Facemasks are flying off inventory shelves all around the country, but should we be wearing masks? Here’s some guidance and relevant history.
Coronavirus is spread by droplets, meaning moist particles released by coughing or sneezing. These particles land on objects and can transmit disease if you touch them and then touch your face or eat without properly washing your hands, even if you wear a mask.
Common facemasks do NOT filter out droplet particles well, meaning that droplets can still move through the mask. This means that wearing a mask is not reducing your risk much at all.
N95 respirator masks filter out 95% of particles larger than 300 nanometers, but viruses are often smaller than this. Flu virus particles are 80-120 nanometers. Coronavirus particles are about 100 nanometers in size.
N95 respirator masks only work if you are fitted properly by trained technicians, and if you misuse them, you will likely be touching your face more often to adjust an incorrect mask.
In China, people often work facemasks in public areas for years before Coronavirus appeared, and they still suffered with this severe epidemic of illnesses. Wearing facemasks didn’t stop the spread.
However, if you are actively sick with cough and sneezing, it is reasonable for you to use a mask to reduce some of the cough/sneeze particles from spreading to the people nearby.
For additional answers to any questions, reply to this post or contact your healthcare provider!