Surging COVID-19 rates throughout the country and in many parts of the world make our efforts to protect ourselves and others more important than ever. Yes, the predictions are dire, but we are not helpless.
Experts estimate we can save hundreds of thousands of lives and considerably boost the chances of controlling the pandemic if we all commit to wearing a mask and follow familiar preventive measures: maintain physical distance; wash hands frequently; avoid others if you’re sick; and isolate yourself and get tested if you have close contact with someone who has the disease.
Early in the pandemic, experts expressed skepticism that masks would be helpful for the general public, particularly in places with little to no community spread of the virus. In addition, to avoid worsening shortages of medical-grade masks for health workers who needed this protection, masks were not widely recommended. But we’ve seen a rapidly expanding body of evidence supporting the benefit of non medical masks and cloth face coverings.
Some of the strongest evidence includes these reviews and observational studies found that mask-wearing leads to lower rates of infection. If you’re walking near or with other people, or are at an outdoor gathering where keeping a distance isn’t possible, wearing a mask is strongly encouraged. And of course, you should follow local health regulations and mandates.
Mask dos and don'ts :
A mask should fit snugly over the nose and mouth, with no gaps at the edges of the mask.
The more comfortable a mask is, the more likely you are to wear it. Try a few styles and fabrics to see which fit and feel best.
Wash masks regularly.
Anything other than a snug covering over the nose and mouth may not offer much protection for you and those around you. Avoid the “exposed nose,” the “chin diaper,” the “dangling earring,” and other creative approaches that keep the mask from fully covering your nose and mouth.