Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

The New York Occasions and Washington Post have now come around to a position I advocated for here on Medium last week: We should always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. Each time we go out in public.


Because they work.

Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing palms 10+ times day by day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was actually more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.

Combining a number of forms of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was ninety one% effective.

Read that again: 91% effective at stopping virus transmission.

COVID-19 and SARS are similar types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense that what works to stop transmission for one will work to stop transmission of the other.

Masks work, first, because they are a physical barrier to whatever’s using along on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Right here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for varied supplies:

Secondly, they work because they keep you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-aware of the fact that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas around them- and if you happen to unintentionally do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.

Third, the expertise of different international locations who mask show that masks work within the real world. Within the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his recent Youtube video showing how some countries have successfully „flattened the curve“ on new infections: „In case you look at all of the international locations which have flat curves, they’re international locations where masks-wearing is extraordinarily regular, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport would be considered anti-social.“ He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks usage to a hundred% in 10 days, and in the process they halted the growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the government didn’t give them out.

Should you nonetheless have to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of an area outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn’t interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom were seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus 30 minutes after the original sick particular person had left the bus. NONE OF THE PEOPLE WEARING MASKS WERE INFECTED. Read the article, it’s very detailed, with a schematic of exactly where individuals were sitting on the bus.

So let’s say you’re convinced, and now you’re thinking of some type of face covering. What are your options?

First, please don’t purchase masks commercially, if by some miracle you can discover them now. Commercially made PPE needs to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, the shortage of commercially made PPE, and the dearth of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of shortage, is probably why we initially received this messaging of „Masks don’t work!“ They do, folks just didn’t want you to realize it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where rest room paper used to live, and also you understand why.

The best thing you can do to mask NOW are to use materials around the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.

While it’s greatest if the masks matches well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up on your homemade mask in case you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which may grow to be crucial mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In the event you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.

You can try to form your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nostril to make a tighter match — experiment. Crucial thing is that you just wash your fingers, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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