As a committed mask wearer, I recognize that problems with masks exist. However that doesn’t mean they’re fake or nonexistent problems, and much Twitter science debunking them is itself bunk.

Masks make breathing more difficult. This is a simple fact. This is why workout masks exist. A workout mask intentionally makes breathing difficult so that the wearer’s lungs have to work harder. In theory this increases cardiovascular fitness, but there’s not a whole lot of science behind this. That which is is consumed by arguments regarding effectiveness and practicality. Anecdotally, I can tell you my workouts are much more difficult wearing a mask. It’s harder to breathe in a mask because the mask is filtering air, reducing the air throughput.

I’ve seen videos and memes of people wearing masks and measuring their blood oxygen levels.

1: All of the videos/memes regarding this I’ve seen have been medical professionals (because who else has a mask, a blood oxygen monitor, and strong opinions either way?). These professionals wear masks all the time. But this means that they’re trained for it, so it’s a bit different for them and someone who rarely wears a mask.

2: Not only are they physically conditioned, but they’re mentally conditioned. I wore a lot of environmental suits in the Army, and the mental aspects of breathing through a suit are not to be underestimated.

3: Mask wearing reduces communication, both verbal and non-verbal. I was just at a grocery store asking where the bread was, and that took some shouting and difficulty. It’s hard to hear someone in a mask, it’s hard to make yourself heard, and with the isolation striking people particularly strongly in quarantine, that’s a real problem. In masked military operations, we were all talking about the same thing, but even then there was a lot of miscommunication. On the street or talking with strangers with none of that, it’s hard.

These aren’t made up problems.

And the general answer is extremely combative. For every hint of empathy and understanding, there are ten people shouting about death rates. The shouters never seem to understand why telling someone they’re wrong and stupid doesn’t convince the someone they’re wrong.

So I get it. I understand. It’s not made up nonsense. I still wear the mask.

Leave a Reply