Special guest Dr. Richard Lane continues to answer listener questions regarding the reopening of America.

Here are a few questions that were submitted on Facebook that we didn’t have time to cover during the show, including the topic of wearing masks and their effectiveness in slowing the spread of COVID-19:

Question: Dr. Lane, I only have the handmade kind of masks.  I am pretty sure majority of people wearing masks are also wearing the handmade kind (or even the thin surgical kind). Do these kinds of masks actually help curb the spread? I wonder how much these masks are just false security.

Dr. Lane’s Answer: The standard surgical masks use multiple thin layers of fine cotton to create a thicker end product with overlapping inter-fiber spacing. Gauze pads and masks have a similar effect. Most home-made masks use a two-layer densely woven fabric construction (needs to block passage of light) for a similar effect. The best home-made fabric masks include a pocket for a filter to boost effectiveness. A double layer of paper can be used as a cheap filter option to actually stop viral particles. The homemade type can reduce the movement of respiratory droplets, which serve as the vehicle for virus transmission. A triple layer of high-count cotton cloth (a good sheet) works best. You can also insert a folded paper towel as a filter in the 2-layer mask to approximate the light weight 12-layer cotton surgical masks.

Question: Another thing I could ask you to comment on is the safety and reliability of alcohol (rubbing alcohol, let’s be specific) as a sanitizer and disinfectant. It makes me a little queasy when people keep saying to use alcohol sanitizer to protect themselves.

Dr. Lane’s Answer: The alcohol content should be between 60 and 95%. Some bacteria can grow at lower concentrations and above 95% the alcohol loses its effectiveness. Refer to this article on hand sanitizers. Soap and water with a proper 20-second wash is better.

Question: Will I get COVID-19 from going to a box store?

Dr. Lane’s Answer: I have seen a number of posts suggesting no COVID-19 infections have occurred from retail stores during the lockdown period. This is not true. I am including a link to one of the many fact check sources. I have seen several news accounts of box store related transmission and death at a variety of businesses over the last 2 months. I recall one case involving a pharmacist in April. Many of these infected workers also took the virus home to family members. We do need to be mindful about protecting essential workers. Precautions to reduce the risk do not eliminate all the risk.

Hopefully, this information will help you stay vigilant and take basic precautions. We don’t need to live in fear but need to stay informed. Again, a big thank you to Dr. Lane for answering questions and lending his expertise!

Listen to our full conversation with Dr. Lane for more helpful advice in navigating the reopening of America! Part 2 is located below and Part 1 can be found here.


Dr. Richard Lane has a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine degree from Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He is licensed as a physician and surgeon in the Commonwealth of Virginia and has recently retired. He has been a reasoned voice in disseminating information from a science perspective, has years of experience working with infectious disease, and is a person of faith.

Reopening America: What we need to know - Part 2

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