The New York Times and Washington Post have now come round to a position I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We must always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. Whenever we go out in public.
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ instances each day was fifty five% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was truly more efficient, reducing transmission by about 68%.
Combining a number of types of protection — hand washing, masks wearing, gloves, and another 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 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 whatever’s riding alongside on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Right here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for various supplies:
Secondly, they work because they maintain you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-acutely aware of the truth that you’re not supposed to the touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas round them- and for those who unintentionally do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the experience of different international locations who masks show that masks work in the real world. Within 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 happen to have a look at all of the international locations which have flat curves, they’re nations the place mask-wearing is extraordinarily normal, and NOT wearing a mask 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 in 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.
Should you still need to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese research 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 work together with anybody 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 unique 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 folks have been sitting on the bus.
So let’s say you’re convinced, and now you’re thinking of some sort of face covering. What are your options?
First, please don’t buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you may discover them now. Commercially made PPE must be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, the shortage of commercially made PPE, and the dearth of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of scarcity, is probably why we initially received this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, folks just didn’t need you to comprehend it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets throughout America where bathroom paper used to live, and you understand why.
The simplest thing you are able to do to masks NOW are to use materials across the house. Get artistic; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.
While it’s finest if the masks fits well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up on your homemade mask for those who can’t achieve that. Any face covering will hold you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which may become the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In the event you inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.
You may attempt to shape your face covering using 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 wash your fingers, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.
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