Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

The New York Instances and Washington Post have now come round to a position I advocated for right here on Medium final week: We should all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. Whenever we exit in public.
Why?
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ occasions each day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was truly more effective, reducing transmission by about 68%.
Combining multiple forms of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and one other 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 sensible that what works to cease 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 various supplies:

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 the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas around them- and should you by accident do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of other international locations 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 latest Youtube video showing how some international locations have efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “For those who look at all the nations which have flat curves, they’re international locations where mask-wearing is extremely regular, and NOT wearing a masks in places like public transport can be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero mask usage 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 federal government didn’t give them out.

For those who still have to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of a neighborhood outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick particular person on the bus who did not work together with anybody spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom have been seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour 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 exactly where folks 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. Unfortunately, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the dearth of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of scarcity, is probably why we initially got this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, folks just didn’t need you to understand it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets across America the place toilet paper used to live, and you understand why.
The simplest thing you are able to do to masks NOW are to use materials around the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nostril and stays in place will work.

While it’s finest if the mask matches well and there are no gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t surrender in your homemade masks if you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin round your nose and mouth directly, which could change into the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. When you inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.
You’ll be able to attempt to shape your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the half that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. A very powerful thing is that you simply wash your hands, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks