To the editor:
Please stop spreading misinformation. Anti-maskers’ latest arguments are that they cause you to re-breathe the microorganisms you just exhaled and that non-N95 masks allow the viruses to pass through anyway.
While both arguments are true to an extent, the first reason is not necessarily a bad thing. Upwards of 90% of these bacteria are beneficial. This argument is microphobic in nature. Cleanliness is a good thing, but microphobia leads to overdoing it, killing “good” bacteria, many of which actually protect you from the “bad” bacteria. Other beneficial microorganisms in the mouth assist digestion. (Part of the “microbiome” that lives on our skin and in the digestive system.)
The second argument, while technically correct, is misleading. Yes, cloth and non-N95 paper masks allow microorganisms, including viruses, to pass through. But most of the viruses travel via water droplets, which can carry them up to 15 feet indoors. The cloth and paper masks do an excellent job of stopping the droplets, protecting both ourselves and others to a very large extent.
So, 1. Wear a mask!, 2. If you use cloth masks, change them daily and sanitize between uses. 3. Wear a mask! (and get yourself vaccinated!)