Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

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The New York Occasions and Washington Post have now come round to a position I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We should all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, however ALL of us. At any time when we go out in public.
Why?
Because they work.
Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ occasions daily was 55% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was really more effective, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.
Combining multiple forms of protection — hand washing, masks wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.
Read that once more: ninety one% efficient at stopping virus transmission.
COVID-19 and SARS are comparable types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense that what works to stop transmission for one will work to stop 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 supplies:

Secondly, they work because they keep you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-aware of the fact that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and for those who unintentionally do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise 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 international locations have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “When you look at all the countries which have flat curves, they are nations the place mask-wearing is extraordinarily regular, and NOT wearing a masks in places like public transport could be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero mask 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 still must be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese research of an area outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick person on the bus who did not 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 original sick person had left the bus. NONE OF THE PEOPLE WEARING MASKS WERE INFECTED. Read the article, it’s very detailed, with a schematic of precisely the place folks had been 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 buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you possibly can discover them now. Commercially made PPE ought to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, 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 acquired this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, people just didn’t want you to comprehend it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets across America the place rest room paper used to live, and you understand why.
The easiest thing you can do to masks NOW are to use materials across the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nostril and stays in place will work.

While it’s finest if the masks fits well and there aren’t any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t hand over on your homemade mask should you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which could turn out to be the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In the event you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.
You may attempt to shape your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the part that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. An important thing is that you just wash your palms, put on your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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