Why are people wearing face masks with unfiltered outflow valves?

The Oregonian has been running a “fake news” ad on their main front page for weeks for a vendor of face masks. Here’s the ad, with their defective component highlighted:

The product they are marketing contains an outlet valve. Which defeats the entire purpose of the use of the face mask – to prevent outflow from those who have asymptomatic Covid-19. Indeed, some jurisdictions prohibit the use of these masks as the entire purpose of face masks is to prevent outflow of Covid-19 from asymptomatic individuals.

The CDC encourages people to wear a “facial covering” under a belief (but no actual controlled study) that this may reduce the spread of Covid-19. The CDC believes asymptomatic individuals may spread the disease via breathing, speaking, sneezing, coughing. Therefore, the CDC has proposed that home made cloth and improvised face masks might stop the outflow.

The advertised product, however, does not block outflow. Yet this type of near useless face mask is apparently very popular. Just go out in public and take a look at those wearing masks. Here is their click-through page. And on this page you can see their unfiltered outflow filter more clearly.

I was in two stores on Monday. Few people wear face masks here as the prevalence of the disease is very low. People were practicing social distancing and the stores had hand sanitizer available and were sanitizing carts. It is unclear that a face mask adds much additional protection when people are already staying far apart.

Of those wearing face masks – probably half did not have their nose covered or had the mask slid down around their neck or they slid their mask down when they were talking.

A surprising number had N95-type valve respirators, as shown above, with unfiltered outflow valves.

Almost no one was wearing an approved mask in an effective way.

There are plenty of “correlation” studies and “model” studies, and “anecdotal” news reports that “face masks work to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.

But none of these studies looks at the actual masks in use (commercially made or home made?) and how they are being worn (correctly or incorrectly) or if they have outflow valves. In other words, these studies do not reflect the real world and their study results are questionable.

At some point, some one will do a genuine and thorough study and provide us with data that confirms or disproves the public use of home made random or improvised masks is effective. Once we have data, the public shaming and arguments can end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *