Man Uses Blowtorch for Scorching-Hot COVID-19 Mask Effectiveness Demo

A man performed a scorching demo of COVID-19 transmission with a 'coronavirus gun,' masks off.
Brad Bergan

A man gave a scathing performance of mask effectiveness in his backyard using two mannequin heads, two masks, a propane torch, and a camera, according to a recent video posted to YouTube on Tuesday.


Man Uses Blowtorch for Scorching-Hot COVID-19 Mask Effectiveness Demo
The man simulates a cough full of coronavirus particles from a short distance. Source: Uncle Rob / YouTube

Man gives scorching-hot demo, masks versus COVID-19

Known as "Uncle Rob" by his fans, the YouTuber carried out a unique science experiment on mask effectiveness amid the COVID-19 crisis to hyperbolically demonstrate how easy it is to transmit coronavirus particles when we don't wear masks.

"Today we're going to figure out definitively if these masks work or not," he said at the start of the video.

He simulated coughs at varying distances of eight, six, four, and two feet away — by connecting a propane canister with spray-trigger to the back of a mannequin. He simulates a cough by pulling the trigger.

Man Uses Blowtorch for Scorching-Hot COVID-19 Mask Effectiveness Demo
We have to imagine this fatal burn as a cloud of coronavirus particles.Source: Uncle Rob / YouTube

Proving COVID-19 transmission with 'coronavirus gun'

The YouTuber begins by spewing beer from eight feet away to simulate a cough or a sneeze. Not precisely scientific, but it's effective enough. Then he uses a spray-paint can and isopropyl alcohol — both of which fall short.

His "ether test" sprays about as far as his "sneeze-cough-spit" demonstration. So he cuts out the interior of a mannequin head to fit a starter fluid spray with a spray-paint handle attached. Inserting into the back of the mannequin, he readies to use it as a "coronavirus gun."

6 feet confirmed minimum safe distance from COVID-19

He then strapped a propane torch to a stake, placing it just in front of the mannequin's face, lighting it — "so we can test whether the masks work or not." In other words, if the flammable gas he sprays out of the "coronavirus gun" ignite from the open propane tank, it means the mannequin on the right is now the unlucky host to coronavirus infection.

Alternating mask-on or -off from eight and six feet away provides no evidence of danger — from fire or coronavirus — to the mannequin. However, from four feet away and closer, it seems the flame ignites the flammable gas shot maniacally out by the YouTuber's "coronavirus gun."

While many experiments have already demonstrated the dangers of proximity and possible coronavirus transmission — none have made the point feel like such a burn on those who think the masks aren't needed. All we can say is: if you don't want to burn other people, consider wearing a mask.

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