Most people who have never purchased and worn masks before don't know what that little plastic disk is on the front of a lot of masks. It's not the filter, it's an air valve. It allows breath to escape the mask when the mask forms a good seal around the face (as it should). It prevents heat and moisture accumulation and allows for easier airflow.
But yes, you're then breathing out of the valve. If you are a/symptomatic with COVID-19, then you are possibly exhaling the virus. That renders the mask useless. In fact, it's even more dangerous than not wearing a mask because the wearer has a false sense of security. They could perhaps be breathing the virus onto someone when they are speaking, coughing, or sneezing while wearing the mask with the assumption that they are protected and they are protecting others.
The valve does not filter viruses. The virus only thrives on the warm moisture exhaled from your breath.
However, assuming I was not in close contact with others, I would wear the mask given no other options. The mask will at the very least provide some filtration and prevent me from touching my face with my hands.
Please protect yourself. Be well.
- July 2020
- May 2020