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New face mask

Earlier in the year, I was given a washable fabric mask by the community. I think most, if not all, mayors did something like this for their citizens.
The mask in question is a fairly basic washable one, that is a piece of multilayer fabric layered up and sewn together at the sides with fabric ear straps. It sort of opens out into a bulbous shape into which you're supposed to put the important end of your face (the part that tea goes into).
I noticed when hand washing it that I could fill it with water, and I can't exactly wring it out, so I'm guessing it is perhaps some sort of polyester fabric?
As a means to an end, it does the job. It is also far better than the "medical" masks that we use at work, that don't really press against the face, so even with the little metal nose strip in place, my glasses steam up in no time. Also, because of this, they don't provide much protection to the sides either.

The mayor's mask is better as it sort of goes around like a cupped hand, but lacking any sort of nose strip it lets air come out around the nose. Hello instantly steamed up glasses. It was a pain because when shopping I had to keep moving (air flow to keep my glasses clear). As there's no nose strip, it squashes my nose unless I pull it up to give space there, which tends to make the steamed lenses problem even worse, and being some sort of synthetic fabric, it can rapidly feel damp inside.

So looking on Amazon, and finding many masks that didn't rate so well, I came across one that people generally liked. Those that didn't tended to be because of bad workmanship, but buying from Amazon directly, I could get an exchange in such a case.

The mask has adjustable straps (a little rubber slider thingy), an insert for putting in a filter, and a nose strip.

I wonder if Amazon were testing me. They said that the mask could be here by Thursday, the filters by Saturday, and they offered a choice of "send it all in one parcel" or "send it as available in separate parcels".
With my previous order (the advent calendar and the packet fail) I asked for the stuff to come in separate parcels because they weren't related. This time? The filters were for the mask, and I had a mask I could use, so having them come in one parcel on Saturday wasn't a hardship.
They couriered it out to me to arrive today. Uh... okay...?


This is what arrived:

Mask and filters.
Mask and filters.

Apparently it is a non-medical "fashion mask". I suppose that's some sort of legal thing (pretty much all of them on Amazon say it's a non-medical mask that has not been proven to reduce the transmission or protection of illnesses ... it even says this for masks calling themselves "medical"!).
A fashion mask. Who'd have thought. I mean, I know it's a thing in Japan...

It looks quite well made. Solid stitching holding it together, and nicely shaped with a part to fit below the chin and a strip to adjust to fit the nose. It doesn't actually say what it is made of, but it can be washed at 30°C and ironed on the two-dot setting (what kind of obsessive person irons a face mask?!).
The black part is thick fleece backed fabric. Inside, there's another much thinner layer of white fabric, and across most of it, yet another layer that is the pocket for the filter.

Inside the mask.
Inside the mask.
It is a bit fiddly getting the filter in place. I have no quibble with this, I'd rather a fiddly job than a filter that just rattles around inside. At least it'll stay put.
The filter is a five layer thing. The outer layer is a non-woven fabric (whatever that means). The intermediate layers are "meltblown filter cloth" (actual quote!), and the very middle is some thing called "activated carbon", a type of carbon obtained from charcoal and processed to have a huge surface area in order to purify. In this case it is air that is being purified, however you may have come across activated carbon water filters?
I received two filters with the mask (size PM2.5), and I purchased a pack of ten.

I need to wear this between getting out of my car and into work, and the same at the end of the day, as well as whilst in the staff break room at times when I'm not actually eating. So maybe twenty or so minutes per day. I also need to wear it in enclosed places such as the supermarket (20-25 minutes). Thus, I ought to get about a week's use out of the mask, washing it and changing the filter on the weekend.

I just went inside to make a cup of tea (of course!) and the acid test was my glasses. After standing still for a couple of minutes whilst the kettle did its thing, my right lens steamed up slightly towards the bottom.
To put this into context, any other mask probably would have had me looking out of a haze of fog by that point.

Furthermore, it didn't feel uncomfortable. I could breathe easily, it didn't squash my nose, and it didn't feel like it was getting all steamed up inside (a perennial problem with the synthetic masks). All it all, it was probably the first mask I've worn in ages that was actually pleasant.

