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Full Guide to Wearing Face Masks

April 26, 2020 business

The New York Times and Washington Post have now come around to a place I advocated for here on Medium last week: We must always 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+ times day by day was 55% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was actually more efficient, reducing transmission by about 68%.

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

Read that again: 91% effective at stopping virus transmission.

COVID-19 and SARS are related types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it is smart 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 no matter’s driving 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 mask makes you more self-conscious of the fact that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and should you by chance do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.

Third, the experience of other international locations who masks show that masks work within the real world. In the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his recent Youtube video showing how some countries have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “For those who take a look at all the countries which have flat curves, they are nations where mask-wearing is extraordinarily regular, and NOT wearing a masks in places like public transport can be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks usage 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 government didn’t give them out.

In case you still should be persuaded, check out this Chinese research of an area outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual 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 the place folks were 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 would find them now. Commercially made PPE ought 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 place of scarcity, is probably why we initially acquired this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, people just didn’t need you to comprehend it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where toilet paper used to live, and you perceive why.

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

While it’s finest if the mask suits well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t surrender on your homemade masks should you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will maintain you from touching the skin around your nose and mouth directly, which could grow to be a very powerful mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In case 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 using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. A very powerful thing is that you wash your palms, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.

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