The New York Times 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, however ALL of us. Every time we go out in public.
Because they work.
Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ instances every day was fifty five% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was truly more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.
Combining a number of types of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and another layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.
Read that once more: ninety one% effective at stopping virus transmission.
COVID-19 and SARS are related types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it is sensible that what works to stop transmission for one will work to cease transmission of the other.
Masks work, first, because they are a physical barrier to no matter’s riding alongside on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for varied supplies:
Secondly, they work because they maintain you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-aware of the truth that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and for those who by chance do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of other countries who masks show that masks work within the real world. Within the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his current Youtube video showing how some international locations have successfully «flattened the curve» on new infections: «Should you take a look at all of the international locations which have flat curves, they are international locations where 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 masks usage to 100% in 10 days, and in the process they halted the growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the government didn’t give them out.
Should you still need to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of an area outbreak case on January 22 during 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 had been seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the unique 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 exactly the place people had been sitting on the bus.
So let’s say you’re satisfied, and now you’re thinking of some type of face covering. What are your options?
First, please don’t purchase 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 shortage of commercially made PPE, and the lack 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 understand it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets throughout America the place rest room paper used to live, and you perceive why.
The best thing you can do to masks NOW are to use materials across the house. Get artistic; 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 hand over in your homemade mask if you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will preserve you from touching the skin around your nose and mouth directly, which could transform the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In case you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just contact the masks, not your skin.
You may try to shape your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the half that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. The most important thing is that you simply wash your arms, put in your face covering, and exit of the house protected.
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