It is windy.
My disorganised hair isn't that bad - it's really windy!
In case you missed the photo caption, it's really windy right now. I had to put the Bluetooth speaker on top of the mask to keep it in place, and my empty tea cup (a paper cup) is... uh... probably in the neighbour's field by now. ☺

Would I trust this mask? Honestly I don't know. It claims to be for fashion, but it looks pretty solid and can accept a slot-in filter which, honestly, doesn't seem necessary as a fashion statement.
Let's look at it from the other way around - I don't trust this mask less than the others, as it doesn't matter how great the three-ply medical masks we use at work might be if they don't fit around the face.

That said, I'm not wearing a mask to protect myself. Regular hand disinfection when out, washing well when home, and doing my damnedest not to touch my eyes when out are how I protect myself, as well as avoiding being around those who are coughing (though the ones at work coughing are usually because they're smokers).
No, I wear a mask to help protect others in the (unlikely) case that I'm asymptomatic. As this mask fits well (and a boon having adjustable ear straps so it can be tweaked to the individual), that means that more of my breathe will be passing through the layers of fabric, which should mean fewer (if any?) plague-ridden droplets flying through the air.

So, yes, I'm happy with this.


Well done Ofcom

For not wading into the "Britain's Got Talent" performance by Diversity, describing their performance as "a call for social cohesion and unity".

For those not aware, a dance troupe performed a powerful Black Lives Matter statement, which contained a white performer kneeling on a black performer's neck. It also featured dancers dressed as riot police, and managed to also reference the pandemic, capitalism, and poverty along the way. And... tell you what, just take four minutes of your life to watch this:

As if to demonstrate what a lovely place post-Brexit Britain is, that performance caused ~24,500 complaints to be sent to Ofcom (the UK broadcasting regulator). 4% of those immediately following the broadcast, and 96% in the following weeks as sheeple got to hear about it in news stories (the Daily Mail's website clocking up over 20 articles about it all), allowing them to feign the sort of faux outrage that sort of makes Diversity's point.

People complained that prime-time ITV on a Saturday night was an inappropriate platform for a political statement and that it was a racist (against white people) performance. When would it be better shown? Two o'clock in the morning with the signed repeats? Or perhaps never so they can enjoy their supermarket Earl Grey and live under the many delusions that would otherwise be shattered if they had to accept the reality that there is an entire ethnic group that doesn't feel like it can trust law enforcement . . . either through ethnic profiling as happens all the bloody time (yes, even in middle England) or, as is sadly all too frequent on the other side of the Altantic, simply being murdered by overzealous trigger-happy assholes with badges.

In case the whole "Black Lives Matter" thing managed to pass the attention of these 24,500 dickheads, this is their reality. While it is true that all lives matter, we pay specific attention to Black lives right now, because, well, this is their reality. Do I really need to be explaining this sort of thing?

Instead, to the ~24,500... each and every one... you shame your country.



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David Pilling, 18th September 2020, 19:30
Gaining entry to a medical facility, they were making people take off the masks they came in and put on ones provided - little different in my case and only a couple of minutes newer - but someone had an opinion about the masks joe public would turn up in. 
One day we will know about the masks - "spitfire railings", or just to protect other people from you, or maybe as has been suggested reducing the dose of virus you may get and hence the severity of any infection. 
Some will be better than others, but better for what. 
Rick, 18th September 2020, 22:19
I don't think there's such a thing as a "dose", I think you either get it out you don't...not "get it just a little bit". 
David Pilling, 19th September 2020, 13:14
I don't know, but I have read that how bad you get it is proportional to how much you're exposed to, all the way down to people acquiring immunity by being repeatedly exposed to tiny amounts. Part of the official guidance is if you are doomed to get it, reduce exposure (like if sharing a house). 
This is not unreasonable, it is said that people exposed regularly to small amounts of things like tetanus develop immunity. 
Look at it the other way, does everyone who gets a single virus develop it - no. A different argument, there has to be a minimum amount of virus that triggers a serious response. For a cold being in a car with someone for an hour, you're doomed. Walking past them you're safe. 
Rob, 20th September 2020, 01:34
Having spent the last couple of months going in and out of the local Hospital multiple times per day... their policy was: 
- new masks for everybody on entering each building 
- white masks for public areas, blue masks for staff in "clinical" areas. Swap back on leaving clinical areas. 
- Own fabric masks not allowed, as they don't know how long you've been wearing it. 
I can see their points, but it made for a heck of a lot of changing of masks. 
Oh, and sanitising gel on your hands on entering each building, and dispensers were popping up at regular positions all along the corridors.

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