We all agree that we need to save both lives and livelihoods during this pandemic. A year ago, these were competing goals. Well, not anymore. Today, we know more. Now, we know we can do more with better practices.

Let me state at the outset that I am not against air purifiers. I use them myself. I have a wearable one given to me last Christmas. And we have a number of air purifiers at home as well as at our place of business.

Air purifiers, however, while effective in protecting against viruses, bacteria, mold spores, dust, pollen, smoke and other allergens, have no proven efficacy against the coronavirus. They are also not created equal. Some are definitely better than others.

If you wish to buy them as an additional layer of protection, go ahead, but know that they are not magic bullets against the coronavirus.

But at a time of great economic hardship and uncertainty, it doesn’t seem prudent for businesses and employees to be required to use their limited financial resources to invest in devices that have no proven efficacy and are in fact, not endorsed by health authorities.

Yes, they come at different price points. But the low-priced ones might actually not do the work you expect them to do so that buying them might just be a waste of money.

While I appreciate the presence of air purifiers with HEPA filters in places I go to, I fear that requiring businesses to install these additional safety features in their establishments might actually push them to illiquidity and hasten their demise.

Wearable purifiers, on the other hand, do not protect the public. They only protect the wearer so their use should be voluntary as not wearing them harms no one.

In contrast, not wearing masks harms the public. Masks have been proven to reduce the spread of coronavirus infection and protect not just the wearer but everyone else around them.

The cost of masks has gone down considerably. And with the influx of good-quality reusable masks in the market, why not strictly enforce the proper wearing of masks, instead?

Yes. If we can, we should make use of as many layers of protection as possible. However, in light of the dire financial situation that many of us are in, today, it might prove onerous to mandate the use of air purifiers.

We should do all we can to save lives and livelihoods. But some ways are more practical, like masking. Some cost nothing. Like physical distancing. And some are actually scientifically proven to significantly reduce the risk of disease and death. Like vaccines.

There are no more queues at our vax sites. Vaccines are available. And you know the best part? They’re free. Why don’t we mandate vaccination, instead? After all, not getting vaccinated actually harms others.