The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to strongly advise the wearing of face masks to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
On July 14, 2020 the CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said ”Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus particularly when used universally within a community setting.”
While these recommendations have been met with some skepticism among the public, scientific evidence continues to show that masks do work.
As to the reasons why, the experts say the science is quite simple.
Why face masks work
Transmission of the coronavirus is thought to occur through respiratory droplets that are released when people speak, sneeze, or talk, according to Health experts.
If these droplets land in the mouth or nose of people nearby, or are inhaled into the lungs, a person can contract the virus.
Masks create a physical barrier that catches these droplets and prevents them from spreading as far into the surrounding air as they normally would.
Health experts say the masks become even more important because a significant proportion of people who get COVID-19 either don’t exhibit symptoms or there’s a delay before symptoms show up.
Studies show, however, that these people can still transmit the virus to people around them.
The data suggest that the use of face coverings can help limit the spread of the disease by these asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals.
1. Masks don’t work Is a big myth
Let’s disintegrate that myth! Masks are helpful and effective in protecting you and your loved ones from the virus. There is a plethora of scientific data and research to help solidify this recommendation
In the scientific world, evidence-based medicine takes precedence, and we must put trust in our physicians and scientific community when they make such recommendations given that they are for your own and your loved ones’ medical/health safety.
2. They’re so uncomfortable to wear
That means you have only tried one mask and gave up quickly on finding one that works well.
Yes, they may create humidity, but in that situation, wear a cotton material mask which is a more breathable material than polyester.
Yes, they might hurt your ears. In that situation find a mask where the elastic band that wraps around the ear is cloth-covered or a softer elastic band that won’t irritate your skin.
Yes, they fog up glasses. I have the same issue, in that situation, place your eyeglasses over the mask on the bridge of your nose to help hold the mask in place and also help mitigate the fog under your glasses.
3. I’m worried about carbon dioxide building up and making me sick
There is absolutely no scientific reasoning that supports the claim that there is carbon dioxide buildup due to masks.
Healthcare professionals such as our physicians and surgeons have been utilizing tighter and more impenetrable masks for decades, yet we are still able to breathe through them.
Masks allow for oxygen to penetrate in just as readily as they allow for carbon dioxide to penetrate out.
4. I’m not at high risk
Amin acknowledged that the most vulnerable people are those with comorbid conditions or those who are immunocompromised.
however, that although you may be healthy and fit, you might not even be aware that you have acquired the virus and could be shedding high viral loads to your vulnerable loved ones at home.
We are all co-dependent on each other for our well-being and health as a community.
How long do I have to wear each mask for before changing to a new one?
There is no set time, nor the recommended number of masks you should use each day. It all depends on what you are doing.
However, if your mask gets dirty, wet or damaged, or if you touch the inside of it, then you should change to a new one (following the steps above).
When you take it off to eat or drink, you should dispose of the old mask, wash or sanitize your hands, and replace it with a new one once you have finished eating.
The bottom line
There’s growing evidence that masks do work in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Masks work in a very simple way by capturing the virus-containing droplets we emit when we speak, cough, or sneeze.
Although the principle behind masks is a simple one, they’re a very important part of containing the disease.
Experts say they work best when we all cooperate and wear them.