Will you wear a mask as a precaution to COVID-19? | The Tylt
Will you wear a mask as a precaution to COVID-19?
According to Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, masks are not effective in preventing members of the general public from contracting COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention add face masks only help if you are actually sick with the virus or taking care of someone who is:
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
But according to the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, studies show face masks can be useful in preventing the spread of infection in close spaces (in conjunction with hand washing).
Since there aren’t enough face masks to go around for healthcare workers, those in self-quarantine are attempting to make their own masks out of materials they have around their homes:
At least two peer-reviewed studiesshow that while DIY masks are not nearly as effective as commercial masks made for health care workers, they are far better than nothing. Homemade masks both limit the spread of infectious droplets in the air and discourage people from touching their faces.
As the Atlantic's Ed Young puts it, "everyone thinks they're right about masks." In truth, countries around the world have taken different tactics when it comes to masks and COVID-19. Young refers to Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard, on the subject:
The mask debate is so intense because both the stakes and the uncertainty levels are so high. “We’re trying to build the plane while we’re flying it,” Hanage said. “We’re having to make decisions with quite massive consequences in the absence of secure data. It’s a nightmare for your average cautious public-health professional.”
And if you have questions about what it's like to actually have COVID-19, check out our latest episode of "Tell Me Everything," where our editor-at-large discusses one New Yorkers' experience with the virus, and as always, stay up to date on the latest news from the CDC.