Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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


Because they work.

Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ occasions every day was 55% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was really more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.

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

Read that again: 91% effective at stopping virus transmission.

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

Masks work, first, because they’re a physical barrier to whatever’s driving alongside 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 keep you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-conscious of the truth that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas around them- and in the event you by chance do, you’ll touch the masks, not your skin directly.

Third, the expertise of other international locations 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 international locations have efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “In the event you take a look at all the nations which have flat curves, they are international locations where masks-wearing is extremely 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 utilization to one 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.

Should you nonetheless need to be persuaded, check out this Chinese study of a local outbreak case on January 22 through the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick individual on the bus who didn’t interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom were seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus 30 minutes 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 where folks have been sitting on the bus.

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

First, please don’t purchase masks commercially, if by some miracle you could possibly find them now. Commercially made PPE must be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the shortage 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 realize it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets across America where bathroom paper used to live, and also you understand why.

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

While it’s greatest if the mask matches well and there are no gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t hand over in your homemade masks in case you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which may transform crucial mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. For those who inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just contact the masks, not your skin.

You may try to form your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the half that goes over your nostril to make a tighter match — experiment. Crucial thing is that you simply wash your palms, put in your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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