For eleven years I worked in numerous laboratories including two that dealt with really nasty bacteria as well as viruses.
I am certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MT) and have my degree.
One thing that we were always taught was that surgical masks were not effective against viruses. We had complete suits for viruses that included a hood, and a respirator that looked like a fancy gas mask.
Package inserts for surgical masks actually state that they are not to be used in viral infected environments.
Cloth masks are definitely not effective against a virus as they have holes far larger than even the surgical masks.
But, go ahead and wear one if it makes you feel better.
Just don't demand I do the same.
For most of my life I've periodically had to attend business dinners that I'd rather skip. Instead of participating in the conversation I've mostly spent time observing other people as they carried on conversations back and forth across the table. Some of those people had spittle flying out of their mouths like it was shot from a water cannon. Absolutely disgusting. All over the table and anyone who they happened to turn towards.
This is the kind of stuff a mask catches----when worn by the spitter.
With due regard for your training, you're comparing apples and oranges. You're talking about pathogens in a lab environment and the professional quality equipment necessary to completely stop them. You're talking about stopping 100% of everything right down to minuscule virus particles.
No one is claiming a cheap cloth mask does this. But they can stop some stuff. How many virus particles does it take to create a sustainable infection? For which age group? With which comorbidities? If a mask can intercept droplets of liquid that contain particles before they get sprayed on another person, is that not a step in the right direction?
Of course the packages contain disclaimers. So do plastic bags with warnings telling people not to put them over their heads. Lawyers. And still some people try to eat Tide Pods.
I wish the spitters at those tables had been wearing masks.
People shouldn't need to be ordered to wear a mask. A suggestion, combined with their own common sense, should be sufficient.
Someone commented: ".....and people choosing not to wear masks is just their way of showing their disdain." Apparently carrying their cojones around in a wheelbarrow is more important to them than adopting minor social practices aimed at promoting the common good. SMH.
Now there's a "novel" concept.