In just under one year, COVID-19 cases in the United States have spiked from 16 cases in March 2020 to nearly 560,000 in this past week alone.
Everyone you know is probably either wearing a mask or telling you to wear a mask – but is that really what you should be doing?
Should you wear a mask?
The short answer: yes, of course you need to wear a mask! There are multiple studies by many notable scientists that tell you to wear them; wearing a mask is the best way to stave off the virus, aside from being in our homes 24/7.
If you’re still not convinced, then here are some more reasons. According to the CDC official website:
“The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19 because they help keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets to others when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Medical masks and N-95 respirators are for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
Are there options?
Here are some different options/alternatives to your standard mask. In general, N95 masks are intended for use by healthcare workers who come into regular contact with patients who have contracted COVID-19 because they are the most effective option – and they’re in short supply. Homemade masks, however, are perfectly viable options for daily use by non-healthcare workers – they work amazingly for blocking the transmission of the virus between two people who are safely at least six feet apart.
Here are some examples of masks you could use:
This is a face shield:
Face shield’s must be used in addition to a normal mask in order to be the most effective. Those people who do wear them without the additional mask tend to be those who have a medical condition that prevents them from breathing effectively while wearing a mask (such as an elderly person).
This is a homemade mask:
Fabric store-bought masks and bandanas are similarly effective when worn properly. These are perfect for average people who are not constantly in contact with COVID-19 patients.
This is a paper/cotton surgical face mask:
It is one of the most popular forms of face masks because it is easily accessible, being sold at more stores (and sometimes given out for free).