Everything in Particular


This week we introduce ourselves and the blog, discuss viral dosage, and talk about the reliability of COVID testing.

About the Blog

For the last few months, I've found myself thinking about what I can offer that would help people. I am so proud of the company I co-founded and grateful to be able to provide products and services that are making a difference in people's lives, but it's also important to help in ways that are non-transactional.

One thing I can offer for free is my knowledge. Before I made Puraka Masks my full time gig, I worked for ten years as a compliance attorney, specializing in risk management, product safety and international trade. This taught me a lot about assessing real risk in the context of everyday activities. I also spend a considerable amount of time everyday thinking and learning about how masks and filters can keep us healthy. This is partly because my job (and my customers) demand it, but also because of interest stoked by personal experience working as an English teacher in Japan more than a decade ago, and being fascinated by the fact that my students would regularly show up to class wearing masks if they happened to have a cold.

The goal of this blog is to package some of the knowledge I've been able to accumulate in a format that can hopefully be beneficial to people like you who are doing their best to stay healthy, informed and aware of how a personal decision like wearing a mask can impact the society we all live in together. I'm looking forward to taking this journey with you, and if you know others who would appreciate this type of content, please send them the signup link by clicking the "share" button below.

Thank you!

Aaron Ansel
Owner & Co-Founder, Puraka Masks

Viral Dosage

Early in the current pandemic, one of the most confusing things we observed was the disproportionate number of young and health medical professionals were succumbing to the disease. In April, scientists and doctors began to speculate this was due to viral dosage, a well-known but little-discussed correlation between the amount of virions you are initially exposed to, and the eventual severity of the disease.

By May, the medical community largely was in agreement that the initial dosage of SARS-CoV-2 impacted both transmissibility and outcome. At the same time, it was also becoming clear that once someone is infected, an asymptomatic person can expel just as many virus particulates as someone who is severely ill.

The combination of these two facts explains in a nutshell why masks are so important for defeating COVID. If a visibly healthy person can spread the same amount of virus as someone who is seriously ill, it's critical for everyone to wear masks to protect their communities. On the receiving end, a greater number of airborne particulates captured by your mask and filter may equate to a lower likelihood of acquiring a serious infection.



Puraka has partnered with an exclusive provider of peer-reviewed breaking medical news to offer our readers new content on COVID-19, updated every month. This week we are featuring highlights from an article on the reliability of COVID-19 testing.

Labs that are testing for COVID-19 rely on what's called a PCR test, a slow and complex molecular scan that looks for the genetic material of coronavirus in samples that boasts very high accuracy.

A negative result on this test shows there's probably something other than COVID-19 wrong with you, said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, chair of clinical microbiology with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

However, there is a chance that you might have gotten a false negative, experts added. The exact accuracy of PCR tests has been tough to pin down. According to Dr. Robert Schmerling reporting in Harvard Health Publishing, "the reported rate of false negatives is as low as 2% and as high as 37%. The reported rate of false positives -- that is, a test that says you have the virus when you actually do not -- is 5% or lower."

"If a COVID-19 test is negative, then specific testing for influenza will also need to be performed," Binnicker said. "If the results are negative for these viruses and the patient continues to be ill, a repeat COVID-19 test can be appropriate. As patients enter into the second week of illness, a lower respiratory sample (e.g., like sputum) is preferred over an upper respiratory swab to increase the likelihood of detecting SARS-CoV-2 during the later stages of disease."

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