By Ted Noel, MD
Recently I was “fact checked” by PolitiFact for a demo I did showing that masks don’t stop the spread of aerosols (longer one here, shorter one here). The reporter asked for my comments and then said what his narrative required, without regard for any scientific data. The list of CDC and Medscape information in the video description escaped his attention. He also completely ignored the fact that Anthony Fauci has flip-flopped on masks more than a fresh-caught fish on deck.
Scientists have been very busy. When the Wuhan Flu came to America, we were told to constantly bathe our hands in sanitizer. Now we know that very few cases are spread by contact, so constant hand-washing isn’t necessary. That leaves droplets and aerosols. Unfortunately, many studies use arbitrary size criteria to distinguish between them, giving us confusing answers. A better distinction is that droplets are too heavy to stay suspended in the air, so they follow a spitball’s trajectory to the floor. Aerosols can stay suspended for hours, much like cigarette smoke.
Masks work really well against spitballs — oops, droplets. These larger particles hit and stick. They don’t get through. So if you cough or sneeze, your mask, handkerchief, or elbow will do a great job of protecting your neighbor. But what about aerosols? You emit them every time you breathe, and if your neighbor sniffs after you break wind, you emitted an aerosol there, too. (Incidentally, COVID-19 is present in sewage in high concentrations.) We have enough data to show that these smaller, airborne particles are the real culprit in COVID-19 spread. How good are masks against aerosols? more
SNIP: Oh, that’s nasty.