OPINION: FACE MASKS AND SHIELDS TO PREVENT COVID

My main exercise for the day is a 45 minute fast walk around my community.

Hat – check. Sunglasses – check, FACE SHIELD – check.

Yes, face shield. The shield has the advantage of allowing me to talk, plus being more comfortable to wear. I clean it with a woolen cloth on one side and cotton on the other, hoping for a condenser electrostatic effect (I’m open to suggestion from engineers).

If I cough, any large particles of mucus would impact the shield, leaving only tiny aerosol particles to escape around the edges into the environment to endanger others.

It is Saturday today, and I pass a man and a woman pushing a baby buggy, and give them wide berth. I don’t consider 6-feet far enough distancing. 12-18 feet would be better, since, at 88-years of age, I am at least 2-3 times more susceptible.

A 12-year old zooms by me on a scooter. His age predicts less viral effluent, and the exposure time is less. I then go by a large collection of 20-year olds, Wide berth again, and, holding my breath, continuing to walk fast.

As I walk, I breathe air in through my nose, and out through my mouth. I feel the warmth (and purity) of the exhaled air, which may push aside and dilute any contaminants coming from the outside.

Another group of young adults! Well, maybe the risk is not as bad as the numbers would indicate. Odds are there would be only one spreader in the group, and the healthy ones would act as particle filters for me.

So far, not a single young person had a mask on. They are probably just thoughtless young people, and not necessarily “objectors” believing that mask-wearing is a sign of submission. As Peggy Noonan said in her column in today’s WSJ:

“…IT’S A SIGN OF RESPECT, RESPONSIBILTY AND ECONOMIC ENCOURAGEMENT”.

Going forward, we must all do our part to reduce the likelihood of another Covid surge. WEARING A MASK PROTECTS OTHERS.

I finally spied 2 masks! They were fitted on 2 ceramic lions flanking a front door. It is true that felines can catch Covid. But ceramic ones?

I thought I was walking fast, but was overtaken from the rear by a long-legged young lady. She passed within 4 feet of me, and of course had no mask on. I only hope she didn’t have Covid, and that my shield worked.

On the subject of the effectiveness of wearing a shield, while walking I tune into the odors along the way. I use the odors as surrogate aerosols, especially a recently fertilized curbside flower bed, I compare walking by the flowers, with and without my face shield, and find that the shield reduces but does not eliminate the odor. For more distant odors, like a barbecue, it does not make a difference.

Perhaps the shield, like the prow of a ship, pushes aside STREAMS of particle-laden air. Like coughing or talking nearby. But if the particles (yes, odors are nanometer particles) are well mixed with the air, there is no effect. Air must be breathed, after all.

There are a couple of other things I practice on my walk. I exercise my EYES by looking into the DISTANCE as much as possible. I try to walk as erect as I can. Gravity, my friend in grounding many big Covid-containing mucus particles, tries to bend me over.

The BOTTOM LINE, until more information is available), is: SPREADERS WEAR MASKS, SUSCEPTIBLES  WEAR SHIELDS. Of course, hand-washing, social-distancing, coughing into your elbow, and staying at home, especially if sick, are all still important admonitions.,

-Dr. C.

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One thought on “OPINION: FACE MASKS AND SHIELDS TO PREVENT COVID”

  1. Good morning Dr. C. This was a delight and I felt that I was walking with you on your quick stepping walk. The way I prefer to walk also. Loved the discriptions of all of your encounters. Yes, I loved my morning walk with you, thank you so much! Sent from my iPad

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