Joseph Mercola carefully reviews the science concerning face masks. From Mercola at lewrockwell.com:
The question of whether we should wear face masks or not to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a hotly contested issue. Part of the confusion may be related to the difference between viral particles spread via respiratory droplets, and viral particles spread via the air itself.
I believe it’s important to realize the difference between these two modes of transmission, and to not overestimate the protection you can get or give others by wearing a mask.
The science1,2 clearly shows face coverings of various kinds do little if anything to prevent respiratory illnesses caused by aerosolized viruses. Many health authorities still insist that something is better than nothing, though, since they do inhibit the dissemination of viral-laden respiratory droplets.
But influenza viruses — coronaviruses that cause the common cold and SARS-CoV-2 — all spread via the air, not just via droplets or touching contaminated surfaces, and it’s important to realize that preventing droplet contamination does not mean you also prevent the transmission of the aerosolized virus. (The aerosol part of transmission is regrettably overlooked in the video above, which reviews a number of problems with mandatory mask recommendations.)