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Very odd angle.. Seems to be written by someone with little on-the-ground experience. I can only speak from my experience in Hong Kong, where masks are worn when you've got a cold or flu to keep from infecting other people. Sure, ideally, sick people should be home in bed, but the pressure to work here is extreme, even when sick, so you'll often see offices full of hacking employees with surgical masks.

As for the pollution, the masks don't do any good at all and people know that. Go up to Beijing, for example, and the masks are mostly not surgical, but rather 3M pm2.5 filters.

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