As face masks have now become commonplace, some ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘artists’ have started selling altered versions, catering them to people’s needs. But not society’s.
One of the most popular buzzwords that has made it into custom mask designs is ‘breathability’. Advertised as more comfortable or less hindering to everyday activity, they’re also less effective at preventing contagions from escaping and potentially dangerous to other people.
After one Twitter user spotted listings for these masks on ETSY, they simply couldn’t stay quiet and called out these opportunists, urging everyone to keep safe and boycott them.
Sellers are marketing these masks towards ‘rebels’
When the Twitter user discovered “mesh ‘breathable’ masks”, they just thought they’d tweet it out themselves and help spread the word to their friends and followers. “It’s … very important to get the word out, I thought, because even in the product descriptions of most of these, the sellers are very blatantly and obviously trying to circumvent state-mandated mask regulations. By wearing mesh masks, they are essentially not wearing anything at all. Coughing, sneezing, and otherwise spitting would result in potential contagions to spread through the air and infect others in public spaces,” the author of the original tweet told Bored Panda.
“I’m glad a lot of people are trying to convince others to wear masks and protect the wellbeing of other people. We need that more than ever in America. Our cases are skyrocketing, and wearing a (real) mask can definitely help prevent that.”
And awareness is something the public could definitely use. Some people are very misinformed. For example, there have been several claims shared on social media and printed on posters that suggest wearing a face mask is more dangerous than contracting the virus.
Take this popular Facebook post for example. It has been shared more than 10,000 times, claiming that people’s immune systems will become weaker the longer they wear face masks.
Also, several posters were recently spotted on park signs and bridges in Toronto, Canada, warning that wearing a face mask is “a bigger threat to your health than COVID-19.” The signs also suggested that covering the mouth increases levels of carbon dioxide in the body and promotes hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) which can impair brain activity.
And offering all over the Internet
Dr. Iris Gorfinkel, a family physician and medical researcher, described these claims as “nothing short of frightening.”
But Gorfinkel highlighted that wearing a face mask is safe for the vast majority of individuals and should be done to curb the spread of COVID-19. “The data is very, very clear that for countries that have adopted this practice [of wearing face masks] and the people have got into it, they don’t just see lower numbers of diseases, they see fewer hospitalizations, and far less mortality,” she told CTV News.
According to Gorfinkel, the idea that wearing a face mask will decrease oxygen intake is simply false. She said the public is being asked to wear face coverings that are breathable and looser fitting than the N95 respirators worn by health-care professionals. “These are loose-fitting masks. The air in front of them, and the air within the mask, is no different in terms of oxygen or carbon dioxide levels,” she explained.
Gorfinkel said the mask may cause a difference in humidity in the air surrounding the face, but assured that it won’t cause any harmful effects for the wearer.
The physician said only a small minority of people may experience negative health outcomes from wearing a face mask. She said they can be people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease sometimes found in long-time smokers, which causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Their air exchange is hugely compromised,” she said. “So looking at a group of them, only the very most severe of them had any problems with an N95. So you’re talking about a very small segment of the population.”