First, a disclaimer. Yes this is an alt account. And it is in full compliance with NP rules about secondary accounts. This sort of topic is not the sort of thing I join NP to opine about, but having sat back reading a lot of posts here I felt to need to say something while not wanting to do so from my main account because even though it is based on research I have read about is not going to be popular. Another note I will ignore confirmed case numbers, as these aren't a meaningful number because we don;t know how many actual cases there are or how confirmed cases correlate to actual case numbers. What we do have a good grasp on is death numbers. At least here in the US, we are pretty good as attributing cause of death, so long as we can agree on what constitutes a COVID death (but that's a whole nother issue). My opinion, this thread asks the wrong question. If your question is do masks block all or the majority of respiratory droplets, then research says yes. If your question is whether COVID is actually spread though respiratory droplets or not, research isn't conclusive but as more data comes in seems to lean towards No! Back when this started it was posited that it spread through surface contact, and we went crazy sanitizing surfaces like crazy, but that didn't stop it. Then came the hypothesis that it was spread though respiratory droplets which can be reduced (though not completely eliminated) though the use of masks. Another study I read showed that respiratory droplets from just regular speaking or even singing won't travel far as they have little velocity to them so even without a mask unless someone in uncomfortably close it doesn't matter. That would only really come into play when coughing or sneezing where than can and do travel several feet, but when's the last time you had someone cough or sneeze in your face. Really even if this method of transmission were true masks aren't the answer. Common courtesy when coughing or sneezing would be. Also even in situations were masks are effective they are not one way blockers. They would block the droplets regardless of who is wearing it so the only remaining transmission would be between two people where neither of them are wearing one. Looking at death tolls, there has been no meaningful reduction even after introducing masks. And while not everyone is wearing masks, many prominent virologists have indicated we should see significant reduction with 80% or greater mask wearing, which has been going on without an such reduction. Perhaps its time for a new hypothesis about how it spreads. Now researchers are looking into whether or not it is airborne. That is not that it travels in respiratory droplets but it is a part of the air around us, like oxygen and CO2. If this proves to be the case a regular mask makes 0 difference, only a hazmat grade respirator would. Given the trends this is looking more and more plausible. The everyone should wear masks bit is more about giving people a false sense of security than being a meaningful action. Also there are those with medical conditions, like asthma, that make breathing with a mask on way more difficult. Even for someone without asthma it can be difficult for someone not used to wearing a mask normally like doctors are. But also let's consider the mortality rate as a percentage of actual infections. It's hard to pin-point since we don't know how many actual infections there are but there is strong reason to belive it is below 0.5%. I for one prefer that to a pandemic of something more serious like Ebola. So lets just keep calm. Near the end of April I read an article comparing COVID to other types of deaths in 2020, at that time chocking caused more total deaths than COVID did. Not sure if those numbers have held but likely so. People hear the word "Pandemic" and freak out, the Mainstream Media does not help! A pandemic merely refers to how wide-spread it is not how deadly it is or anything of the sort. Moral of the story, keep calm, mask or no mask most likely makes little to no difference, and this is looking more and more true with more and more research that is being done. I imagine future generations will not be too kind when looking back on how we handled this.