It’s unfortunate that the whole face mask discussion has become politicized to the extent it has — of being symbolic of virtue or not, political correctness or not, freedom-loving or not, etc.
Having had respiratory problems all my life, I’m acutely sensitive to air quality — just as I suspect many others also are. The most obvious are the “asthmatics” and hay fever sufferers — who seem to be under constant torment because of they don’t know what. And so these people often go to an allergist who recognizes a “patient for life” — if they don’t identify and eliminate the cause. And so I can understand why the Director of the Allergy and Immunological Diseases (Fauci) would want people never to learn that 95% of allergens can be eliminated just by wearing a face mask — as most of them claim to do — without the time and expense of regular visits to an allergist at whatever the insurance will pay.
However, since I wasn’t on unlimited medical insurance ability to pay, I had to figure out a way of addressing the notably poor air quality of living in an environment compromised by smokers, mold, mildew, field burning, pollen, toxic chemicals and odors, pollution, etc. — let alone any viruses. That was actually the least of my worries — because 95% elimination is as good as is reasonable to expect. When you lower the load by 95%, that is a 20-fold improvement — and trying to attain 100% certainty and guarantee, is not possible for most everything — but is the kind of fool’s gold offered by con-artists of every stripe and persuasion.
The chances that one will not die — even with billions — can never be assured 100%. But when you get to 95%, that should be effectiveness acceptable to most people, and often even 50-50. At that point, everyone should at least give it a try to see if it works for themselves — rather than generalizing that it must work for everyone, or that it could not work for anyone. Like most things in life, the truth has to be determined by individuals — to see if it works for them, or not — and that is the only relevant discussion.
If the air quality is pristine, it is less likely that a face mask will enhance air quality. But if one is crowded into a city with a lot of intrusions one is often unaware of, the first thing one should suspect when feeling ill, is air quality — because that is the critical interface of the human body. One can live a fairly long time without eating, even drinking, but only a few minutes without breathing high quality air. Sometimes the air quality is so bad that one has to virtually stop breathing — and continuing in that manner, will impact their health — because they can no longer breathe deeply.
But if one purifies the air with just a simple face mask, a large amount of that pollution can be eliminated, as for example, walking through a homeless encampment where people are defecating openly. That eventually dries up and gets blown into the wind — waiting for some innocent person to breathe. A lot of disease can be transmitted that way, as well as the toxic fumes accumulating under the freeway underpasses, etc.
That’s why people in some of the most populous places in the world almost have to wear them — but to a lesser extent, every environment made contain some element certain individuals may be particularly sensitive to. There is a reason for the saying that “one man’s meat may be another man’s poison,” as there is that individuation and diversity for good reason — and that is that even in the worst case scenario, all will not perish, and so the species survives — and goes on to even bigger and better things.
That doesn’t mean that all necessarily survive. Nature will determine that — and all each can do, is do the best they can with what they have and know. As a general rule, that means being in as fit a condition to persevere as possible — but beyond that, there are no guarantees that following the directives of anybody else will accomplish that either — or better. It’s always tempting to play God — and know what is best for all.