The new normal comes hand-in-hand with the use of face masks. Prior to Covid-19, these pieces of cloth that we now put over our faces everyday used to be mainly for medical practitioners. Now, even toddlers are walking around, donning brightly coloured face masks that even have cartoon characters on them.
While most of them are effective in curbing the virus, despite how absurd some of they may be, there is one particular mask that has been frequenting the streets that should not be worn.
I’m sure if you’ve been out and about, you may have seen this face mask with a respirator air valve. Despite being commercially sold, this face mask is actually dangerous and frankly, counter-productive.
You’re potentially exhaling all your germs, bacteria and (touch wood) virus to the world
The main attraction of the face mask with an air valve is that it makes it easier for the wearer to breathe since it filters in the air we breathe and allows for the air we exhale to not collect in the mask. Since the excessive carbon dioxide has been known to cause problems for mask wearers, this face mask was highly sought after due to this purpose.
However, scientists believe that this face mask is actually pretty selfish. Yes, you may be getting the benefits, but you’re actually spreading your harmful exhalation to the people around you, since the exhaled air isn’t filtered.
Since some people can be asymptomatic, you never know if you’re actually carrying the virus so wearing this mask and knowingly spreading it to others is highly dangerous and selfish.
It’s been banned in a few places in the U.S.
From California, Colorado, Denver to Boulder, many places in the States have already banned this harmful mask.
William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease, said, “We want to protect you from me. And so, this valved N95 [mask] really doesn’t function appropriately in this COVID environment–either in the health care setting, or in the community.”
Even airlines have spoken out against this mask, notably Delta, Jetblue and United Airlines, stating that, “Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers travelling on any operated flight.”
As a closing, Kai Singbartl, a medical doctor who is the chair for infection prevention and control, stated succinctly, “It defeats the purpose.”
To an untrained eye, the mask may seem more high-tech and effective than the regular ol’ cloth face masks but in actuality, those cloth masks we are used to fashioning are actually the best for curbing the virus. So, I guess we can’t judge a face mask by its air valves…
Remember, just because it makes it more comfortable for you, doesn’t make it less harmful towards others. #RakyatJagaRakyat