A rumor is making rounds in social media platforms that claims face masks do little to prevent the coronavirus infection because farts spread the disease and can go through two layers of cloth and denim jeans.
Can farts spread the coronavirus?
Amid the ongoing global crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic and the overwhelming evidence that proves the effectiveness of face masks in slowing the spread of the virus, many social media users are spreading or being led to believe in conspiracy theories that suggest otherwise.
According to Snopes, the rumor began in July that argues several points that it states goes against the effectiveness of face masks.
First, because the odor of a human's fart can penetrate materials such as denim, the coronavirus is strong enough to pass through face masks.
Second, the rumor claims that the deadly coronavirus infection can be transmitted to another person through the farts themselves.
The rumor falls apart when it is taken into consideration that the average person takes 20,000 breaths every day and only an average of five to 15 farts per day. This would suggest that health officials are more focused on controlling breaths by using face masks.
Additionally, like pants, face masks prevent transmission of droplets which has been tested and proven by several experiments that doctors, scientists, researchers and other programs have demonstrated.
In 2001, an experiment was conducted by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki to show how clothes reduce droplet transmissions of human gas by selecting a lucky colleague to fart on two petri dishes. One dish would be farted on while the subject was clothed and the other while in the light of a full moon, as reported by The USA Express.
The claim that farts are a viable way of transmitting COVID-19 has sprouted due to traces of the virus being found in the fecal matter of some infected patients. The fear, however, does not have supportive evidence as there have not been any recorded cases of coronavirus infections through farts.
In the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote that while the coronavirus has been discovered in the feces of some infected patients, there is no evidence to support that it could be transmitted through that route.
Smelling farts through face masks
Some individuals believe face masks are ineffective in preventing COVID-19 transmission because we can still smell farts through facial coverings. According to Medium, the factor that enables humans to smell farts is sulfur dioxide.
Comparing the sizes of the two, sulfur dioxide is approximately 400 times smaller than the deadly coronavirus. The size difference is the reason how fart smells can go through face masks, and if you want to block out even that, you would have to block essential molecules as well including oxygen which we need to survive.
Another factor for recommending the use of face masks is because they block out spit droplets, and the smallest sized droplets are about four times bigger than the COVID-19 virus. All of these factors result in the evidence that face masks do, in fact, reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
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