Doctor runs 35km with face mask on to prove it doesn't interfere with breathing

PHOTO: Twitter/LawtonTri

The circuit breaker period not only turned many of us in Singapore into talented bakers, it also got people pounding the pavement in droves. 

Running has probably become Singaporeans’ favourite pastime during the circuit breaker period and now in phase 2. 

Besides being able to get some fresh air after being cooped up at home all day, running or jogging also grants us the reprieve from wearing masks when outdoors — due to exemptions granted to those engaged in strenuous exercise.

However, one doctor in the UK has sought to dispel the notion that wearing a mask reduces a person’s oxygen levels.

In media interviews, ICU doctor Tom Lawton said: "I work in intensive care, I know physiology so I knew that this wasn’t true."

He also indicated that he’d felt frustrated by the false information he had read online, including reports about people "dropping dead while wearing masks" and a post on Twitter that showed that blood oxygen levels would become low with a mask on, even if you were just sitting at a desk.

In an article for Newsweek on July 28, he wrote: “There are a lot of people out there who just don’t want to wear a mask and will find any excuse they can, but the people I’m more concerned about are people with respiratory illnesses, who would like to wear a mask, would like to do their bit, but are scared because there have been reports that it causes hypoxia [a condition where the body is deprived of oxygen]."

The former triathlete decided to run the more than half-marathon distance carrying an oxygen meter with him and documented his entire journey on Twitter. 

During his run, Lawton showed the camera that his “oxygen levels were stubbornly 98 percent" each time he checked, all the while keeping his three-layer cotton mask on. In his article, Lawton noted that four days after his run, mask use became compulsory in UK when in shops.

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