By now you’ve heard that the CDC is encouraging everyone to wear a mask. This is for the protection of everyone. While there are many people who do wear masks, there are still many who refuse to wear them. The truth is, there are several reasons you should, and documentation that it works. It’s true that organizations such as the WHO and the CDC weren’t recommending the widespread use of masks in the beginning of this crisis. However, they soon saw the benefits of doing so and changed their stance.
Evidence that Masks Work
There’s a great deal of evidence that covering your face works to help curb the spread of pathogens. Some of the evidence has been collected during laboratory studies, and others comes from real life scenarios.
Many studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of masks. One such study used high-speed video to determine that hundreds of droplets that range from 20 up to 500 micrometers are generated by simply saying a short phrase. During this test they found that almost every droplet is blocked when the mouth is covered with a damp washcloth.
Another study looked at people suffering from the common cold or influenza, and they found that wearing surgical masks can greatly reduce the amount of aerosols and droplets that are emitted. Thus, reducing the overall spread.
Real Life Examples
Perhaps the best real life example of the effectiveness of masks comes from a story that involves two stylists from Springfield, MO. Regardless of the fact that one of them had respiratory symptoms, she continued to work and see clients for eight days before learning she was positive for the virus. Another colleague began to develop symptoms about three days after her co-worker, and she, too, continued to work until her positive diagnosis.
Combined, these two ladies saw 139 clients for perms, haircuts, shaves, etc. Each appointment lasted anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. Yet, none of the 139 clients contracted the virus. The reason for this? The stylists and clients ALL wore face coverings.
Why Masks Work
Now that we’ve discussed some evidence, let’s discuss why they work.
As we keep hearing news that not all face coverings are created equal, the fact is cloth face masks are effective. They create the much-needed barrier between your nose and mouth, and those around you. This makes the spread of droplets through sneezes, coughing, and simply talking to other people, much more difficult.
Additionally, all experts have agreed you should refrain from touching your face. Masks can help keep you from not only unknowingly spreading the virus, but they also indirectly remind you not to touch your face.
The More People Who Wear Them, The More Protected Everyone Is
Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, explained that face coverings can be compared to “herd immunity” that comes from vaccines. What this means is that the more people who wear masks in public places where you will be in close contact, the more the community is protected. He continued to say that if everyone would start wearing a mask the virus could be brought under control within four to eight weeks.
If we could get as little as 80% of the population on board, it would do more to reduce the spread of this disease than a strict lock-down would.
Everyday, people complain how they want life to get back to “normal”. The problem is that some of these same people are the ones who refuse to wear a mask in public. The only question for these folks is - how do you expect to regain normalcy when you refuse to do your part?
Just because you don’t have symptoms and don’t feel ill, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a mask. Many people contracting this virus are asymptomatic, and don’t even know they are spreading it to other people! When you don’t wear a mask and are asymptomatic, you are putting those who are at a higher risk of severe illness in danger when you come in contact with them.
America has already lost 177,000 lives to the virus. Please, everyone do your part and help stop the spread of the virus!