The New York Instances and Washington Post have now come around to a position I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We should all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. Each time we go out in public.
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ instances each day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was really more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.
Combining a number of forms of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and another layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.
Read that once more: 91% efficient at stopping virus transmission.
COVID-19 and SARS are similar types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense 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 whatever’s riding alongside on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Right here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for numerous materials:
Secondly, they work because they hold 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, nostril, and eyes, and the areas round them- and when you accidentally do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of different 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 recent Youtube video showing how some nations have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “In case you have a look at all the nations which have flat curves, they are international locations where 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 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 federal government didn’t give them out.
If you happen to nonetheless should be persuaded, check out this Chinese research of an area outbreak case on January 22 through the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn’t interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom have been seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the original 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 the place people have been sitting on the bus.
So let’s say you’re convinced, and now you’re thinking of some form of face covering. What are your options?
First, please don’t buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you possibly can find them now. Commercially made PPE ought to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the scarcity 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, folks just didn’t need you to realize it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America the place toilet paper used to live, and you understand why.
The best thing you can do to mask NOW are to use supplies around the house. Get artistic; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.
While it’s finest if the masks matches well and there are no gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t quit on your homemade mask if you happen to can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin round your nose and mouth directly, which could develop into an important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. Should you inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just touch the masks, not your skin.
You may attempt to form your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the half that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. Crucial thing is that you wash your palms, put on your face covering, and go out of the house protected.
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