Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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

Why?

Because they work.

Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ times each day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a masks was truly more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.

Combining multiple types of protection — hand washing, masks wearing, gloves, and another layer of outerwear (gowning) — was ninety one% effective.

Read that once more: 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 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 numerous 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 fact that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas around them- and if you by accident do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.

Third, the experience of other countries who mask 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 international locations have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “In case you take a look at all of the nations which have flat curves, they are nations the place mask-wearing is extraordinarily normal, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport would be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero mask usage to a hundred% in 10 days, and in the process they halted the expansion of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the government didn’t give them out.

In the event you still should be persuaded, check out this Chinese research of a neighborhood outbreak case on January 22 through the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick person on the bus who didn’t work together with anybody spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom had been seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus 30 minutes after the unique 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 precisely where 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 buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you may discover them now. Commercially made PPE should be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the lack of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of shortage, is probably why we initially obtained this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, people just didn’t need you to know it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where bathroom paper used to live, and you understand why.

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

While it’s greatest if the masks suits well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade mask for those who can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin round your nose and mouth directly, which might turn out to be an important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. Should you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just contact the mask, not your skin.

You can attempt to form your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the part that goes over your nose to make a tighter fit — experiment. The most important thing is that you wash your palms, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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