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 exit in public.
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing hands 10+ occasions day by day was fifty five% efficient in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was actually more effective, reducing transmission by about sixty eight%.
Combining a number of types of protection — hand washing, mask wearing, gloves, and one other layer of outerwear (gowning) — was 91% effective.
Read that once more: 91% efficient at stopping virus transmission.
COVID-19 and SARS are similar 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’re a physical barrier to no matter’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 maintain you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-acutely aware of the fact that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nose, and eyes, and the areas round them- and should you accidentally do, you’ll touch the masks, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of different nations 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 recent Youtube video showing how some nations have successfully “flattened the curve” on new infections: “If you look at all the international locations which have flat curves, they are nations where masks-wearing is extremely regular, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport could be considered anti-social.” He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero masks utilization to a 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.
Should you nonetheless should be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of a local outbreak case on January 22 through the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick individual on the bus who didn’t interact with anybody spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom had been seated a lot more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus 30 minutes 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 where people 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 buy masks commercially, if by some miracle you can discover them now. Commercially made PPE ought to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the shortage of commercially made PPE, and the shortage of foresight that caused us to be in such a position of shortage, is probably why we initially bought this messaging of “Masks don’t work!” They do, of us just didn’t want you to realize it for a while, to keep away from a run on masks. Think of the empty shelves in supermarkets throughout America where rest room paper used to live, and you perceive why.
The simplest thing you are able to do to mask NOW are to make use of materials 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 matches well and there are no gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up on your homemade masks when you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will maintain you from touching the skin around your nose and mouth directly, which might develop into a very powerful 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 mask, not your skin.
You may try to form 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 match — experiment. A very powerful thing is that you wash your arms, put in your face covering, and go out of the house protected.