A doctor has run more than 22 miles while wearing a face mask in the hope of debunking the theory that the coverings lower oxygen levels.
Tom Lawton, a doctor working in the intensive care unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary, set out to convince people to wear a mask, after seeing ‘some of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
Writing on his Go Fund Me page, Dr Lawton wrote: “As an intensive care doctor dealing with some of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic I am massively in favour of anything that might keep us all safe. I have therefore been upset at the misinformation going out around oxygen levels and masks, as well as confused messaging on when to wear them (indoors!)”
Dr Lawton ran to and from the hospital while wearing both a face mask and an oxygen sats monitor.
During the run, the monitor showed the doctor to have 98% oxygen levels thoughout, suggesting that face masks do not affect the amount of oxygen you can breathe.
He said: “Final verdict was 22.6 miles in a mask (8 miles, then just over 14), breathing enough oxygen for about 10 calm people all the way.
“The mask didn’t come off at all (not even for food or drink during the runs) – and oxygen levels were stubbornly 98% every time I checked.”
Best of all, his run has raised over £2,150 for the Trussell Trust, who operate food banks across the UK.
Dr Lawton’s run comes amid a flurry of conspiracy theories surrounding face masks.
For example, a diagram from Wikipedia showing the “symptoms of carbon dioxide toxicity” has been re-edited to claim that wearing a mask leads to “re-breathing your exhaled CO2”.
Worryingly, this edited diagram has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed that wearing a face mask does not decrease the amount of oxygen you can take in, or cause carbon dioxide intoxication.
It said: “The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, does not cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.
“While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.”