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MS. Johnson of Tillamook has written a complaint about wearing masks and questions whether they do harm or good to keep us healthy. These are good questions that need to be addressed, and I’d like to do so, but just in the context of the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease.

Does a mask keep the wearer healthy? Not unless it’s a fitted N95 class mask; any other will allow virus particles through. That’s why doctors wear N95 masks. Will masks keep others healthy? They greatly raise the odds. If you contract the virus you won’t show symptoms for around two weeks, yet you are contagious almost from the beginning. That means you can be spreading the virus for around ten days before you even realize you are ill. Since a good method of spreading the virus is by droplets - some of which are microscopic in size - exhaled when you talk, breath, sing or sneeze, if you are wearing a mask you will reduce the amount of virus you spread. So, wearing a mask doesn’t directly benefit you, but if you have the virus it potentially protects other people. Since you probably won’t know if you are ill for two weeks or so after contracting the virus (unless you get tested for it), wearing a mask shows that you care about the health of other people.

Jon Orloff

Rockaway Beach

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