Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

The New York Instances and Washington Post have now come round to a place I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We should always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, however ALL of us. At any time when we go out in public.

Why?

Because they work.

Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ times daily was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a masks was actually more effective, reducing transmission by about 68%.

Combining multiple forms of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and another layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.

Read that again: ninety one% effective at stopping virus transmission.

COVID-19 and SARS are comparable types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it is sensible that what works to cease transmission for one will work to cease transmission of the other.

Masks work, first, because they are a physical barrier to no matter’s using along on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for various supplies:

Secondly, they work because they maintain you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-conscious of the truth that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas round them- and if you happen to unintentionally do, you’ll touch the masks, not your skin directly.

Third, the expertise of different countries who mask show that masks work in the real world. Within the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his latest Youtube video showing how some countries have efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “When you have a look at all the international locations which have flat curves, they’re international locations the place masks-wearing is extraordinarily regular, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport can be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks usage to 100% 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, check out this Chinese research of an area outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual on the bus who didn’t interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom were seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the original sick individual had left the bus. NONE OF THE PEOPLE WEARING MASKS WERE INFECTED. Read the article, it’s very detailed, with a schematic of precisely the place people had been sitting on the bus.

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

First, please don’t purchase masks commercially, if by some miracle you could possibly discover them now. Commercially made PPE must be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the shortage of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of shortage, is probably why we initially got 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 toilet paper used to live, and also you perceive why.

The easiest thing you can do to masks NOW are to make use of supplies across the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.

While it’s greatest if the masks fits well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade masks when you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin round your nose and mouth directly, which might become a very powerful mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. When you inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just contact the masks, not your skin.

You’ll be able to attempt to form your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. A very powerful thing is that you simply wash your hands, put on your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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