More thoughts on maskless bicyclist
Mr. Weissenberger’s letter (July 28) linking use of masks to stop COVID-19 as being like trying to keep out mosquitos with a chain link fence is graphically quite vivid. But distressingly wrong. N95 masks stop 95 percent of all particles down to three microns. That’s much tighter than 20 micron viruses. There are also N99 masks but they’re rarely available and reserved for medical use. (K)N95 masks are widely available right now.
Even the apparently loosely woven (“400 microns”) cloth masks he says he (“grudgingly”) wears will protect others by catching droplets of his own saliva. These tiny spit drops spray outward whenever we talk, sing, shout, cough, sneeze. The droplets harbor clusters of viruses but seldom travel six feet (except for sneezes). Hence unmasking can be acceptable when social separation is maintained. And when not, care for one’s fellows is shown by wearing some kind of non-vented mask. Simple, easy, good citizenship. What Mr. Weissenberger is spreading though, despite his minimalist cloth mask, is disinformation that infects folks with the idea that masks are pointless. That misconception is contributing to the epidemic’s durability and resurgence because if everybody over 2 - no exceptions - always wore masks in public - even his 400 micron kinds - the pandemic would rapidly become a trickle.
And then things could safely begin to reopen and reliably stay open.