To Mask or Not To Mask — Part 2

Following the previous post, my search stream has been inundated with more mask-related stuff (that’s how search engines work). I cover a few of the sources below as well as links about making home-made masks (you know, for people too stupid to follow WHO and CDC advice).

So, I begin with this BBC article. There are a lot of good links in there and — as usual for the BBC — in general fairly useful, although they abstain from making an outright call on the matter.

Others, however, are not so shy about it and they bring up a point I mentioned in my previous post. THIS article by Dr. Tufekci (a professor of information science who specializes in the social effects of technology) mentions the negatives of lying to the public.

Of course, we don’t know if anyone has lied to the public (insert conspiratorial snickers here) but, again read all the stuff linked in the BBC article, including how China says it was a mistake for Western countries to tell people not to wear masks. In fact . . .

In mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan, the broad assumption is that anyone could be a carrier of the virus, even healthy people. So in the spirit of solidarity, you need to protect others from yourself.

Some of these governments are urging everyone to wear a mask, and in some parts of China you could even be arrested and punished for not wearing one.

And here’s the other reason (that’s a link to an actual study — you know, with data and stuff — which concludes what I logically concluded in the previous post) for wearing masks. From the Dr. Tufekci opinion piece:

Firstly, there is some emerging evidence that there are more “silent carriers”, or healthy people with the virus who show little or no symptoms, than experts initially thought.

In China, it is estimated that a third of all positive cases show no symptoms, according to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post.

On the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that docked in Yokohama, about half of the more than 600 positive cases found onboard were found to have no symptoms.

A similar proportion of asymptomatic cases has been reported in Iceland, which says it is testing a higher proportion of citizens than anywhere else in the world.

The prevailing belief has been that because these people do not exhibit symptoms, they are not very contagious. But some are questioning this now. Maybe if everyone wore a mask those silent carriers wouldn’t turn into spreaders?

A recently published study of cases in China found that “undocumented cases of infection”, or those with either mild or no symptoms, were significantly contagious and could have been responsible for nearly 80% of positive virus cases.

It’s just one study though, and future research will no doubt add nuance to the overall picture.

Now, the article also stresses the negatives with people who incorrectly use and/or dispose masks . . . but, isn’t that just a matter of education? And if they really were detrimental to the spread of the virus, we should then be seeing much higher cases of infection in populations that have a near 100% rate of usage.

Let’s be clear about this: no one is advocating replacing handwashing and other precautions with just wearing masks.

Again, if you want to get annoyed, WHO officials wear masks during their briefings . . . where they say you don’t need to wear masks if you don’t show symptoms (from the link in the opinion piece by Dr. Tufekci):

Look at the date . . . that’s at the same time they were telling us not to wear masks.

But enough of all that. In the previous post, there are links to making masks and even face shields for use in conjunction with masks:

Resources for hospitals, clinics and health systems

For those interested in making masks for themselves, friends and family or their own community network, here are some resources we have created that you may find useful.

Now, what if you don’t have sewing skills and don’t own a sewing machine?

A simple search on YouTube and other sites will turn up lots of links to mask-making tips.

Mind you, you should do some research on what material to use (some info  is linked above) and there’s also THIS next reference.

Here’s some of what they offer (you should read the original):

Homemade Masks vs. Viruses

The test above used bacteria that were 1 micron large, yet the coronavirus is just 0.1 microns – ten times smaller. Can homemade masks capture smaller virus particles? To answer this question, the scientists tested 0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the coronavirus).


On average, the homemade masks captured 7% fewer virus particles than the larger bacteria particles. However, all of the homemade materials managed to capture 50% of virus particles or more (with the exception of the scarf at 49%).

Are Two-Layered DIY Masks More Effective?

If the problem is filtration effectiveness, would the masks work better if we doubled up with two layers of fabric? The scientists tested virus-size particles against double-layered versions of the dish towel, pillow case, and 100% cotton shirt fabrics.


Overall, the double layers didn’t help much. The double-layer pillowcase captured 1% more particles, and the double-layer shirt captured just 2% more particles. Yet the extra dish cloth layer boosted performance by 14%. That boost made the tea towel as effective as the surgical mask.

Looking at the data, the dish towel and vacuum cleaner bag were the top-performing materials. However, the researchers didn’t choose these as the best materials for DIY masks:Instead, they concluded the pillowcase and the 100% cotton t-shirt are the best materials for DIY masks. Why?

The answer is that you need to breathe . . .

There’s other information at the site and you should read and inform yourself before you do anything.

But, to get back to the logic against wearing masks . . . how is it that reducing exposure to the virus by 70% or more is considered a bad thing?

So, what have we learned?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I learned that I will be severely pissed off if — or when — the official stance on wearing masks will change. I’ll be pissed off because lives might have been saved. I’ll be pissed off because I don’t like being lied to. And I’ll be pissed off because lying encourages the spread of conspiracy theories and all sorts of crazy beliefs that are difficult to counter and diminishes the effectiveness of official channels in distributing good advice. For instance, people have noted that China is the major financial backer of WHO, which immediately put their legitimacy into question.

Wait? Am I spreading unfounded rumors and crazy theories?

I mean, the CDC is giving the same advice and it’s not like they are headed by people who kowtow to the wacky President we currently enjoy.

Well, crap! . . . maybe I am. Bad on me!

BUT, wait!

How about I wait to hear what WHO and the CDC are about to say about wearing masks before I castigate myself too harshly.

I’ll be especially attentive on how they get around asking people to wear masks after months of saying we are near-criminals if we even think of wearing masks.

The bottom line is that all of the arguments I’ve heard about not wearing masks — even by people I respect and admire — go counter to very basic logic. It doesn’t mean those arguments are wrong, but it sure puts a damper on their credibility.

Disclaimer: me being an idiot, I’m probably not good at reasoning stuff out. Therefore, nothing in this post should be taken as me recommending you wear (or don’t wear) a mask. Do your own research, come to your own conclusions, and stay safe.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it’s copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intentions, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


If you’re new to this blog, it might be a good idea to read the FAQ page. If you’re considering subscribing to this blog, it’s definitively a good idea to read both the About page and the FAQ page.