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The New York Instances and Washington Post have now come round to a position I advocated for right here on Medium last week: We should always all be wearing masks. Not just health care workers, but ALL of us. At any time when we exit in public.
Why?
Because they work.
Analysis from the SARS outbreak in 2003 shows that washing arms 10+ occasions day by day was fifty five% effective in stopping virus transmission; wearing a mask was truly 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: 91% 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 cease transmission of the other.
Masks work, first, because they're 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 various materials:

Secondly, they work because they hold 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 touch your face- specifically, your mouth, nostril, and eyes, and the areas around them- and should you accidentally do, you’ll touch the mask, not your skin directly.
Third, the experience 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 current Youtube video showing how some international locations have efficiently "flattened the curve" on new infections: "If you happen to have a look at all of the countries which have flat curves, they're nations the place masks-wearing is extremely 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 one 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 the event you still must be persuaded, take a look at this Chinese study of a local outbreak case on January 22 in the course of the peak Lunar New Year journey season. A sick particular person on the bus who didn't interact with anyone spread the virus to 7 others, a few of whom were seated much more than 6 ft away. Two new passengers caught the virus 30 minutes after the unique 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 exactly where people 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 might find them now. Commercially made PPE should be reserved for medical personnel at this time. Unfortunately, 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 acquired this messaging of "Masks don’t work!" They do, folks just didn’t need 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 toilet paper used to live, and also you understand why.
The simplest thing you can do to mask NOW are to use materials across the house. Get creative; anything that covers the mouth and nostril and stays in place will work.

While it’s finest if the mask matches well and there are not any gaps between your face and the outside air, don’t give up in your homemade masks if you can’t achieve that. Any face covering will preserve you from touching the skin around your nostril and mouth directly, which could become an important mechanism by which masks block virus transmission. In the event you inadvertently contact your face while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll just touch the masks, not your skin.
You can attempt to form your face covering using pipe cleaners or opened-up rubber-coated paper clips within the part that goes over your nose to make a tighter match — experiment. An important thing is that you simply wash your fingers, put in your face covering, and exit of the house protected.

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