Myths and misconceptions about the role of face masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 continue to be seen online and regularly discussed. These errors in belief mean some people refuse to wear the devices, even though research has verified their effectiveness. Many retailers now stock sets of Disposable Face Masks for customers and provide a mask for free to customers entering without one.
One misconception is that masks are unnecessary for people who are social distancing. Being outside does appear to be relatively safe when everyone is 6 ft. apart because the open air quickly disperses viral particles. Indoors, however, tiny COVID-19 aerosol particles can hang in the air for up to three hours, according to information from Harvard University. These are the droplets emitted when someone talks quietly or even breathes.
Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide
A prevailing myth is that the device reduces oxygen and raises carbon dioxide levels in the body, which could make people feel faint or sick. This does not happen with cloth masks for regular use or with disposable products. The disposable versions are fairly similar to those used by surgeons and other healthcare providers. The exception is people who have health problems that preclude them from wearing face coverings safely.
Healthy individuals who sense that their breathing is compromised when wearing a mask probably are feeling anxious. A face covering can make some people feel a bit claustrophobic. The best solution is to practice with one, extending the time every day. Soon, it will be second nature to put this equipment on when going into a store or other indoor public area.
Immune System Issues
Some men and women are concerned that the level of mask-wearing, along with frequent hand washing and sanitizing of surfaces, will weaken the immune system. They understand that exposure to a reasonable number of germs strengthens the immune system. However, people typically do not wear masks all day long. Even those who must keep them on during work hours can take breaks, and they don’t have to wear the devices at home or outside. Consider that a surgical team sometimes must wear masks for upwards of eight hours.
More Extreme Opinions
Some opinions are more extreme. A faction of the population believes that guidelines or requirements to wear the devices are intended to scare U.S. residents into mindless compliance. Some believe municipal or state orders requiring masks are unconstitutional.
The theory of a conspiracy is not supported by evidence or by healthcare experts. The protective equipment is about respect for others and protection for one’s own health. In addition, the U.S. Constitution does provide some authority to state governments for taking emergency action in regard to public health.
A related concern questions the motivation of the Centers for Disease Control, which changed its stance after many weeks. The reason was the discovery that infected people without symptoms could easily spread the disease. Many individuals are contagious even if they never develop symptoms. As of September 2020, the CDC estimates that about 40 percent of COVID-19 infections never cause symptoms.