Don't fall for these 3 myths about face masks

"Let's try to keep it to fact, not fiction."

June 26, 2020, 5:23 PM

With airlines and states issuing mandatory mask requirements and the World Health Organization warning of an "infodemic" of disinformation about the novel coronavirus on social media, ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton sat down with "Good Morning America" to debunk three common myths about face masks:

PHOTO: In this May 25, 2020, file photo, people wearing masks walk on the boardwalk at Coney Island with a view of Luna Park in the background in New York.
In this May 25, 2020, file photo, people wearing masks walk on the boardwalk at Coney Island with a view of Luna Park in the background in New York.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images, FILE

1. Myth: Medical conditions prevent many people from wearing a mask in public

Few medical conditions would prevent someone from wearing a mask, Ashton said.

While people with mental health conditions, such as post traumatic stress syndrome or severe claustrophobia might have psychological reasons for not wearing a mask, in general, "If someone is well enough to be out in public, they are well enough to put some kind of face covering or mask on," Ashton said.

2. Myth: Masks cut off your oxygen to the point that they make you sick

"Masks are not air tight," Ashton pointed out, adding that oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules are small enough to easily pass through a face covering.

If masks made it impossible to breathe, then "any surgeon, any nurse, any lab technician, any person who works in a job that requires them to wear a mask would be passing out," Ashton said.

"Let's try to keep it to fact, not fiction," she added.

3. Myth: Wearing a mask eliminates the need for social distancing

False, once again. "To be crystal clear, it's not either a mask or 6 feet apart. It's both," Ashton said. "That's for everyone else's protection and it may be for your protection as well."

What to know about the coronavirus:

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