A demonstrator holds a placard with a face mask stating "THE NEW SYMBOL OF TYRANNY MUZZLE" rallying outside the Pennsylvania Capitol Building to protest the continued closure of businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic on May 15, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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Anti-maskers say the face coverings infringe on their rights and are physically dangerous.
Some say they've found literal loopholes to mask-wearing requirements by wearing ineffective mesh masks or purposefully wearing them correctly.
Masks have been shown to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus by 65%.
The advice is straightforward and evidence-based: Wear a mask in public if you can't social distance in order to protect both yourself and fellow citizens from the novel coronavirus.
But anti-maskers aren't buying it. Many say that mandates to wear face coverings infringe on their rights, others say they have medical conditions that make mask-wearing dangerous (which experts dispute), and some spread false notions like that the strips of fabric severely limit oxygen intake.
Related: Experts on how to make, wear effective DIY face masks
While some anti-maskers flat-out refuse to wear a mask, others are more sly: Wearing bogus varieties that offer no protection to them or society so they can go about their lives without getting called out — or conceding their beliefs.
One man, for example, filmed his trip to Walmart wearing what appears to be a wire mesh mask made to protect the face during paintball. He said it was like wearing no mask, and reported that "no one cared" even though everyone could see his face.
Others have bragged about their fake masks on Twitter.
—April Moyes (@aprilinvegas) July 3, 2020
—Futilz (@futilecauz) July 7, 2020
People on sites like Etsy are also selling the masks as "breathable" and for "rebels" or "those with a sense of humor," while one user noted the masks work as a "placebo" effect to keep other people off their backs. (Etsy notes that items sold on its site are not medical grade, and that sellers can't make health claims.)
Others anti-maskers say they're wearing regular masks but purposefully using them incorrectly or punching holes in them.
—Seeing_The_Truth (@Chanecia312) July 3, 2020
—Trump2Q2Q Grandma (@modmom007) July 7, 2020
Face masks, worn correctly, can protect wearers and the community
Medical masks or cloth face coverings, ideally with three layers, could be a ticket to controlling the coronavirus outbreak — if everyone wore them.
A recent study out of the UK, for example, showed that mandates to wear masks could be enough to contain an outbreak without a lockdown.
Case reports have illustrated their effectiveness too, with two infected (and masked) hairstylists able to do their jobs on 140 masked customers without spreading the illness.
And, a range of new research shows masks protect the wearer, too, by reducing the risk of infection by 65 percent, Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital, said in a UC Davis livestream.
"Everyone should wear a mask," he said. "People who say, 'I don't believe masks work,' are ignoring scientific evidence. It's not a belief system. It's like saying, 'I don't believe in gravity.'"
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