MASKS VS MOLECULES: Why PPE, lockdowns and social distance help save lives (a physical perspective).

We have seen many pro and con videos and articles showing how things pass through or don’t pass through one mask or another. A popular one is someone wearing a handkerchief around their head and mouth and trying to blow out a candle or cigarette lighter – using various masks with degrees of the fire going out instantly or not at all, depending on the type of mask.

We have also seen people blow tobacco smoke through the mask….Or one girl on instagram said “if I can smell my farts through panties and jeans – how the heck is a mask going to do anything…”.


Anyhoo…What we have to first understand is the nature of molecules. Molecules are not alive, they are not at all living entities. Microbes, which can be viruses, are a collection of non-living molecules – thus microbes also are non-living entities. There is some debate as to microbes not being viruses, and microbes being alive, and semantics plays a role as well but for the purpose of this article as regards masks – it is neither here nor there.

With Corona, we speak to it as if it’s a living organism, that it is “aggressive” which can imply that it has an agenda and as it floats through the air it is seeking a human or cow to infect and kill, and notching deaths on its belt as it makes its determined way across the land.

Microbes, Corona, as an entity is not with agenda. Microbes are docile, and only reactive to their environment. Like a grain of innocent salt – it too responds to surrounding elements, what it comes into contact with can determine what it might do (minerals cause/create reactions – some good some not so good).

Microbes enter the body, the lungs, tissue, bloodstream etc. and come into contact with a cell – the cell can actually allow the microbe in, unwittingly, and or unknowingly – sort of like a Trojan Horse, entering the fortress – only to spawn more microbes, and the nature of cell division is at play and suddenly we have a new and growing colony of rogue cells that can negatively impact status quo if you will.

Cells gone rogue happens every nano second in our bodies, in all living organisms – and every nano second, our bodies, our immune system, is dealing with them and most times successful at overwhelming and eliminating the errant, delinquent cell or cells.

And while this will be a topic for another time and place – many have put the case that viruses are vital to earth’s ecosystems, and individual organisms’ eco systems. Again, for another time and place – right now we need to deal with Corona…

So, corona vs masks – to wear or not to wear. First off, any level of protection, is a level of protection (filed in the duh cabinet). Many are wont to dismiss masks altogether which is, for lack of a scientific term, stupid. And to wear any kind of device that covers your mouth and nose is, for lack of a scientific term, smart.

So instead of wear or not wear – let’s keep the conversation to ‘what type of mask works best’. Physics dictates that the more solid a barrier, the more resistant, more impermeable, more impenetrable it will be. Physics also notes that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Therein lies part of the issue – how do we breathe, how do we allow for full oxygen passing through while keeping certain other molecules at bay?

Also, as we exhale, how do we prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2)?. This latter concern is quite moot – so long as you can always breathe in air, an exchange of air, you will be fine. It is the oh so rare case for your average mask or respirator to cause a CO2 issue. And of course you can remove the mask for just one or two breaths when no one is around – or sneak into a corner or window – for a breather, but still, very rare.

But back to how do we allow needed oxygen in while keeping out corona or flu viruses etc. This is where understanding what a molecule is comes in handy – or more so, what a molecule is not. I’ve already mentioned that molecules and the cluster that are microbes are abiotic (without life). Specifically, microbes don’t have eyes, ears, noses, limbs, a brain, sensory modes or nodes, propulsion dynamics, wings, scissors, knives, blow torches – or ordained designated chaperones – and a host of other things that could help it be a greater threat, a truly aggressive entity – before it reaches a cell.

All molecules, on their own, are dumb as rocks – and like rocks, will sit there and do nothing – have zero desire to get past your mask. It doesn’t even know there is a mask to get past or even a body to get into, or a cell to breach. A complete dumb and inept entity are these microbes.

