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Complete Guide to Wearing Face Masks

April 26, 2020 business

The New York Times and Washington Post have now come round to a position I advocated for here on Medium final week: We should all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. Whenever we go out in public.


Because they work.

Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ times every day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a masks was really more efficient, reducing transmission by about 68%.

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: ninety one% efficient at stopping virus transmission.

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

Masks work, first, because they’re a physical barrier to whatever’s using along on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for various materials:

Secondly, they work because they preserve you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-aware of the truth that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas round them- and in case you accidentally do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.

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

If you happen to still have to be persuaded, check out this Chinese study of a local outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick individual on the bus who did not interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom had been seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus half-hour after the original 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 precisely where individuals were sitting on the bus.

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

First, please don’t purchase masks commercially, if by some miracle you could possibly discover them now. Commercially made PPE should 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 scarcity, is probably why we initially received this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, folks just didn’t need you to know it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets across America where toilet paper used to live, and you perceive why.

The best thing you are able to do to mask NOW are to use supplies around the house. Get artistic; anything that covers the mouth and nostril and stays in place will work.

While it’s best if the mask matches well and there are no gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t hand over on your homemade mask if you happen to can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin round your nostril and mouth directly, which could turn into a very powerful mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In the event you inadvertently touch 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 utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the part that goes over your nose to make a tighter fit — experiment. Crucial thing is that you simply wash your palms, put on your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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