Back in 2020, the world was brought to its knees due to the Covid-19 outbreak. While many lost their jobs, family, and loved ones, we are now fighting back. However, the battle to conquer Covid-19 and regain our normal lives back are still being waged. The first step is to wear a mask. As some states go back to normal and lift their stay-at-home orders, and some businesses start to re-open its crucial to continue wearing your face mask, so we don’t regress.
Here we will go over the importance of wearing a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why Did We Have to Wear Mask in The First Place?
Based on the CDC guidelines, they stated that the purpose of wearing a mask was to decrease the spread of Covid-19.
When this idea was proposed, the main concern was the masks that were to be worn were the special N-95 mask. However, due to their limited supply, these masks were given priority to health care workers.
Since Covid-19 is spread by contact and being in close proximity to one exposed to covid.
In the beginning many people thought it to be a cold, and without a lab test being done, it was hard to tell the difference.
So, to minimize the safety concerns, the mask was introduced to stop the spread of sneezing and spreading the particles containing covid.
Is Wearing Mask Even Effective?
There have been many studies done that have supported the effectiveness of wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
An experiment was conducted using a special high-speed camera that found many droplets ranging in the hundreds with 20 to 500 micrometers were sent out into the air when someone speaks a simple phrase. However, nearly all these droplets were blocked because of the use of a face mask.
When people have a cold, it was found that if the infected person wears a surgical mask, it will significantly reduce the emitted droplets when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes.
Back when the mask mandate was introduced to certain states, a study from Health Affairs concluded that wearing a surgical mask such as an N-95 slowed down the daily growth rate of Covid-19. In fact, after the first five days of the mandate, the growth rate slowed down by 0.9 percent compared to five days before the mask mandate.
There are many more studies that have been done and extensive research on promoting the effectiveness of the mask. While they do not 100 percent stop Covid, they do help slow down the spread.
So, when outside or in gatherings, make sure to mask up and practice caution.
Will Mask Protect People Wearing Them or Around Them?
While wearing a face mask can protect you, it’s also meant to protect people who have Covid-19 from giving it to others.
As mentioned, the mask is highly effective in preventing large droplets from turning into smaller droplets, traveling farther, and can infect more people.
Even if you were a mask, you may still get Covid through your eyes. However, since it covers both the nose and mouth, you don’t have much to worry about with the face mask.
However, if droplets of an infected person comes into contact with your eyes or hands, and you rub your eye. It will raise the risk of you contracting the virus.
In one simulation conducted by researchers, they predicted that if only 80 of the population started wearing a mask, it would have reduced the spread of Covid-19 better than a lockdown.
What Type of Mask to Use?
There are many masks out for purchase now that you can use today; they include:
- Cloth mask
- Surgical mask
While there might be a fashion trend to wear cloth masks with designs, the best mask you can wear are the N-95 masks.
They can be worn to be comfortable and fashionable.
You can still wear other masks if you’d like or grown fond of your cloth mask. However, if you’re trying to get the best mask to protect yourself from the virus, there is no competition when it comes to the N-95 respirator.
There are some N-95 respirators that you may have seen that have a one-way valve in. While it may look excellent in design, it might not be the best mask to wear.
The N-95 mask with the one-way valve is meant to protect you, but they don't do a good job when it comes to protecting other people.
The function of a one-way valve is when you breathe in; the valve closes, so you breathe in better air. However, when you breathe out, the valve opens, and it allows unfiltered air and droplets to escape the mask.
So, if you have one of these masks, you don’t necessarily have to throw it away, but if you will use it. Make sure you wear a cloth or surgical mask over it.
Do You Need to Wear a Mask Even When Social Distancing?
Yes, even if you are practicing social distancing with a group of your friends or family, it’s still possible to inhale droplets even after being six feet apart.
So, to better reduce the spread of Covid-19 when outside or with a group of people, it’s best to continue wearing your mask and wash your hands.
Whether you’ve been infected with Covid-19 before or still didn’t contract the virus you should still wear a face mask to not only help you but help others reduce the spread of Covid-19. If more people start wearing mask, then maybe we will go back to the lives we were living before the covid-19 pandemic.