An ICU doctor in Yorkshire ran 22 miles (35 kilometers) to work and back while wearing a face mask, to debunk some myths about masks and raise money for charity in the process.
Tom Lawton, a doctor who has worked at the Bradford Royal Infirmary throughout the coronavirus pandemic, says he’s seen ‘the worst of what coronavirus can do’ to people, including young adults in their 20s and 30s.
In order to help stop the spread of misinformation surrounding face masks, especially the misconception that they limit oxygen levels, Lawton decided to take matters into his own hands.
Running the 22 miles from his home to his place of work and back, all while wearing a face mask, Lawton not only proved masks do not block oxygen, but has so far raised more than £1,600 (approx $2000) for the Trussell Trust, a food-bank charity working to stop hunger and poverty in the UK.
“I’ve done this because, working on ICU and in the hospital, I’ve seen some of the worst of what this virus can do – even to people in their 20s and 30s. I don’t think there’s a single magic bullet that will fix this but a whole series of things we can do which play a small part each,” the doctor told in The Yorkshire Post.
“One of those, and one of the easiest, is probably wearing masks. So it upsets me to see misinformation about oxygen levels etc that might scare people away from them.”
Lawton kept his mask on for the entire run, almost the distance of a whole marathon, and didn’t even remove it for food or water. Using a SATS meter, the doctor said that ‘oxygen levels were stubbornly 98%’ every time he checked them, and in total, he breathed enough oxygen ‘for about 10 calm people’.
Lawton explained he’d not run in a mask before, but was confident in ‘medical and physiology training’, so he knew what he was doing.
The doctor spoke about the charity of his choice, saying: “The choice of the Trussell Trust for fundraising was because they run the main food banks I’m aware of in Bradford, and many nationally.”
“They were already needed too much prior to 2020, and the pandemic has made things worse for so many people – I’ve seen reports on how many children don’t have enough to eat right now so I feel it’s something really important to try to help.”
Not only the doctor did run to work and back, but in between he worked his full shift at the hospital, treating patients while also wearing a mask.
Taking to Twitter after the run, the doctor hoped his efforts had proven masks are safe and very important right now, adding: “Please feel free to cite this when anyone suggests they’re bad for you, and stay safe – and COVID-free.”
“If I can run 16-21 miles masked, you can probably make it round the shops.”