Masked

When I was quite small my mother told me, in the melodramatic way she would often speak about such things, to make sure the bedroom window was open when you slept, otherwise, she said, you might die in the night. I didn’t want to die in the night so, ever since, I’ve made sure the window was open even just a little. Now our bedroom window is only closed when horizontal snow is blowing in. For a long time the window was broken,anyway, so we couldn’t shut it. My mother’s advice at the time was a wee bit over the top as we lived, for most of our young lives, in old manse buildings where the draughts at times would resemble Atlantic storms. If we happened to die in the night it would not be due to lack of oxygen.

In school I remember the rather potted science lesson that we needed oxygen to breath and we expelled the burned-up oxygen, the carbon dioxide. Through the beauty of nature the plants did the opposite which made for a good balance. Inevitably it is more complicated than that but the principle is still intact. Anyhow, I knew, soon enough, that there would be plenty oxygen even in a small bedroom to see me through the night, but the need for fresh air was vital and the lack of it very unsettling.  I know I shouldn’t be, but I am always surprised when I get over the door and the fresh air hits me and my mood and temperament and the feeling in my gut can change so quickly and I am thinking  “So that was what was wrong.” I noticed this especially amongst children who can be cooked up in at home, bad tempered and unbearably irritable but immediately out in the fresh air all of that changes and they can become different poeple.

So I knew, when the call came to stay home and save lives, that it was quite wrong, that it was thoroughly bad health advice and a horrible imposition to force on an otherwise healthy population. To quarantine the healthy must be one of the most foolish things for any government to do. But they did it. No doubt, they will admit to this and other mistakes, in time, as they are already doing. They will fall back on the useful crutch of saying they were following the best scientific advice at the time, or as Matt Hancock bizarrely claimed, the guidance was “really strongly interpreted”, but by then the damage will be done.

Now we are faced with the next phase of governmental insanity with the compulsory wearing of face masks in shops and public transport. Now we are mandated to breath in our own carbon dioxide, just what my mother warned me about. It is true that fresh air will be pulled through the mask but it is inevitable that a  good deal of the air we breath in a mask will be recycled carbon dioxide. It is effectively breathing poison, liable to make you light-headed or dizzy and even sick.   We know that standard medical masks can barely filter out coronavirus yet to use a mask made from an old shirt or sock, or a scarf or a buff, or whatever seems to be ok. It doesn’t make any sense.  The effectiveness of these coverings has never been tested nor could it be. There is so many variables and so many ways in which a mask could be used or misused – touching it, taking it off to drink or use the phone, not sterilising it properly before reuse, and a thousand other things that we see people do all the time. It is totally absurd, but we have to go along with it.

Tomorrow, I leave early for a nine-hour return train journey. I am not looking forward to it. I used to love long train journeys but this looks to be singularly unpleasant. I can feel the claustrophobia already. Now, I am not a rebel and always try my best to obey the law and not step over the line, But, if I do lapse and someone picks me up, I reserve the right to roll my eyes. That is one part of my face they will still be able to see.

Crawford Mackenzie

2 thoughts on “Masked

  1. Carbon dioxide is not a poison – healthy breathing depends on a balance between carbon monoxide and oxygen, and fresh air has of course other gases. Hyperventilation occurs when a body over exhales and reduces the carbon dioxide level with the danger of passing out, hence the treatment of breathing to and from a paper bag which restores the carbon dioxide level. There is absolutely no basis to the claim that cotton masks significantly affect healthy breathing. Consider that surgeons will wear for all of a working day a mask with much greater percentage filtration than your ordinary cotton variety. Japanese people have been wearing them in crowded areas for decades, both to avoid taking in allergy causing pollen and also to avoid passing on their cold viruses to others. I know of no evidence that Japanese mask wearers are less healthy than non-wearers. Some suspect that one of the reasons behind Japan’s relatively low Covid-19 infection rates is routine mask-wearing alongside better personal hygiene habits.

    • Fair enough. Depends what we mean by a poison. Breathing in only CO2 would certainly kill you. I take what you say about masks too. but I am also sure that you breath far more CO2 with a mask than without one and it won’t be the balanced air that healthy breathing depends on.

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