In a world, social distancing, staying at home, plus practicing good hygiene would be sufficient to stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this is not whereby things are playing out. In response to the fast increase of COVID-19 cases, organizations & governments all over the world are setting new measures to assure those who are sick do not infect others plus those who are healthy stay that way.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) is holding to their original guidance stating only the who are sick or caring for them should wear face masks, government leaders in many countries disagree.
Evidence for Effectiveness of Masks
Masks are recommended as a single barrier to help stop respiratory droplets from traveling into the air & onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, talks, sneezes, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This advice is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in this spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, matched with emerging evidence of clinical plus laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads largely among people who are in close contact by one another, so the use of masks is especially important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is hard to maintain. CDC’s recommendations for masks will be updated as new scientific data becomes available.
What are the Recommendations?
Due to limited supplies of special protective equipment for healthcare professionals, the Centers for Disease Control plus Prevention previously informed the public that wearing face masks was not required. The CDC has changed this recommendation, encouraging those in the public to wear some kind of face covering.
To proceed with having N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers, the CDC is advising cloth face coverings as an alternative.
You might be questioning if face masks are necessary, especially if people are following social distancing. While social distancing guidelines should however be followed, for some, it may not be feasible. Social distancing is a luxury, which the homeless plus those at lower income levels cannot afford. Shared housing, small living spaces, and reliance on public transportation can make it challenging for these identities to practice social distancing.
In addition to healthcare workers, several essential workers may have difficulty practicing social distancing as they cannot control the actions of those around them. Examples of high-risk jobs involve workers at grocery stores, public transportation workers, plus those in law enforcement. For these individuals, face masks can give some protection, whether it is them or the person they are associating with that is wearing one.
Do Face Masks Help?
This is the problem everyone seems to be asking. While N95 masks offer reliable protection, such resources must be held for healthcare professionals on the frontlines.
According to the CDC, cloth coverings plus masks are a necessary tool to have asymptomatic COVID-19 victims from unknowingly spreading the virus. Cloth masks contain bits released when the wearer coughs, sneezes, or breathes. This suggests they protect the people who are near or interacting among the individual wearing the mask.
Because face masks are lighter protective than N95 or surgical masks, the CDC recommends those who choose to wear masks practice social distancing. The CDC also advises those wearing masks to avoid touching this mask. The virus can live on cloth for a notable amount of time. Touching the mask can give the virus to your hands plus the next thing you touch.
One great piece of cloth face masks is they can easily be sterilized. Once washed plus dried, the face mask can be worn again, making it a sustainable mode of protection.