Doctor runs 22 miles while wearing a face mask — to prove they’re safe

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Doctor runs 22 miles while wearing a face mask — to prove they’re safe

Wyatte Grantham-Philips
USA TODAY

Published 10:18 AM EDT Aug 14, 2020

To prove face coverings are safe and don’t harm oxygen levels, a British doctor ran 22.6 miles in a mask.

On July 20, Dr. Tom Lawton, a critical care doctor, researcher and triathlete in the U.K., ran 8 miles to work and then over 14 miles after work, all while wearing his cloth mask.

And with every breath? His oxygen levels were at 98% for the entire trek. Any percentage above 95% is considered normal.

Lawton got the idea after seeing misinformation by mask critics online. He wanted to set the record straight.

“Please feel free to cite this when anyone suggests [masks are] bad for you, and stay safe — and COVID-free,” he wrote on Twitter.

Lawton announced the start of his masked runs on a GoFundMe he created July 18, urging supporters to wear masks indoors and aid a charity that supports food banks across the U.K.

“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,” he wrote. “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!).”

“If I can run 16-21 miles masked, you can probably make it round the shops.”

Public health care experts across the globe have maintained the importance of wearing masks for the prevention of coronavirus spread. 

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” stated CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield in a July press release.

“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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In the first week of August, the World Health Organization launched a mask challenge with partners across the globe to encourage the usage of face coverings.

“As well as being one of the key tools to stop the virus, the mask has come to represent solidarity,” stated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, August 3.

More: World Mask Week movement launches to encourage use of face coverings to slow COVID-19 spread

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