An excellent article in The Conversation, clarifying the use of masks in the coronavirus control. Key points:
- Simple masks are effective, but mostly for protecting the public from the person who wears them, not the other way round. To protect the person, a medical-grade PPE is needed, and proper procedures of putting it on and off need to be followed.
- Most advanced masks, particularly those with a valve, are designed to filter out air which comes in, but not which goes out. As a result, they might actually be counterproductive when mass used.
- The main aim of masks outside the health force setting is to slow down the air so that it does not spread as far. A well-fitted face covering which covers the mouth, nose and chin works well. Loops around ear or other support needs to ensure that there are no gaps on the sides.
So, masks are primarily a way to protect others, and only protecting ourselves indirectly. They can be a nuisance, but as the virus is likely to stay with us for longer, it is important to get used to them. After all, donning a mask is easier than staying at home because of the lockdown, even if it might not be as effective. Or, dying because of other people not playing according to the rules.
And they can look cool (see above and below). Is there perhaps a place for Instagram influencers, celebrities and leaders to put on their masks and make it an example for others?