The New York Occasions 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, but ALL of us. Each time we go out in public.
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing palms 10+ times day by day was 55% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a masks was truly more efficient, reducing transmission by about 68%.
Combining a number of forms of protection — hand washing, masks 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 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 are a physical barrier to whatever’s riding 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 hold you from touching your face all day long. The masks makes you more self-conscious of the truth that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas round them- and when you by chance do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of other nations who masks show that masks work in the real world. In the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his latest Youtube video showing how some nations have efficiently "flattened the curve" on new infections: "When you look at all the nations which have flat curves, they are countries where masks-wearing is extraordinarily regular, and NOT wearing a masks in places like public transport would be considered anti-social." He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks utilization to 100% in 10 days, and in 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 nonetheless must be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese examine of a local outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn't interact 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 30 minutes after the original 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 where folks 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 could possibly discover them now. Commercially made PPE needs 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 position of shortage, is probably why we initially received this messaging of "Masks don’t work!" They do, of us just didn’t need you to understand it for a while, to avoid a run on masks. Think of the empty cabinets in supermarkets throughout America where bathroom paper used to live, and also you understand why.
The easiest thing you are able to do to masks NOW are to use supplies across the house. Get creative; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.
While it’s finest if the masks fits well and there aren't any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t quit on your homemade mask when you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will preserve you from touching the skin round your nose and mouth directly, which might turn into the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just contact the masks, not your skin.
You can try to shape your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the half that goes over your nose to make a tighter fit — experiment. The most important thing is that you just wash your palms, put on your face covering, and go out of the house protected.
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