Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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

Why?

Because they work.

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

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

Read that again: ninety one% 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’re a physical barrier to no matter’s using alongside on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for varied materials:

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 the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and if you happen to by accident do, you’ll contact the masks, not your skin directly.

Third, the experience of other countries 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 latest Youtube video showing how some countries have efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “In case you have a look at all the nations which have flat curves, they’re nations where 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 utilization 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.

In the event you nonetheless have to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of a neighborhood outbreak case on January 22 throughout 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 half-hour 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 exactly the place people had 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 may discover them now. Commercially made PPE needs to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the lack of foresight that caused us to be in such a position of shortage, is probably why we initially obtained this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, of us just didn’t need you to understand it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where rest room paper used to live, and you understand why.

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

While it’s best if the masks matches well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade mask when you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will preserve you from touching the skin around your nose and mouth directly, which may become crucial mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you happen to inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.

You’ll be able to try to form your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. The most important thing is that you just wash your hands, put on your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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