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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 last week: We must always 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.

Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing fingers 10+ times each day was fifty five% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was really more effective, reducing transmission by about 68%.

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

Read that once more: ninety one% effective at stopping virus transmission.

COVID-19 and SARS are similar types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense that what works to cease transmission for one will work to stop transmission of the other.

Masks work, first, because they’re 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 various supplies:

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

Third, the experience of different nations who mask show that masks work within the real world. In the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his recent Youtube video showing how some countries have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “When you look at all of the nations which have flat curves, they are countries 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 utilization to a hundred% in 10 days, and within 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 must be persuaded, check out this Chinese examine of a neighborhood outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual on the bus who did not work together with anybody spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom had been seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the original 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 exactly the place folks were 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 would discover them now. Commercially made PPE should 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 position of shortage, is probably why we initially received this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, folks just didn’t want you to know it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets throughout America the place bathroom paper used to live, and you perceive why.

The simplest thing you are able to 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 finest if the mask suits well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t hand over in your homemade masks if you happen to can’t achieve that. Any face covering will maintain you from touching the skin round your nostril and mouth directly, which might become crucial mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In case you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.

You possibly can try to shape your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in 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 on your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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A User’s Guide to Face Masks

Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks