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  •  masks (none)
    I did substantive research on the mask question a few days ago.  My family is doing the stock-up recommended by the dept of Health & Human Services.  I'll post more about that if anybody wants to read it.

    Masks:  Ordinary surgical masks are designed to keep the doctor's/nurses/s germs off the patient, especially out of an exposed surgical wound.  They do little, if anything, to keep microbes from entering the lungs of the wearer.  The reason is that an exhale is an focused stream of air, but an inhale draws air through the path of least resistance.  If you are wearing a mask that isn't sealed (as surgical masks aren't) the air comes in from around the sides of the mask and no filtering takes place.

    If you want to keep OUT the microbes you need a mask with a tight seal.  The test suggested was put on the mask, adjust it, put your hand over the breathing hole, and breathe in.  If you can't get any air, you've got a tight seal.  Apparently the only masks that are good for this are the ones sold to protect workers in chemical plants and the like.

    The reason EVERYBODY wore them during SARs in East Asia, is that the governments realized that if they only required people who were sick or who had been exposed, which is the only population who's mask makes any difference, no one would wear them, because of the stigma.  So they required everyone to wear one.  If you wanted to get on the subway or a bus, for example, you have to have on a mask.

    The bottom line on the mask:  Surgical masks protect others, Darth Vader-types of masks protect you.

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