Do the Coronavirus Masks Work?

A colleague of mine sent me a YouTube clip reporting on the efficacy (or the lack thereof) of the now ubiquitous face masks popping up globally ( Turns out the drug store variety surgical masks (while they do help you from spreading your cold to others) provide too flimsy a seal to keep airborne viruses away from your mouth and nose. The more expensive n95 respirator mask offers a tighter seal, but all day usage ends up restricting necessary oxygen flow to the wearer. 

Meanwhile, the plunge of global financial markets this week, in reaction to the spreading coronavirus, reflects investors’ jittery nerves, worried over how the contagion will negatively impact economic expansion and interrupt global supply chains. The health minister of Iran, after warning the nation of the coronavirus now inside its borders, contracted the virus. And the mayor of San Francisco this week declared a state of emergency for the city over the coronavirus, without a single case reported there! All of this a telling reflection of the alarm that itself is spreading along with the virus.

Health authorities continue to emphasize common-sense hygiene practices may be the best deterrent to contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization’s website offers these recommendations: (1) wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub; (2) maintain social distance (at least 3 feet from someone coughing or sneezing—good luck with that on a plane!); (3) avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; (4) cover your mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; (5) if you have a fever and are coughing with difficulty breathing, "seek medical care early”; and (6) stay informed and follow your health provider’s advice (

“Dear friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2).

Sometimes the best deterrent to the infection of common sin is to emphasize common sense spiritual hygiene: (1) spend 15-20 minutes every morning meditating on a fresh story about Jesus from the Gospels (or Desire of Ages); (2) spend ten minutes on your knees in quiet conversation with your Savior; (3) don’t forget to ask Him for a fresh, daily baptism of the Holy Spirit in your life (Luke 11:13); (4) ask Him to help you connect with someone today who needs your contagious witness of Jesus’ love (become Love on the Move); (5) be available all day long for God’s promptings to help someone (even a stranger) in need; and (6) do not wear a mask over your heart—let the goodness, grace, peace, hope, and love of Christ spread from you to all you meet.

And what’s the benefit of this common-sense spiritual hygiene? “The effort to bless others will react in blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption. . . . This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon [us]. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator” (Steps to Christ 79).

And when you’re that near to your Creator, there really is no need for a mask at all.