Mask Confusion and Myths about Immunity in Isolation

This is Part 5 in my series with Dr. Phil Pearson on COVID-19. Dr. Pearson has practiced medicine for 39 years. He is an elder at Broadmoor Baptist, and he and his wife are well-respected members of our local community. For many years, Dr. Pearson also taught conceal-carry classes in our area.

Only eight weeks have passed since the World Health Organization declared the corona virus outbreak to be a pandemic.

March 11, 2020 seems a lifetime ago. And in pandemic time, it was.

State and local governments are quickly assessing the best way to handle a virus that unknown just a few months ago.

This week, citizens in my community will be required to wear masks in public places.

As one might expect in our glorious democracy, public debate has been intense.

Mask confusion

Opponents of mandatory masks in public places have been sharing an article that quotes US Surgeon General Jerome Adams saying that the general public should not wear face masks. The quote is from a March press conference. The article ends by quoting Adams, “There may be a day where we change our recommendation.”

A few days later the surgeon general did exactly that. On April 3, Adams gave a thorough explanation of his evolving position on masks for the general public. He also released this video on showing viewers how to make their own masks.

Most notably, Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the coronavirus task force, apologized after being the only one without a mask in a photograph with a group of doctors and a patient at the Mayo Clinic.

Since he is tested frequently for the coronavirus, Pence thought he didn’t pose a threat.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic,” he conceded at a town hall meeting on FOX.

Some are concerned that it’s too difficult not to touch your face when wearing a mask. Dr. Philip Pearson points out that this emphasizes the need for masks in public places, rather than undermines it.

“All persons touch their faces often each hour,” Dr. Pearson said. “This highlights the importance of the mask and hand sanitizing together to avoid contamination of self. The mask still primarily helps protect others.”

Some people resist the idea of wearing a mask due to constitutional rights.

Others worry about carbon dioxide toxicity. Dr. Philip Pearson explains that citizens do not need to be concerned about toxicity.

“Since carbon dioxide is about 232 picometres in size, it easily travels through the mask and will not cause toxicity,” Dr. Pearson said.

However, the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is about 344 times the size of carbon dioxide.

“SARS-CoV-2 is about 80,000 picometres in size,” Dr. Pearson points out. “Carbon dioxide is a molecule, while this novel coronavirus is a complex virus composed of vast numbers of molecules and atoms.”

The masks that most people wear are best at stopping larger droplets.

“These masks work by decreasing the velocity and therefore range of your exhaled droplets,” Dr. Pearson said. “The only danger in wearing a mask is putting it on infants who are not old enough to move and adjust their own masks to avoid suffocation if they fall asleep.”

Many occupations such as poultry processing plants required workers to wear masks long before this pandemic.

“During my surgical training, I had to wear a mask eight hours a day,” Dr. Pearson said. “Other jobs require masks. Carbon dioxide toxicity just isn’t an occupational hazard that we have to deal with.”

This early in the battle, our weapons against COVID-19 are limited.

“Masks are far from a perfect defense, but it is the best we have,” Dr. Pearson said. “Wearing a mask is like many things in life—the more you do it the easier and more routine it becomes.”

Don’t masks and isolation weaken our immune system?

Some citizens are also concerned that isolation and mandatory masks will decrease our bodies’ ability to fight viruses.

“Social isolation does nothing to weaken our immune system. This is a poor understanding of our wonderful immune system and how it works,” Dr. Pearson said. “Our immune systems are able to protect us from most viral and bacterial attacks. However, our immune system may be overwhelmed if the viral load is too great and we have no prior immune antibodies to help, or it is not functioning efficiently.”

Dr. Pearson explains that our immune blood cells, antibodies, and lymph system are always working to protect us.

“We are under constant assault from bacteria and viruses, but normally we have nothing to fear because our systems defend us,” Dr. Pearson said. “With COVID, however, we have no protective antibodies pre-existing, and therefore some people may be overwhelmed by it.”

Some have suggested that since the common cold is produced by some varieties of corona viruses this gives our immune system a way of recognizing and fighting COVID-19.

“Antibodies to corona viruses that cause the common cold will not protect against COVID-19,” Dr. Pearson said. “These are why the often-cited serology tests for COVID-19 show higher rates of asymptomatic infections. Those tests cross react to some of the common cold corona viruses.”

One way you can build your immune system is to spend time in the sun.

“Studies have shown some protection against COVID-19 with daily vitamin d supplementation of 2000-5000 units a day,” Dr. Pearson said. “Thirty minutes of midday sun with a large amount of skin exposure will provide about 5000 units.  Summer is beneficial primarily in getting vitamin D from sunlight.”

However, Dr. Pearson warns that large doses of vitamin D from supplements can be harmful.

“Do not use more than 5000 units a day unless you have a blood level performed.”

While you are soaking up the sun, you don’t need to wear a mask unless you are around others.

“Wearing a mask while outdoors is only necessary when near others,” Dr. Pearson said. “But remember if you are walking behind someone, their expired breath is still present for many minutes after they have walked on.”

Your proximity to someone while outdoors is something to give thoughtful consideration to, Dr. Pearson explained.

“I would not want to jog even 50 yards behind someone else who is jogging on a track. I would be inhaling their expired vapor within 20 seconds if running behind them on a windless day. However, wind changes that and disperses their expired air.”

Stay Tuned: Next time Dr. Pearson will address his concerns about the video, Plandemic, that features Dr. Judy Mikovits. I’m hoping to also touch on fear-mongering and our immune systems vs. viral loads.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be medical advice. Please follow the advice of a knowledgeable family doctor and guidance from the CDC.gov.

Also, my desire is to responsibly report about top concerns surrounding COVID-19 by interviewing a trusted source. For in-depth journalism from a Biblical perspective, I highly recommend World Magazine.

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