Everything about this Covid mess is built on fear.
But I’d like to specifically talk about the fear mongering that is going on about masks, and masks during exercise.
The masks are there to reduce the probability of infection to you and from yourself to others. They will not prevent them completely. It is a small step that you can take to help reduce the spread of infection in your community. I personally feel they are a more sustainable way to reduce spread than a full scale draconian lockdown, but that’s a different debate.They physically reduce the spread of droplets. That’s it. They are not airtight barriers. If the govt mandates masks for outdoor activities, I would rather comply, to retain my access to outdoor activities, rather than lose that freedom also. As it is, this pandemic is providing a great excuse to curtail freedoms and make insane powergrabs. Give them this small win and pick fights that matter. Fighting with authorities over something as silly a mask is stupid.
No one is going to die because of using a mask during exercise as long as
1. There are no pre existing heart and lung conditions.
2. If it’s a single layer or double layer cloth mask
3. If it dry and allowing free passage of air.
If you’ve been exercising regularly in the past, the mask is only going to add one minor layer of resistance. It is not airtight. Even with a plastic bag tied over your head, you’ll take two to three minutes to die of asphyxia. It would be a challenge to kill yourself with a porous cloth mask, while your hands are free to remove the said offending mask.
Anyway, if you’ve not been exercising regularly in the pre corona era, what business do you have, to start intense exercise while wearing a mask, in peak corona times?
Start slow, take it easy, and progress gradually. What’s the hurry? You should be taking care of yourself, instead of adding stress to your immune system with intense exercise.
If you’re finding it difficult to breathe while running or cycling you have the following options
1. Slow down
2. Take it off for a few minutes while you pause
It isn’t welded to your face, you can pull it off if you’re struggling. And I’m pretty sure the struggle for air is more mental than actually due to a shortage of oxygen or an excess of carbon dioxide in your blood.
Think about it. If people died of hypercarbia/hypercapnoea that easily, all you’d need to do is put your hand over someone’s mouth and nose and they’d die. They would not fight back, they’d just lie down and die. That doesn’t happen even if you try and do that to them in their sleep. A living organisms ability to fight for breath is *that* strong.
The claim that masks can kill normal people is so preposterous, I don’t even know where to begin.
The cases reported of people keeling over and dying during exercise aren’t out of the ordinary. People have been dying during exercise for time immemorial.
I’d like to see proof that it was the mask that killed people and not
1. A sub clinical infection that flared up because of intense exercise
2. That it wasn’t a pre existing condition
3. That the negative pressure during inhalation against a restrictive mask caused a bulla rupture and a subsequent pneumothorax. That’s the more plausible explanation of a mask causing sudden death, than hypercarbia.
The two students who died in China, died at different events. Both were running 1500m races.
Probably the toughest distance to race, except the 800m, when it comes to intensity and effort.
Both were wearing N95 masks. I feel like I’m going to die if I try racing over that distance even without a mask. You’ll know what I’m talking about, if you’ve ever ran any race, especially these distances.
And if you’re wearing N95 masks during intense exercise, you should apply for the Darwin awards.
The second objection to masks is that they will act as incubators for microbes because of the warm, moist environment and therefore cause illness in the wearer.
Honestly, I’m not concerned about endogenous microflora incubating in the mask. Most people are healthy enough to deal with that challenge.
If it is an exogenous species that our body is not used to that tries to find a niche in a moist mask, it is still going to have to fight for dominance in that environment against our endogenous microbes.
Think of them like the headlight dipping that we do on highways. If even one driver dips their headlights, both benefit. Because the one that can see better can now avoid a collision better. It is down to probability. If both of them dip their headlights, it would be even better. Same thing.
I’d like to reiterate, that masks are an important tool in our collective fight against this pandemic. And the perceived dangers caused by them are far outweighed by the benefits they provide.