the effectiveness. Note also, bandanas and “neck gaiters” are the least effective type of masks, with the latter possibly being worse than no mask.


      We noticed that speaking through some masks (particularly the neck gaiter) seemed to disperse the largest droplets into a multitude of smaller droplets (see fig. S5), which explains the apparent increase in droplet count relative to no mask in that case. Considering that smaller particles are airborne longer than large droplets (larger droplets sink faster), the use of such a mask might be counterproductive….

      In proof-of-principle studies, we compared a variety of commonly available mask types and observed that some mask types approach the performance of standard surgical masks, while some mask alternatives, such as neck gaiters or bandanas, offer very little protection (Science Advances).


      But for cloth masks other than neck gaiters and bandanas, the effectiveness percentage cited previously was 65%. That is all the more effective a mask needs to reduce the CV load so that the wearer does not experience serious CV symptoms. Again, the ideal is that the wearer gets a low dose CV infection, enough to generate an immune response, but not enough to cause serious symptoms. As such, a mask does not need to be 100% effective. In fact, it would be counterproductive if it were.


Back to the Facebook Meme


      Another reason that Facebook meme makes no sense is there is no comparison between a mosquito and a CV particle. A mosquito is a living creature with some degree of intelligence or at least instinct. As such, as it flies toward the chain link fence, it can see the bars of the fence, knows to not fly towards them, but instead flies through a hole. It also can fly in a straight line or veer one way or the other as need be.

      However, a virus is not at all intelligent. It has no instinct. It is not even fully alive. It floats at the mercy of the air currents; with no control whatsoever over what direction it goes. In my illustration, as it is released as Robert exhales, the CV particle is pushed by his breath towards Luke. But it does not go in a straight line. It flutters around like a leaf falling from a tree. If you could watch a magnified, slow motion video of the scene, you could see this happening.

      As it approaches Luke, it randomly hits his face, with no directionality whatsoever. But with the large number of CV particles being released by Robert, and with the very large holes of Luke’s nostrils and mouth (comparatively to the size of the CV particles), if Luke is not wearing a mask, many of them, even with moving randomly, will enter his nose and mouth, giving him a large dose CV infection.

      However, if Luke is wearing a mask, then, as those particles float towards it, fluttering around, most of them will hit the threads of the mask and get stuck to them. Only a small percentage will randomly make it thought the microscopic holes, giving Luke a low dose CV infection, which is what we want.

      The point is, a mask does not need to be, nor do we want it to be 100% effective. A 65% effective rate is exactly what is needed to reduce the CV load, leading to that low dose infection, leading to an immune response but without serious CV symptoms. As such, the message this meme sends is wrong on all levels. That is why you should not get your medical information from memes.


A Healthy Lifestyle


      To explain the subtitle to this three-part article, the first two-prongs to ending this CV crisis are proper mask wearing and a vaccine. Together, they could lead to a large percentage of Americans being immune to the CV but without having to first experience serious consequences from a CV infection. That will bring us close to herd immunity, which is the only way to end this crisis.

      The third prong to ending this crisis would be a healthy population. When someone who is young and healthy is infected, he or she is less likely to have serious CV consequences than someone who is unhealthy. Thus, if we had a healthy population, we would have few CV hospitalizations and deaths among the younger population. It is only among the elderly that there would still be a significant number of hospitalizations and deaths. But even then, an elderly healthy person is less likely to have serious consequences than an elderly unhealthy person.

      But sadly, American does not have a healthy population. We in fact have a very unhealthy population. That is why 94% of Americans who have died from the CV have had at least one comorbidity, with the average being 2.6 comorbidities. Only 6% of CV deaths have been among Americans who had no comorbidities. I document these statistics and discuss their implications in my article 12,000 not 200,000 (Comorbidities Are Killing Far More Americans Than the Coronavirus).

      As the subtitle to that article indicates, it is these comorbidities that are killing Americans, more so than the CV itself. It is mainly when the CV infects people who are unhealthy that hospitalizations and deaths results. There are of course exceptions, as indicated by the 6% of deaths among those without comorbidities. But the 94% figure tells you where the real killer lies.

