Whether to wear a wear a face mask or not has been a topic of great debate during the coronavirus pandemic, but now as Countries are finally easing lockdown measures it has become a far more contentious issue.
Are those choosing not to wear a mask just narcissistic selfish bastards or are they just using their personal freedom to make an informed decision based on the information they have?
Well, there is Science to support both sides of the argument, but ultimately even the pro-mask science is not conclusive on the benefits, but they operate on the precautionary principle it might help and therefore you should wear them.
However, what is conclusive on the science of face masks is the potential dangers they can cause to people using them, particularly those with a history of lung-related illnesses.
Here is just a few of the studies which highlight the issues when wearing a face mask:
A ‘Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery’ out of Baskent University concluded:
Considering our findings, pulse rates of the surgeon’s increase and SpO2 decrease after the first hour.
This early change in SpO2 may be either due to the facial mask or the operational stress.
Since a very small decrease in saturation at this level, reflects a large decrease in PaO2 , our findings may have a clinical value for the health workers and the surgeons.
A study published on Pubmed entitled ‘Headaches Associated With Personal Protective Equipment – A Cross-Sectional Study Among Frontline Healthcare Workers During COVID-19’ concluded:
Since COVID-19 outbreak, 42/46 (91.3%) of respondents with pre-existing headache diagnosis either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the increased PPE usage had affected the control of their background headaches, which affected their level of work performance.
Most healthcare workers develop de novo PPE-associated headaches or exacerbation of their pre-existing headache disorders.
A study published at the US National Library of Medicine entitled ‘The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence’ which looked at 17 studies into the effectiveness of face masks preventing Influenza infections concluded that:
None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.
They did go onto say however:
Some evidence suggests that mask use is best undertaken as part of a package of personal protection especially hand hygiene.
But while Scientific studies are useful, they are at this point very limited. So it would be wise to take note of the bigger study taking place right now on the population as face masks become common place.
A man in China burst a lung after running for more than two miles in the coronavirus epicenter city of Wuhan while wearing a face mask, according to a report. – New York Times 
and in another incident in China:
Two schoolboys in China have died of sudden cardiac arrest in the space of a week as they take part in PE lessons while wearing face masks.
The students from two different Chinese cities, both ‘suddenly’ collapsed on their schools’ running track and were subsequently pronounced dead on April 24 and April 30 respectively. – Daily Mail 
Across the water in the US:
A New Jersey police department says what officials called “excessive” wearing of a medical mask is believed to have been a factor in a single-car crash after the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle passed out behind the wheel. – Fox News
People have also been taking to social media with their own experiments and experiences using face masks.
The above tweet this been removed as it apparently broke Twitter rules. Interesting since the video is merely a man testing the oxygen levels when wearing a mask?
However, Del Bigtree from the Highwire also performed a similar test:
Social Conformity or Personal Choice?
Ultimately, it should be up to the individual whether they wear a Face Mask or not. If they are of benefit, then those who chose to wear them will be protected from those that don’t and those that don’t will potentially have to face the consequences of being wrong.
The same can be said to be true if the risk to benefit ratio turns out to be in favour of not wearing them, if you chose not to wear them, you will be fine and all those that decided to wear them will have to face the consequences.
It’s your choice, but what we must not do is allow others to make the choice for us, do what your instincts tell you based on what you (think) you know.
Our desire to conform should not be underestimated as the following experiment clearly shows:
There is no reason to fight among ourselves about this, we are all adults and our choices are our own. The hostility we are seeing from those who wear masks against those that don’t is childish and unfortunately a very typical reaction we see from conformists.
If your familiar with the Monkey Step ladder experiment, you’ll know what I mean:
I’m not going to tell you what to do, I’m not going to tell you that my opinion is right, and yours is wrong.
All I am going to do is share my personal opinions on the debate using the information that I have based my decision making on in regards to whether I would wear a mask which I wouldn’t.
From everything we know, which in actual fact is very little it seems clear, to me at least that the risks of wearing a mask far outweigh the ‘possible’ benefits being promoted.
But also, physical health issues aside, no one can deny the social ramifications of face masks, they limit social interaction greatly and disable much of our ability to read the emotions of others.
Not to mention the implications this will have on young children, the long-term effects are unknown, however I feel the emotional deprivation that children have been subject to over the past few months and into the future will result in a life-time of harm to the generations in question.
What do you feel about Face Masks, are you wearing one and if so how do you feel about those who don’t?