ICU doctor runs 35 kilometres wearing face mask to disprove false claims

TORONTO — An ICU doctor in the United Kingdom decided to prove that it’s possible to do most activities while wearing a face mask, even going on a 35-kilometre run during a humid summer day.

Tom Lawton from Bradford, U.K. said he wanted to disprove false information he had read online that incorrectly suggested wearing a mask somehow hinders a person’s oxygen levels.

“I work in intensive care, I know physiology so I knew that this wasn’t true,” he told CTV News Channel in an interview Saturday.

“So I thought how can I demonstrate it? How can I reassure people who would like to do their bit and wear a mask but are scared?”

Lawton decided to run to work with a face mask while carrying a pulse oximeter, which would measure his oxygen levels throughout the run.

He said anything above 95 per cent would be considered a normal oxygen level. After checking every half hour during his run, he found that his oxygen levels remained normal throughout his trek.

“They were 98 to 99 all the time, completely normal oxygen levels all the way,” he said.

While he admits the mask was uncomfortable to wear while running — especially after it became sweaty — he wants to assure others that wearing a face mask won’t decrease oxygen levels, no matter the activity.

“It’s certainly unpleasant and I feel for the people who don’t like wearing them, but this is one of the things that’s going to help us,” Lawton said.

He hopes his experiment proves to others that face masks aren’t harmful and will help further stop the spread of COVID-19.

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