The Mask

I have sourced a replacement transmission cable for my car. It’s in United Arab Emirates. There were a couple that were closer – in Lithuania – but they were second hand parts. I’d use them in a pinch but I don’t have very good past experiences with second hand parts – and this is a critical part. The car has been absolutely immobilised for over three weeks.

So the cable is on the way from UAE. I have a friend also trying to get one in Wales and there is still the possibility that the local dealership will come through, although that seems increasingly unlikely. If I end up with three I’ll sell one and keep the other in case it ever happens again.

Of course, the UAE one could end up in a catch-22. There are bound to be import duties, I’ll probably get a card telling me where to go to pay and collect it, and then I’ll have to try to explain why I can’t come and collect it until they bring it here. Hopefully I’ll be able to pay those import duties online, otherwise I have to wait until one of the other two channels come through before I can collect the part I need to fix the car so I can collect the part.

This is normal life for me, it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow any more.

Anyway, masks.

Everyone wants N95 masks because they are fine enough to stop the virus. You need training and fitting to wear one of those masks properly. They seal around your face so the only air you breathe is coming in through the mask. No doubt you’ll have seen pictures of the nurses who have been wearing them on long shifts, day after day. They chafe your face.

They are also very difficult to breathe through. Any mask will be, but these especially so. Most of the air you exhale into the mask fails to leave the mask and you breathe it back in. Some new air, sure, but you’re also breathing back the CO2 you just exhaled. Keep it on for too long and your blood oxygen is going steadily down while your blood CO2 is going up. Eventually you’ll pass out and if nobody nearby thinks to take your mask off (I guarantee they won’t because they’ll think you have the virus) you might die of asphyxiation. Those trained in the proper use of the masks know to watch for the early signs in themselves and others, but the general public do not.

Any mask of any kind will have the same effect, the finer the pores the worse the effect will be – but then too open and it won’t stop the virus. Flu or asphyxiation, make your choice.

Masks with exhalation valves are better for you but these are not going to stop someone with the virus from breathing it out. And that is what the mask is supposed to achieve. It’s not to protect you, it’s to protect those around you.

Doctors and nurses are trained in the use of these masks. They know not to keep them on all day. Get to a safe area and take off the mask, get yourself oxygenated and then put the mask back on. The general public are not trained. They will have masks on all day (I even hear of people driving alone, wearing a mask) and some will even have them on at home. That is when you get people suddenly collapsing in the street, as in all those Chinese videos.

It’s called hypercapnia.

So, should you refuse masks? Well, no. You do not need N95. If you don’t know how to fit them properly you might as well wear a standard dust mask. A badly fitted N95 mask is an expensive waste of time.

A mask made of a salted layer and a HEPA layer cut from a vacuum cleaner bag will do, but don’t even wear that all the time. Do not wear at home or when driving (both pointless) but masks will help in places like supermarkets or on busy streets. You don’t need a mask if you’re hiking up a mountain and there isn’t a single person within sight. In this idiotic age, I fully expect a police drone to order you to put one on and I am counting the days until someone smashes one of those things. It’s bound to happen.

Really, you shouldn’t wear any kind of mask if running or otherwise doing any kind of strenuous exercise. CO2 at 10% is enough to kill you (yeah, it takes a lot more than parts per million but let’s not spoil the Church of Climatology’s beliefs with facts) and you can definitely get the level high enough to make you sick with any kind of mask. Especially if you are breathing heavily or already have asthma or any respiratory condition.

So, should you wear a mask? Only when absolutely necessary. Never at home. Absolutely never when driving since passing out at the wheel means you won’t have to worry about any virus killing you. Not while doing any form of strenuous exercise (have one handy in case a jobsworth wants to insist you wear it and take it off when the jobsworth is around the corner). Alternatively wrap a loose scarf around your face, so you can still breathe. It won’t stop the virus but that’s far from the only risk in this situation now.

Soon we will hear Boris’s plans for the current lockdown. I hope he doesn’t do what the Miniature Scots Idiot has done and extend it, because people will simply not listen any more. Surely Boris has known this from the start, lockdown has a limited compliance span and it is already starting to fail.

I can see why, especially in London. Some years back I lived in the highest flat in a small town. Very nice flat but it was four rooms and up three flights of stairs. Then I moved out to this big farmhouse with a huge garden – at cheaper rent but isolated. If I had been in that flat during lockdown I would have been stir crazy by now. Especially if every time I crossed the street to the shop there were jobsworths demanding to know if my 40-yard journey was ‘essential’. I’d be getting very close to decking one of them by now. Many people have less patience than I do. At least five.

People in flats with no gardens are having a really hard time of it, and they are out of work too. The stress I am under is as nothing compared to theirs (to be honest, apart from the difficulty sourcing car parts, life hasn’t changed much) and of course they can only stand it for so long. That time is up now. Lockdown cannot be maintained. Sturgeon is going to find out the hard way. I hope Boris has enough sense to take the easy way.

It’s not going to affect those who want to live in eternal lockdown. They still can. It’s likely to cause a surge in cases and the inevitable ‘I told you so’ but those who want to be totally safe will still be safe. Voluntarily. Social distancing will continue for quite some time; the fear instilled by the government and media isn’t going to just vanish.

Of course, CStM and I will still be in lockdown even if Wee Nippy comes to her senses and relaxes it. Involuntarily, until the cable I need to fix the car arrives.

Even if they abolish it completely, we’re going nowhere any time soon.

7 thoughts on “The Mask

  1. Was saddened watching a video where a Chinese boy was required to wear a face mask while doing compulsory running at primary school. Game wee fellow of about 8 years of age, sprawled onto the track – dead.

    His father was watching. From proud to grief struck… terribly sad.

    It happened elsewhere in China, but no video. Seems the authorities have cottoned on and the whole “exam” has been scrapped for the time being.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Oh, Fer Gawd’s Sake! – Longrider

  3. No idea where, but in the rush to bury “covid victims” they make the most awful mistakes. This poor chap was very lucky, he was in a tomb. Those buried underground will never be known. Those in mass cremation pits can console themselves that the agony will be over relatively quickly.

    He’s dehydrated and hoarse because he’s been screaming for a very long time.


    • There have been many reports of people in China still moving in body bags. I’d like to think it would never happen here but with what we’ve seen lately I wouldn’t be too sure.

      People have descended into a harsher version of 1984 in just a few months. They’ll be Panoptica within a couple of years at this rate.


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