So, in that chance happening that corona, floating with the wind beneath its collective self, meets up with your mask – my money is on the mask – any mask. Against any mask – the microbe that we know has so far killed a quarter million Americans (at the time of this writing, November 2020) and as much around the globe – will fail way more times than succeed in getting past the mask.

As well, Corona has an equally difficult task, getting out of your mask if you have contracted the virus.

Because a molecule doesn’t have a brain, or eyes or sense of smell or can hear, when up against a mask, no matter how shear the mask is, it does not know to “work” its way through the webbing to get into your nose and mouth. If you or I had this as an obstacle on some reality show, this giant mesh cloth that we had to get through, we could perhaps see the webbing and move strands aside, or cut them down, or burn them, or put ourselves in a sling shot or canon and come at it at top speed till they broke…

We, as living thinking, creating entities, could back up and try again, think of another plan of attack, even gather our friends (strength in numbers?) and try to bum rush the fabric – “half of you go this way, half of you go that way…”.

An abiotic entity cannot do this, none of this.

This is the physical undeniable nature of any molecule, of deadly viral microbes, when up against barriers. On their own, getting past mesh cloth, woven weaved, 3000 thread counts, my tee shirt – is all kinds of problematic – and the chances of a breach are less than sperm getting to the egg (just gonna leave that right there).

A molecule is not at all working its way through any kind of layers, or one layer of material. Perhaps if it is being forced through, like with a gush of someone’s spit hitting your mask at high velocity, or a leaf blower pushing the microbe up against your mask…

Another factor to consider –

When we see people blowing smoke through a mask or putting a spray bottle up to the cloth as we see water penetrating it – or how is air making its way through the mask – well, in a way, this is kind of where strength in numbers comes in.

The air we breathe – is all air, so when all air, or smoke and water, meets up with a barrier, something has to give, and then threads can be moved aside.  Water, air and smoke molecules are wildly pushing each other around and that give will be the thread count and some of its fibers parting way. If there is any slight opening, if you fill it up enough with the same thing, same types of molecules, whatever size, so much of them will manage past the materials.

And this is where covid 19 fails. It is not truly omnipresent like air or water, or smoke for that matter. It only seems or appears ubiquitous, cause people are being infected all around the planet – but it is not. In any one space, a room, a car, etc. there are not at all zillions of corona molecules – creating the dynamic that air and water create wherein something has to give.

Yes, corona doesn’t travel in packs. While ingested, when the molecule breaches a cell, then the cell divides and multiplies, and we spit, there too, will not even have millions of tiny corona molecules – or even thousands.

So if these molecules are flyin solo, or if their numbers are not greater than the mass of other molecules in the room, air for example – then the chances of forcing a breach by these microbes are real slim. But I’m still saying there’s a chance. And of course this is where a thick mask, or one with more layers, really creates an almost impossible task for Corona.

I also spoke to this microbe as not having any type of propulsion system. What moves it, are other elements, other molecules who again, have numbers that are vastly superior. Water and air. So liquids can carry corona. Spit, when propelled by wind, propelled by your lungs – can carry the microbe across some distances. And if wearing a mask, can shoot some past the material, but it won’t have great travel speeds or distances if it was first met by said mask- and by the time it reaches your mask – the chances are even more so reduced for it penetrating your mask.

Simple basic physics.

And the microbe needing another entity to help it get around, is limited to the energy/force of that source. So here too we see why distance can be key – six feet apart – is great to keep spittle at bay, give it the greater chance of having it fall at your feet. So too with only airborne microbes from someone’s mouth to yours.

But without a mask, distance is moot. A molecule, an inert entity, like a leaf, or pollen, can travel around the world, wind aided, forever. Or land in your mouth from a hundred miles away. It can also travel around the world via our oceans, rivers and streams etc. like a deadly message in a bottle.

And of course, if the molecule is surrounded by someone’s spit, it will not travel far but be weighted down and eventually give in to gravity and land on the ground  – for your dog to sniff and lick – and kiss you later… jus sayin.

