The New York Instances and Washington Post have now come around to a place I advocated for here on Medium final week: We must always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, however ALL of us. Each time we exit in public.
Because they work.
Research from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ occasions each day was 55% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was actually more effective, 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 similar types of viruses (coronaviruses), and it makes sense that what works to stop transmission for one will work to cease 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 keep you from touching your face all day long. The mask makes you more self-conscious of the fact that you’re not supposed to touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas around them- and in case you accidentally do, you’ll touch the masks, not your skin directly.
Third, the expertise of different countries who masks show that masks work within the real world. Within the words of Jeremy Howard, researcher and Masks4All activist, explaining a chart in his latest Youtube video showing how some countries have efficiently "flattened the curve" on new infections: "When you take a look at all the international locations which have flat curves, they are countries where mask-wearing is extremely normal, and NOT wearing a mask in places like public transport would be considered anti-social." He notes that the Czech Republic went from zero mask 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 government didn’t give them out.
If you nonetheless need to be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese examine of a local outbreak case on January 22 throughout the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A sick particular person on the bus who did not 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 unique 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 individuals were sitting on the bus.
So let’s say you’re satisfied, 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 might find them now. Commercially made PPE needs to be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Sadly, the scarcity of commercially made PPE, and the dearth of foresight that caused us to be in such a place of shortage, is probably why we initially bought 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 also you understand why.
The easiest thing you are able to do to masks NOW are to use supplies across the house. Get inventive; anything that covers the mouth and nose and stays in place will work.
While it’s greatest if the masks matches well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t surrender in your homemade mask if you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will keep you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which might transform a very powerful mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. If you happen to inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a masks, you’ll just touch the mask, not your skin.
You can try to form your face covering utilizing pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips in the half that goes over your nostril to make a tighter fit — experiment. The most important thing is that you simply wash your fingers, put on your face covering, and go out of the house protected.
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