The New York Times and Washington Post have now come around to a position I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We should always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, however ALL of us. At any time when we exit in public.
Because they work.
Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing fingers 10+ instances every day was 55% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was really more efficient, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.
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: ninety one% effective at stopping virus transmission.
COVID-19 and SARS are comparable types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense that what works to cease transmission for one will work to stop transmission of the other.
Masks work, first, because they are a physical barrier to whatever’s driving alongside on that air you’re breathing or moving through. Here’s a chart showing the relative barrier effectiveness for numerous supplies:
Secondly, they work because they maintain you from touching your face all day long. The mask 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 around them- and for those who accidentally do, you’ll contact the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the experience of different countries 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 countries have successfully "flattened the curve" on new infections: "For those who have a look at all of the nations which have flat curves, they are nations the place masks-wearing is extremely regular, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport can 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 growth of new covid-19 cases. The Czechs made their own masks- the government didn’t give them out.
In case you still must be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of an area outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual on the bus who did not work together with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, some of whom have been seated much 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 precisely the place folks had 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 place of scarcity, is probably why we initially received this messaging of "Masks don’t work!" They do, people just didn’t need you to comprehend it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets across America where rest room paper used to live, and also you perceive why.
The simplest thing you can do to masks NOW are to make use of materials across the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.
While it’s best if the mask suits well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade masks for those who can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which might turn out to be the most important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. For those who inadvertently touch your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just contact 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 part that goes over your nose to make a tighter fit — experiment. An important thing is that you just wash your palms, put on your face covering, and exit of the house protected.
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