Since the pandemic began, masks have been a point of controversy. Are they effective in limiting the spread of the virus? How effective? Can they be harmful? Who should be wearing them? And what types of masks work best? Back and forth and over the background of the continuous spread of the virus, government officials, healthcare workers and the World Health Organization have sent mixed messages. So what’s the final word?
First, we were told that only healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions should be wearing masks. This was for good reason. At the time, Personal Protective Equipment was in short supply and the bulk of masks needed to be prioritized for frontline healthcare workers. When Dr. Fauci was questioned by Congress in a recent hearing about whether he regretted the messaging about masks in the early stages of the pandemic, he said, “I do not regret that. Let me explain to you what happened. At that time, there was a paucity of equipment that our health care providers needed who put themselves daily in harm’s way of taking care of people who are ill.” However, by late March as PPE became more widely available and it had become clear that people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic were also contagious, everyone was advised to wear a face mask.
Here’s the thing. While the mixed messages may have been frustrating, masks, definitively and unquestionably, work. In some cases, they have been shown to be an essential part in curtailing the spread, along with frequent handwashing and lockdowns. And if America is going to insist on reopening, the least we can all do is wear a mask. They are not harmful. The masks worn by the general public will not cause hypercapnia–that has been thoroughly debunked.
Cloth masks may not be as good as N95 or professional grade masks, but they are still much, much better than nothing. After New York City began requiring masks in public settings, the new daily infection rates dropped by 3% each day. A British study found that when 50% of a population regularly wore face masks, it “reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0, flattening future disease waves and allowing for less stringent lockdowns.”
Masks may be annoying and uncomfortable but mild discomfort in exchange for your health and the health of those around you is a no brainer and shouldn’t be the source of a national debate. Especially as states reopen and the American people go back to work where social distancing and limiting interactions to the open air is not possible. Enclosed spaces that people are stuck in are more likely to facilitate the spread of the virus and the 6 feet back rule does not apply to such areas where droplets can linger and saturate the confined dimensions of, for example, an office.
Be a patriot. Wear a mask.
To learn how to make a mask from home made materials as effective as possible, click here.
Yours in Strength,
The Take Back Control Team