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Complete Guide to Wearing Face Masks

The New York Times and Washington Post have now come around to a place I advocated for right here on Medium final week: We should always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, however ALL of us. At any time when we go out in public.


Because they work.

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

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

Read that again: ninety one% efficient at stopping virus transmission.

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

Masks work, first, because they’re a physical barrier to no matter’s riding along on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for varied materials:

Secondly, they work because they preserve you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-aware of the fact that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas around them- and if you by accident do, you’ll contact the masks, not your skin directly.

Third, the experience of different nations 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 recent Youtube video showing how some international locations have successfully «flattened the curve» on new infections: «If you have a look at all of the countries which have flat curves, they’re international locations where masks-wearing is extraordinarily normal, 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 usage to a hundred% in 10 days, and in the process they halted the growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the federal government didn’t give them out.

In case you still must be persuaded, check out this Chinese study of a local outbreak case on January 22 throughout the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn’t work together with anybody spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom were seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the unique 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 were sitting on the bus.

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

First, please don’t buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you could find them now. Commercially made PPE needs to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, 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 got this messaging of «Masks don’t work!» They do, folks just didn’t want you to comprehend it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets across America the place rest room paper used to live, and you perceive why.

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

While it’s greatest if the masks matches well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade masks in the event you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which might change into an important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you happen to inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just contact the mask, not your skin.

You’ll be able to try to form your face covering using 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 simply wash your palms, put in your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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