Reader refutes earlier letter on face masks

Mark Zook - Central Lake

To the Editor

A recent published opinion disputing the efficacy of masks in diminishing viral transmission claimed to be science based.  The author stated “face masks designed to reduce particles  1 micron in diameter will do nothing to control droplets and viruses that are typically 0.01 microns ... those droplets will pass right through.”  This, simply, is not true.  Respiratory droplets range in size from 0.5 to 12 microns (“Dynamics of Infectious Disease Transmission by Inhalable Respiratory Droplets”,  Nikolaos Stilianakis and Yannis Drossinos,  J R Soc interface, Sept 6, 2010; 7(50)  pp 1355-1366).  If the author’s supposition is limited to particles less than 1 micron in diameter, then, according to his logic, only a miniscule number of the droplets are able to “pass right through” while the vast majority of the virus containing droplets are stopped from passing through the mask.  Additionally, the masks, while appearing thin, are 400,000 microns thick.  That one micron particle has to traverse a barrier four hundred thousand times its own size.  Imagine trying to ride a bicycle through 80 miles of dense forest and swamp.

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