Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

The New York Occasions and Washington Post have now come round to a position 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 go out in public.


Because they work.

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

Combining multiple types of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.

Read that once more: 91% effective at stopping virus transmission.

COVID-19 and SARS are similar 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 numerous materials:

Secondly, they work because they keep 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 round them- and in case you by accident do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.

Third, the expertise of different nations who masks show that masks work within the real world. In the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his current Youtube video showing how some nations have efficiently “flattened the curve” on new infections: “If you happen to have a look at all the countries which have flat curves, they’re nations the place mask-wearing is extremely normal, and NOT wearing a masks in places like public transport would be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks usage 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.

For those who nonetheless have to be persuaded, check out this Chinese research of a local outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick person on the bus who didn’t interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom were seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour 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 exactly where individuals were sitting on the bus.

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

First, please don’t purchase masks commercially, if by some miracle you could find them now. Commercially made PPE must be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the shortage of commercially made PPE, and the dearth 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, people just didn’t want you to realize it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets across America the place toilet paper used to live, and you understand why.

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

While it’s best if the masks suits well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up on your homemade mask in case you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will preserve you from touching the skin round your nostril and mouth directly, which could change into the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just touch the masks, not your skin.

You possibly can attempt to shape your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. An important thing is that you just wash your hands, put on your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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