Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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


Because they work.

Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing palms 10+ times daily was 55% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a masks was truly more effective, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.

Combining a number of types of protection — hand washing, masks wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.

Read that once more: 91% efficient 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 driving along on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Right here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for varied materials:

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

Third, the expertise of different nations who masks 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 efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “If you look at all of the nations which have flat curves, they’re countries the place masks-wearing is extremely normal, and NOT wearing a masks 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 in the process they halted the growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the federal government didn’t give them out.

When you still must be persuaded, check out this Chinese research of a neighborhood outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn’t work together with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom were seated a lot 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 kind of face covering. What are your options?

First, please don’t buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you possibly can find 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 position of shortage, is probably why we initially got this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, folks just didn’t need you to know it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where bathroom paper used to live, and also you understand why.

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

While it’s greatest if the mask suits well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up on your homemade mask when you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin around your nose and mouth directly, which may develop into an important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you happen to inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.

You can attempt to shape your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the half that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. A very powerful thing is that you wash your palms, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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