Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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


Because they work.

Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ instances 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, masks wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.

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

COVID-19 and SARS are comparable types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it is smart that what works to stop 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 varied supplies:

Secondly, they work because they hold you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-acutely aware of the truth that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and when you accidentally do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.

Third, the expertise of different international locations who masks show that masks work in the real world. In 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: “If you happen to have a look at all of the countries which have flat curves, they’re international locations where mask-wearing is extraordinarily normal, 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 a hundred% in 10 days, and within the process they halted the growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the government didn’t give them out.

If you nonetheless need to be persuaded, check out this Chinese examine of a local outbreak case on January 22 through the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual on the bus who did not 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 unique 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 have been 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 buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you might find them now. Commercially made PPE ought to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the shortage of foresight that caused us to be in such a position of shortage, is probably why we initially bought this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, of us 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 across America the place bathroom paper used to live, and you understand why.

The easiest thing you are able to do to mask NOW are to make use of supplies around the house. Get creative; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.

While it’s finest if the masks matches well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t surrender in your homemade masks in the event you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which could develop into crucial mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you happen to inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just contact the masks, not your skin.

You can attempt to form your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the half that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. An important thing is that you just wash your arms, put in your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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