Why Facemasks Are Important in the Fight Against COVID-19

Facemasks are essential commodities in China and other Asian countries, at least since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presently, the number of deaths in the United States is increasing, and the Centres for Disease Control has issued guidelines for the use of facemasks in America.

According to the CDC, most coronavirus patients are asymptomatic (lack symptoms), and those who eventually develop the symptoms do transmit the virus before manifesting the symptoms. This implies that SARS-CoV-2 can spread between people who interact closely with each other – for instance, coughing, speaking, and sneezing – even if they do not show the symptoms.

This explains why the CDC has recommended the usage of cloth face coverings in the public where social distancing measures cannot be easily implemented.

The CDC has backed its decision with several studies bordering on the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. The first study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 5.

People must wear facemasks while out in public. Facemasks have contributed greatly to the control of the disease in Japan, South Korea, China, and other nations.

Note that the CDC doesn’t require mask use while in the public. It only recommends its use. This recommendation applies to cloth masks, and not N95 masks or hospital-grade surgical masks.

Hospital-grade surgical masks and N95 masks are critical healthcare supplies and must be reserved for clinicians and other first responders.

By wearing facemasks, you help to protect others not just you

You must wear masks anytime you are in a public setting. The facemask serves as a physical barrier that protects you and others close to you from bacterial and viral particulates. You see, many people do not even know that they are carriers, and so they go about touching others and coughing in public settings, both actions that help spread the germs.

If you are in a solitary neighbourhood (where there’s no one nearby), you can go out without a facemask. However, if there are people around, then you must put on the facemask. You’ll be protecting yourself and others, as well as showing courtesy to both parties.

One thing you should note, however, is that the cloth facemask does not prevent inhalation of the virus. The coronavirus can penetrate the bandanas and the cloth used in making the facemasks, but then, it can reduce the deposits of the virus on surfaces and people who are closer to you.

Cloth facemasks are different from respirators

N95 masks are reserved for medical professionals. They are worn by clinicians who make close contact with COVID-19 patients. N95 masks are respirators.

They create a tight covering over the mouth and the nose and filter the air that is inhaled or exhaled.

On the other hand, cloth masks are similar to surgical masks. They are not airtight and are designed to prevent the spread of the germs from health workers to patients.

So, cloth masks are designed to protect the environment from the wearer, while respirator N95 masks are designed to protect the wearer from the environment.

Learn more: DIY Homemade Facemask Guide: Understanding the art & science of making CDC-approved facemasks