Do Ordinary Face-Masks Really Offer Protection in Biological Environments?

Though I may be getting a bit slower of mind, these days,

Sometimes, after some deep introspection, and cogitating in peaceful solitude, I remember some of my early training while serving in our Nation’s fine military. Unfortunately, with age comes the slowing down of certain faculties, especially from a life lived in stress, harsh conditions, and some of the most personally trying of times. However, some things are not so easily forgotten, especially those things and happenings you personally experienced, and the novelties of the knowledge and skills you learned along the way. So, I decided after a nice evening stroll (fresh air, regardless of the time of day, is always welcomed and for good health), to write a piece concerning our current social-conditioning “ritual”, to pick apart one of the most common (and downright, IRRESPONSIBLE) failed policies and “recommendations”, coming from our “esteemed experts” paraded constantly before us on the national press. This being, the perfectly absurd notion that ordinary cloth face-masks offer any real protection from a biological organism in our environment! – So, let the programmed of the masses begin throwing their tomatoes at me (I could use some extra groceries anyway) now.

First off,

Being a former military soldier of our own US Army, I knew we soldiers were typically trained to operate in a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Environment (“NBC”). This was called a “common task” that we were all to practice and train (to the point of military-precision, and perfection), and then re-certify, every year. This was a critical skill which every soldier was required to be highly proficient in, and be able to demonstrate, at any time, that proficiency. It was a skill that was designed and formulated so that even in such a “polluted” environment (as would be expected in an area of active war, for example), the soldier could continue to operate for as long as possible, without too much of the health-degrading effects of the agents used. The soldier was still expected to be able to employ his/her rifle against the enemy (because the “enemy” was sure to attack in the very same conditions). The soldier was still expected to patrol, seek, do search-and-destroy missions, and whatever other tasks needed to be done. The soldier was trained to be “all-terrain, all-weather, all-conditions”-capable, as our national defense was utmost. This was done by being equipped with a complete, head-to-toe Mission-Oriented-Protective-Posture (or M.O.P.P.), in this case – fully suited up was MOPP Level “4”. This included chemical-resistant boots, chemical-resistant gloves, full-body suit (one-piece) which the inside was impregnated with activated charcoal, and the full protective mask – with chemical-resistant hood, and activated charcoal filters for the air inlet(s). – This suit was designed for protection against chemical and biological agents, if those were used in a given area. There was NO ordinary cloth mask involved. The protective mask covered the whole face, and any breathable air had to pass through the filters! This was also why beards and other facial hair were disallowed (save for the thin, military mustache in some units).


There were some of us who were selected to receive advanced training in working in NBC conditions. This training included identifying contaminated areas, marking such areas on a regional map, planning; setting-up; and running a decontamination point (to include limiting foot traffic – so as to limit the spreading of contaminants); marking and preparing for disposal – contaminated clothes, etc; administering nerve-agent anti-toxin medication (for those incapacitated to do so themselves); and monitoring detection devices and systems (like for changes in wind direction, etc); and a various, long list of responsibilities associated with being an “NBC NCO” (Non-Commissioned Officer). We also had to fill out various reports, concerning changes to the conditions, number of wounded and/or affected soldiers we treated, if the enemy attacked again and with what other agents used in the attack, as well as updates to the spread of contaminants in the area. We were also heavily trained in recognizing the different types of agents used, and the symptoms suffered by those who were exposed to those agents. To this day, I can still recognize many of the symptoms of “nerve-agent poisoning”, even in some zootic cases. (Like the questionable “mad-cow” disease symptoms that were described during those mysterious, but now forgotten, events from years ago?)

So, I can vouch for the many who have also been trained and certified in NBC and advanced NBC operations, just as I myself was. So here is where real, practical, professional experience comes in handy, to call “Bravo-Sierra” on the obvious misinformation, about whether these cloth masks offer any real, effective protection against any purportedly widespread viruses! – So again, let the cat-calls, boos, and hisses be heard from the peanut gallery, as I again use some commonsense and practical trained logic to disagree.

