Wearing a Mask Can Help Us Get Out of Lockdown Safely
At this point, wearing a mask is part of our daily wardrobe.
Keys, wallet, phone… mask. You may even be toting around a sizable collection of them.
But even as states are beginning their reopening phases preparing for post-COVID recovery, you may not want to throw away your face mask just yet. Masks may be the key to keeping COVID-19 at bay and avoiding lockdowns in the future, new research suggests.
“As governments plan how to exit societal lockdowns, universal masking is emerging as one of the key NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) for containing or slowing the spread of the pandemic,” reports a study from April 2020.
Several cities in the United States are making masks mandatory when physical distancing isn’t possible.
For example, as San Francisco is reopening, people are required to wear face coverings when they see someone as far as 30 feet away.
Similarly, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that New York businesses can refuse entry to anyone not wearing a face mask.
And while there are still certain groups who either strongly oppose face masks, or at the very least, underestimate their importance, the fact of the matter is that face masks could very well be what helps get rid of this pandemic once and for all.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort in order to be safe.
Many people had complained early-on that medical grade masks like the N95 were uncomfortable. Experts agree, however, that even a simple cloth covering would go a long way.
The most important thing to remember is that the covering must go over the nose and mouth.
“I see many people with masks hanging below their chin,” said Parikh. “That doesn’t do anything.”
You should look for thick woven cloth that doesn’t let in sunlight.
Wearing masks is one of the most important ways we can help combat the spread of COVID-19. But it’s also important to remember the other ways we can help.
The CDC says:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
The study showed that more than 80 percent of the population must commit to wearing masks in public in order for this to work.
“Both models predict significant reduction in the daily growth of infections on average, under universal masking by day 50 of an outbreak, but not if only 50 [percent] of the population wear masks or if [the] institution of universal masking is delayed,” it reports.
“You’re not wearing a mask to protect yourself from others. You’re doing it to decrease spread in the community,” said Heinz.
“It’s patriotic,” he added. “Taking care of the public healthcare crisis will make our transition to reopening and achieving some sense of normalcy easier and faster.”