If Masks Work Then Let’s Go Back to Work

By Julie Sullivan

I’m a respiratory therapist that went to New York and worked the front lines battling COVID-19. I see all the posts for and against mask wearing. I read the fear in people who are passionate on both sides of this. I’m not an expert by any means, but the question that I have is:

If we use masks to protect each other and ourselves, then why can’t people wear them and go back to work?

I swim in Corona and oftentimes am re-wearing the same masks over and over. I question the integrity of my mask.

But I have not contracted the virus! If these masks — that can’t remain as structurally sound with repeated use — protect me while I’m taking care of dying patients, then why can’t everyday people go back to work? Why can’t they be out shopping or earning a living?

Virginia mask regulations — note the exception for eating. (Photo by Julie Sullivan for WBDaily)

I’ve been wearing and re-wearing masks that aren’t made to be re-worn and yet, they keep protecting me.

Why not everyone else?

People need to work and provide for their families. Is there someone out there that can answer that question for me? Work, wear a mask when you’re not able to be outside or socially distant, and wash your hands!

This is a surgical mask meant to be used one time only for a single patient. (Photo by Julie Sullivan for WBDaily)

This is an N-95 mask for use with airborne illnesses intended for single patient use. (Photo by Julie Sullivan for WBDaily)

This is a respirator for multi-patient use, similar to an N-95, but with filters that can be changed according to the manufacturer’s label. (Photo by Julie Sullivan for WBDaily)

Julie Sullivan is a Respiratory Therapist and contributor to WBDaily. She is on assignment in Manassas, Virginia.

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