I am exhausted by the thought that a cotton mask might protect anyone from a microscopic virus. Absolutely wears on my mental state that we are to be afraid of all other people. Praying for some normalcy...but I doubt it happen soon.
A simple cotton mask won't do a lot to protect you, for that, you need something professional grade, like an N95. However, a cotton mask can make a significant contribution toward protecting other folks from you, if you happen to be one of those infamous asymptomatic carriers, by absorbing the moisture droplets you exhale and thus catching the virus before it gets out where other people can pick it up.
It's pretty interesting to me that we have been under a mandatory mask order here in NC for 6 weeks now (June 26th) yet the number of infections keep going up. It seems to indicate that wearing masks does not stop the spread of the virus.
Not surprising. One of the studies that I read found that mandatory masking would have minimal effect if implemented after day 51 of an outbreak. I think by June 26th we 100 +/- or so days into the outbreak
I read something today in regards to hydroxy chloroquine.
It pointed out that that the side effects of chemotherapy are pretty bad.
And, chemotherapy helps some cancer patients but not others.
And, that chemotherapy can actually kill you.
It may have more or less killed my father-in-law. He had lung cancer; it had reached a pretty advanced stage before it was diagnosed, so he probably wasn't long for this world anyway. He had a horrible reaction to the chemo - I didn't see it, but from what I was told, it almost sounded like chloracne. Within days, he had pneumonia, less than 2 weeks later, he was dead.
And yet, I cannot count the number of people I see in stores without masks, or wearing them improperly. The folks around here are not going to ask if someone has a physical or mental health issue that prevents them from wearing a mask; it would be almost as bad as asking a senior citizen if she really needs to use the battery-powered grocery cart. There are currently many ongoing clusters/outbreaks at numerous "congregate living facilities," which include nursing homes and prisons, as well as quite a few that are centered at schools and daycare facilities. People get together in all manner of social situations, and especially when alcohol is involved, they often don't bother with a mask or anything resembling social distancing. Unless you could prove that there was 100% compliance with the mask order (and we know there isn't!), you can't draw any conclusions about the efficacy of mask wearing from the current numbers - which actually have slightly decreased during the last month.
Well, I did say, "slightly decreased." It certainly isn't time to start celebrating yet, and with schools working on reopening, the fact that there were approximately 550 fewer North Carolinians testing positive during the first week of August than in the first week of July could vanish under an avalanche of new cases by the end of the month. But the rate of increase (or not) is one of the things they look at when it comes to deciding whether to impose or ease restrictions. We know that putting virtually every citizen under what is effectively house arrest stops the spread (it worked for China), but that is devastating to an economy and very hard on the people. We don't really want that, do we? They are trying to achieve a balance between protecting people and letting people get on with their lives, and masks are a part of that.
As someone pointed out, most people who get Covid-19 don't die; some never even know they've been infected. A lot who do show symptoms experience only mild ones. But for some, particularly for those with chronic health issues like smoking, obesity, diabetes, or simply having lived a long life, infection by SARS Cov-2 can mean weeks of struggling to breathe, and then weeks or months more spent just building up the strength to feel like a functional human being again. I don't know about the country as a whole, but well over half of the people living in North Carolina fall into one or more of the "at risk" groups, and just because you don't doesn't mean you can ignore this thing - there have been just enough young, as-far-as-anyone-could-tell-healthy people who have become seriously ill or even died to show that we all need to take it seriously.
So, for cryin' out loud, people. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Maintain an awkwardly large personal space. You may be willing to risk your own life, but the lives you are protecting may not be your own!