Canadian doctor-dancers demonstrate how easy it is to breathe in an N95 mask (respirator)

So… I am primed to respond strongly when anything could be misinterpretable as discounting the utility of properly used PPE. (the.proposed demo not you :wink: ) Working in a hospital myself and being married to an infection specialist who I would very much like to stay safe while being on the front line of pandemics.

Even if something is more difficult with a mask, risk still needs to be balanced between “I’m uncomfortable” and “I’m going to suffer harm”. Too often that refusal group is the “I’m uncomfortable” side taking a potentially fatal risk. So my concern is: If the demo had someone having to stop mid walk it could be used as evidence masks are bad when really it’s just a person who has a serious medical condition that needs extra protections beyond masks.

A major challenge is that people use discomfort as an excuse in situations when it would be safer for everyone to wear a mask. Including them.

Yes clinical studies have demonstrated for example that severe COPD for example have challenges with a walking test wearing an N95, but if I remember correctly that was only really seen in people with a FEV1 under 30% of normal which is really advanced (FEV1 how much air you can move in a second). This same population is going to have challenges doing any regular activites without a mask…

BUT this same population should be able to wear a mask for short periods. My wife encountered many patients in her clinic/hospital who tried to refuse to wear a mask during a consultation, but if you’re not on high flow oxygen you should be able to tolerate sitting in a meeting or short low exertion activity. Plenty of people were asked to navigate the hospital with a mask on and survived to tell the tale. The fact is that mortality among the COPD population from COVID was massively elevated and the risk of dying from a repiratory virus really needs to be balanced with how much harm you are really experiencing from a mask.

Also I meant to imply that masking is just one of the protections availible. Vaccinations, avoiding indoor crowds etc etc are all important additional things to consider if your are in this group. As is the use of source control by surgical masks for example (not necesarily N95s) on the broader population to protect them in a crowded area.

Univeral masking recomendations are unlikely in the near future but masking in high risk environments is never off the table. That’s just standard practice in hospitals and other industries ( Adding PPE based on risk).

I have sympathy for the genuinely impacted but for those where a mask is truely a risk to their ability to breath, you need a lot of extra protections, not fewer.


I understand you completely. I have in no way said that masks are harmful.

But don’t you think folks who are mask-resistant would be benefited by a PSA that portrayed folks that mirrored their own situation as common people, and not by a medicine-practicing couple that was very physically fit?

I think there was some talking past eachother there. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply I was reading you as saying or implying masks are harmful.

Rather I was going off the what such a demo could be read as by the general public.

Specifically, I was reading your suggestion as people who had (or claim to have as the case may be) a respiratory defecit. (Those saying they can’t breath). i.e. not “common” / average people.

As I’m sure you know, average people would do just fine at normal activities, but this particular PSA is just an impromptu demonstration by a quirky DR who is tired of people rejecting PPE. So not necesarily planned in detail :wink:

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Engineer and mask tester Aaron Collins explains how it’s possible to fog glasses due to humid air passing through the filter media, and how that looks different than fogging via an air leak under the seal of the mask.


Was it Boebert of Greene who, in criticizing N95 masks, asked how those could stop the inhalation of the virus if she could smell farts through one?

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season 3 GIF by A&E

They’re both idiots.


QuickTip. That is a counterfeit respirator. They left the 3M logo off of it so they get away with it, but it is a part for part copy of a 3M 6200. They look just like a 3M respirator but they do not perform like a 3M respirator. And they are all over Amazon, and are often the number one listing if you search for respirators on Amazon. Do not buy.

I just got one of these for testing, different listing but same generic model, and the exhalation valve that’s supposed to keep you from inhaling unfiltered air through the exhaust port doesn’t close if you breathe in gently. You have to breathe in strongly to get it to close. So you’re going to breathe in a lot of unfiltered air with the one I got. And the seals are often not as good. The molds are not accurate or quality controlled.

If you need respiratory protection to protect your health or life, get government certified respirators, such as NIOSH approved, or approval from other jusisdictions such as EU, CAN, AUS/NZ which have strict approvals. NIOSH not only has strict approvals, but they also have require and approve ongoing quality management programs so that the mask you get will protect you just as much as the samples they tested for certification.


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