The commonsense facts, not hysteria and NOT “expert opinions over facts” talk:

If anyone has any idea just how tiny a virus is, let’s give you a most visible analogy, one which you can readily wrap your mind in – as we draw the proverbial picture of what I am talking about.

Imagine a golf ball. It is pretty small, isn’t it? Compare it to a baseball, and it doesn’t seem quite so small there. Compare it to a basketball, and its size begins to show how small it (the golf ball, that is) may be.

Now, let’s symbolize here a minute, that the golf ball be like our virus.

The basketball could perhaps be like a bacterium, or something similar.

A nice, large beach ball, could symbolize a regular-sized cell, like what may be found as part of a larger organism (like one of your own body’s cells?).

That golf ball “virus”, looks pretty damned small now – compared to the beach ball “cell”, doesn’t it? (I figured, this would be at least a half-hearted attempt to show size comparisons here.)

Now, let’s see if we can somewhat gauge the rough-draft guess, on the average size of the hole in between the strands of material in an average cloth mask (operating room masks may be a bit finer-woven?). If someone has access to a very powerful microscope, they may be able to do a more accurate size comparison, than I could accurately guess! Oh well! At least I’m trying.

Now, let’s imagine the breadth (or “width”, if you’d rather) of a four lane highway. We have a few of those where I am at, but most of them have been widened to about four lanes EACH side. Okay? Keep that image sharp!

NOW, if we want to hypothesize, for a moment, the comparison of the size of our “virus”, to the size of the “hole” in between the weaves of our face mask: Just imagine rolling that golf ball “virus”, down the middle of our four-lane highway! Did you catch that? Did you visualize the differences in sizes here? – This comparative visualization was already suggested, during the “AIDS crisis”, by comparing the “virus” causative agent – with a SINGLE PORE (microscopic-sized opening) as would be found in a rubber condom! ! ! Yes! That particular virus was indeed incredibly small! (Perhaps, is was nearly one of the smallest known, I’m not very sure?)

Your viruses are so small, that their sizes are usually measured in “nanometers” (billionths of a meter), whereas the pores in most “porous” substances (and, especially in between the weaves of cloth) are measured in “microns, or micrometers (millionths of a meter). Plus, most viruses would need an electron microscope to view them. (There have been a few “macro-phages” discovered, which may have been large enough, though. However, they are very large for a virus!).

Your surgeon’s masks, of course, are going to be of a finer weave of material. That’s one of the reasons why they are so expensive (and also why many of them are still under patent). Still, those surgical masks only serve one purpose: To keep down the chances of the surgeon from breathing (or coughing) any contaminants like saliva, mucus, hair, etc. into the open surgical wounds, NOT shield off microbes from the surgeon or others in the operating room! They would need to be fully suited with hazmat “bio-suits” for that. Unfortunately, most operating rooms are really not as completely sterile as one might think.

In conclusion (which most may not want to hear):

If someone is REALLY so worried about getting someone else’s “germs” (especially anything “viral”) in or on them, then they need to invest in some dedicated, complete bio-hazard head-to-foot “bunny suits” – for any REAL protection from “germs”! This, and also a completely filtered bio-hazard mask, with hood. An ordinary cloth mask provides little protection otherwise, unless you are the who is sick, and trying to contain your own body fluids from ending up on someone else (from a sneeze, cough, or otherwise). Even then so, any purported “aerosolized” viruses will not be completely blocked by a simple cloth mask! Any opening or gaps, especially between the mask and the face, is STILL going to allow a certain amount of air and “nano-sized” particles through.

Again, America has been HAD, and by our “esteemed experts”, no less!

So, if someone actually has the equipment (and hopefully, the integrity) to prove this point, or otherwise, I would LOVE to hear about it. I am always game to learning something new, and especially if it is real – and not some “guess” or “I swear it’s true” hype. Science is also about commonsense, as well as fact.


Love to hear your thoughts.

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