https://twitter.com/richdavisphd/status/1276629364067536897 This is a visual (but non scientific) demonstration of the benefit of masks. Social distancing is more effective, but where it isn't possible a mask has benefits, have you tried spitting with one on?
The virus particles don't travel on their own, they travel on droplets of water in your breath.
There is a big difference between that ad-hoc scientific demonstration of one professional scientist and what happens when you make something *public policy*.
Most people who wear masks do so incorrectly and without the hygiene controls for them to be properly effective. Most people are not sneezing or coughing into other people's faces, but they are using masks as - what they believe to be - protection when dealing with people face to face, talking to them, and socialising. However, you can see from that study there's quite a lot of droplet transmission even through a disposable clinical mask, and that's only from a single minute of talking to someone!
Aerosol transmission is still not especially well understood by anyone, so the only thing we can have a look at is the effect on cases in England. Since the mask mandate was lifted, the case number has fallen significantly every single day, and we are now 10 days into "no mask" policy and still the cases keep on falling. Masks were made mandatory on 14 July 2020 a date which saw pretty much record low cases at the time, yet cases rose afterwards, the masks didn't protect us from a severe second or third case wave.
Banning something, or mandating it, does not always produce the expected outcomes, even if you can replicate a physical demonstration in a one-off study.