Wearing face masks has become a particularly political issue in the United States. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have made it clear that wearing a fabric face mask is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 and, most importantly, make sure that Do not pass on the coronavirus to third parties, as many infected people may not have active COVID-19 symptoms.
Still, there are plenty of videos and anecdotes from Americans angry with the local mandate to wear face masks in public places, including commercial and grocery stores. The anti-mask arguments range from preserving personal freedom to alleged violations of laws such as the Disabled Americans Act (ADA) to alleged scientific evidence that wearing a mask can do more harm than good.
Most of these claims do not exist.
Lie: There are exemption cards for face masks
The chaos of a pandemic is ripe area for snake oil sellers. The corona virus is a classic case study as described by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the Ministry of Justice (DOJ), quackery has grown beyond counterfeit COVID panaceas to counterfeit "exempt" cards. This is a fraudulent way to avoid having to meet local face mask requirements.
Some groups have sold card packs under the guise of an invented federal agency called "Freedom to Breathe Agency" using the Department of Justice's official insignia. The cards claim that the "Disabled Americans Act" exempts a card wearer from compliance with a private company's face mask requirements.
Photo credit: United States Department of Justice. Ministry of Justice
The DOJ issued a statement last week warning the public not to fall for the charade.
"Don't be fooled by the harassment and embezzlement of the DOJ eagle," said Middle Carolina, North Carolina attorney Matthew Martin. "These cards have no legal force. The Freedom to Breathe Agency or FTBA is not a government agency. "
Lie: The law on Americans with disabilities prohibits companies from requiring face masks
The fake exemption cards underline a general argument from those who argue against wearing masks: ADA makes the mandatory mask requirements illegal.
Although the problem has a certain nuance for people with legitimate health conditions that make wearing a mask difficult, this is largely not the case.
The CDC recommends that "everyone aged 2 years and older in public places and in the vicinity of people outside of their home should wear a fabric face covering, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain." Exceptions include people with developmental disabilities, younger children and People with intense activities that could make breathing difficult. But even in these cases, the agency lists alternative options such as face protection and responsible social distance measures.
What you can't do is simply claim that the ADA exempts you from wearing a mask. According to the Southeast ADA Center, state and local authorities, as well as private companies, must consider making reasonable changes to a face mask policy if a person with a disability cannot wear a face mask so that the person with the disability can participate, or from the programs or programs offered Goods and services benefit. "
There are no hard and fast rules on how such changes in the ADA text itself could look like. However, this includes contactless collection in a grocery store, the option of wearing a loose fabric cover instead of a full mask, or appointments that are offered by phone or video. Neither of these changes would have to be made for someone with no real disability to prevent them from wearing a mask. (So, no, you can't just claim to have a breathing problem and expect a store to meet the requirements.)
Companies that make reasonable arrangements under the ADA have other nuances. For example, a company may not need to make these adjustments if it would fundamentally change its ability to provide services, place excessive strain on its business, or pose a direct threat to other customers or employees.
Lie: wearing a face mask increases my carbon dioxide content
Some people have expressed concerns that wearing a face mask will force them to inhale toxic amounts of exhaled carbon dioxide. The data show something else.
A certain amount of carbon dioxide can actually be trapped between a person's nose and mouth and their mask. But not nearly the level that, according to Cleveland Clinic, would lead to hypoxia or other forms of carbon dioxide poisoning.
For one, carbon dioxide molecules are much smaller than the droplets that contain the coronavirus that face masks are supposed to contain. If you do not wear an airtight mask (instead of a cloth or surgical mask) for a long period of time, it is more or less impossible to inhale too much exhaled CO2 from a mask.
A nurse recorded an impressive hands-on demonstration on Twitter.
We have so many people who lack even the most basic science competency at primary school level in this country and who cite "reduced oxygen intake" or "carbon dioxide retention" as a reason for not wearing a mask in public. # wearyourmask # DoBetter # PublicHealth # TrustANurse pic.twitter.com/Sw1FZ17HVb
– Dapper in a PAPR, RN (@MurseWordsworth) June 27, 2020
Truth: Face masks have proven to be one of the most effective ways to contain the coronavirus
The reality is that COVID-19 is a disease that spreads through close contact in the air, and that social distancing and wearing face masks (in addition to washing hands and disinfecting surfaces) remain the most effective ways to keep the coronavirus in its Stop tracks.
Several studies, as well as on-site reality in areas where wearing masks and social distance take precedence over those who don't, have supported this thesis.
A review of more than 172 COVID-19 studies in 16 countries sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that "using face masks can greatly reduce the risk of infection" (14% to 16%). Social distancing on masks further reduced the risk of infection spreading.
The coronavirus pandemic is evolving day by day. That is the nature of a new virus. However, a growing body of evidence shows that the slight inconvenience of wearing a mask is eclipsed by the benefits to public health and that the opposite arguments remain flat.
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