So, microbes, not bogged down by spit, and wind aided, will float, will be carried, like so much pollen that affects us from miles away.

But again, and always, unless the microbe is Edward Scissorhands, wearing any mask will create a greater task, than not wearing one.

As for lockdowns, shutdowns, curfews or any other enforced measures upon the masses….I live in NYC, a most vibrant and crowded city. To see it brought to its knees in the early months of this pandemic was quite a sad sight to see. A veritable ghost town it was in april. And this was when nothing was forced, no hard mandate by the mayor or governor – yet.

Not until the death toll started to rise – at an alarming rate. This is a large city and people die all the time, every minute of every day – but never ever before have so many died in such a short time, due to one thing. Never in the history of New York City, have we had at one point 280 people die a day, from one thing – and this for weeks. By May/june we had 20,000 deaths in New York City. Parks were turned into morgues due to body counts higher than what our infrastructure could handle.

Then, we got real serious about masks, about shutting down, no schools, no eateries, no clubs – New York without restaurants and clubs? Unheard of! And so too museums, Broadway theaters, movie houses, gyms, Macys… Construction, renovation of homes – all shut down. Funeral gatherings were prohibited.

We locked onto the idea of only essential workers and essential business like grocery stores, clinics and hospitals etc. And any place that was open, you had to wear a mask or you could not enter – and those with masks still had to wait online – wait an hour perhaps to get milk, so they could limit the number of people in enclosed places. The post office was a 2 hour wait – with people standing 6 feet from each other.

And guess what? It worked! It worked! Masks, social distancing, shutting down of so many places where we gather in greater numbers than at home – it all worked. The numbers went from 300 covid deaths a day – to at one point ZERO.

Yes, so much financial ruin. In the billions. Lost jobs, lost tax revenue, business, both mom and pop and major chain stores, shut down for good.

I suspect, the job of politicians first, is to protect lives, to save lives. The second, I suppose, is to see that there is a healthy thriving economy, one where all are well served. How could we have had it both ways? Is there a both ways? Could we have had our covid free cake and eat it too?

Down the road, going forward – and not in the crude and crass sense of “Next time” – we can be better prepared so that not everything goes to hell in a hand basket. And while some may have warned about a pandemic, months or years prior – and even if they hadn’t, it would have been nice to have had some measures in place in the incase this ever happened.

So, in crises mode (a soft panic mode) when all hell is upon us – then lockdowns work. It worked not just here in NYC but in countries around the world. Now, even here in NY, there has been an uptick again – as well around the world, those places where we were successful in flattening a curve. This was due to both lockdowns becoming more lax: restaurants were allowed to open, more business opened up, construction began again june 8th, Gyms had a limited dynamic, public transportation expanded its hours – as more went back to work.

We also suffered from both winter cabin fever, and mask/lockdown fatigue – so when spring came, ushered in by a mass of furious and most necessary (good trouble) protest marches – death tolls began to rise a bit again.

Its basic cause and effect. If people can’t congregate, then viruses can’t spread. When we all wear masks, then viruses can’t spread. We can all come back from financial ruin – I’ve googled it, it has happened many times before. I also googled to see if anyone has ever come back from the grave – no luck, I found zero cases where someone came back from being killed.

I will say, this country, America, has more money than god. The 800 pound gorilla in the room is that this country could tide its citizens over if it really wanted to. We have the trillions to do so. At least take care of those who had the least and were hit the hardest.

It would be better for the country, the government, to be in great debt (greater debt?) than for its individual citizens to have to suffer so dramatically. But alas – Covid has a greater chance of breaching a mask, then getting any side of the political aisle to even begin thinking about doing the right thing for its peoples.

If anyone has a sure fire alternative for lockdowns and masks please let us know. Don’t just have a stance against something, have a better option to go along with it.

Take care of yourself – take care of yourself and someone else.

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