      The point is, another way to fight this pandemic would be to encourage Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles. But strangely, I have yet to hear a single health authority talk at any length in this regard. The closest was when Dr. Nicole Saphier, author of the book Make America Healthy Again, was on FNC. She was interviewed by Neil Cavuto for about five minutes about the forthcoming vaccine, with copies of her book displayed behind her. Then she began to say something like, “Another important step would be for Americans to adopt a healthy …” But Neil cut her off, saying they were out of time.

      But like Dr. Saphier, I have been trying to encourage Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle since long before this pandemic began, and I have ramped up that encouragement since it began. You will see that throughout my CV writings. For aid in adopting a healthy lifestyle, along with Dr. Sapphire’s book, see the books I mentioned in Part One, God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition.




      Before continuing this three-part article, let me make a couple of qualifiers. First, I am speaking in large scale terms in regard to masks. By that I mean, if most everyone wore a mask, then we would have many people who would experience low dose, asymptomatic or mild CV infections. Again, that is a good thing, as it would contribute towards herd immunity. It is also a good thing on a personal level, as each individual who has experienced an asymptomatic or mild CV infection will now be immune.

      However, that does not mean the reader should put on mask and purposely expose yourself to someone with the CV, thinking you will get this low dose infection and acquire immunity. That would not be wise at all, and I am in no way recommending it. In fact, I am warning against it. The reason is, there is no way to control the actual dose of CV you will be infected with. You just might get a large dose and end up with serious CV symptoms.

      To get a measured low dose “infection” is in essence what vaccines are for. Though I do not purport to fully understand the science behind vaccines, my best understanding is recipients are given a denatured version of the virus, which is in essence a low dose infection, enough to illicit an immune response in the recipient but not large enough to cause significant symptoms.

      The point is, wear a mask when out and about just in case you end up around someone who is infected, but do not purposely expose yourself in such a way. To ensure you acquire immunity in a safe many, get the vaccine when it is available.

      The second qualifier is, you only need to wear a mask if you cannot practice social distancing. You do not need to wear one if you out on a walk alone or only with those from your own household, away from others. You do not need to wear one if you are in your car alone or again only with those from your own household.

      However, if you are potentially going to be near those from other households then yes, you need to wear a mask. Family, friends, coworkers, strangers, it does not matter. The virus does not understand personal relationships. All it takes is just one person to be infected in a gathering of any sort, and others in that group could get infected. That is specially the case in a crowded indoor setting. Outdoors is far safer, but there is still a risk of transmission.

      The occasion also does not matter. A wedding, a funeral, a holiday celebration, a workplace, a protest, a political rally, a church service, the virus understands none of this. All gatherings of people from more than one household are potential sources of infections if social distancing or mask wearing are not being practiced.

    Part Three of this three-part article provides information on the risks of the upcoming holidays and an update on President Trump.


Creationist Diet
Second Edition
A Comprehensive Guide to Bible and Science Based Nutrition




    The links to Dr. Saphire’s book Make America Healthy Again and to the 50 disposable masks are affiliate advertising links to Amazons website.



      Business Insider. The best and worst face masks, ranked by their level of protection.

      CNN. Everything you need to properly clean your face mask.

      Science Advances. Low-cost measurement of face mask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech.

      Science Alert. The Best And Worst Face Masks For COVID-19, Ranked by Their Level of Protection.

      Slash Gear. Study finds wearing glasses may drastically cut COVID-19 infection risk.

      Smart Air Filters. Can Masks Capture Coronavirus Particles?

      Trib Live. Virus cases rise in U.S. heartland, home to anti-mask feelings.

      Trib Live/ AP. WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected with coronavirus.

      WTAE. Joe Biden speaks with Pittsburgh's Action News 4 in one-on-one interview during train tour. Note: Shannon’s position and mask were seen in clips of this interview as shown on WTAE’s noon news on October 1, 2020, but she is not seen in this video.


Does a Mask Protect the Wearer from the Coronavirus?
(Three-Pronged Path to Ending this Crisis)
Part Three

Does a Mask Protect the Wearer from the Coronavirus? (Three-Pronged Path to Ending this Crisis) Part Two. Copyright 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla (

The above article was posted on this website October 11, 2020.

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