A few months ago, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) took over the world. Everything shut down and the essential businesses that remained open required customers to wear face masks. Now we see a return to “normal,” with businesses reopening and people flocking to their favorite vacation spots. However, the virus still lurks, infecting those not taking proper precautions. We cannot return to our lives before COVID-19, but instead must move forward with caution.
Here are some reasons you should still wear a face mask in public:
1. Rising Cases:
On Wednesday, June 24, the United States hit a record for new coronavirus cases in one day at 38,115 after a month of declining numbers. The next day, the record broke again, sitting at 39,327, with the day after rising to 40,173. New hotspots arose in states across the South and West such as California, Nevada, Arizona, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas, and new cases increasing in 36 states.
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said in a conference call with reporters that for every coronavirus case reported, 10 others are infected. This could be you, even if you show no symptoms. Remember the old saying “better safe than sorry” and wear your face mask in public just in case.
2. Masks Work!:
While we wait for scientists to develop a vaccine, wearing a mask offers our best option for preventing the spread of the virus. Masks work as a barrier to stop egress, the process of droplets spreading by the wearer when they cough, sneeze, or even talk.
Studies show the danger of these droplets. A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) shows that a single person can emit 2,600 droplets per second. Now imagine what a 15-minute conversation would do! Also, those droplets hang in the air for at least 8 minutes.
On average a fluid droplet from a contagious person could contain 7 million viruses per milliliter. So, thousands of droplets account for millions of virus particles in the air. And that’s just for talking at a normal volume. A single sneeze propels these droplets up to 25 or 26 feet. After reading this, you probably won’t want to talk to someone if they don’t wear a face mask!
3. Protect Those at High Risk:
Even if you show mild or no symptoms, the virus droplets you release might infect someone else in a much worse way. According to the CDC, high risk groups include people age 60 or over and anyone with an underlying health condition. Even if those people stay home, you could pass a member of their household in the grocery store, possibly passing the virus to their high risk family member. If we all wear face masks, we can protect those most vulnerable to the virus.
4. You Could Be a Superspreader:
How much can one person spread the virus? Take a look at these real-world examples:
May: In South Korea, a man celebrating the country reopening visited several bars and nightclubs in one night. More than 100 people tested positive and 5,500 came into contact with him.
March: In Washington State, a single member of a choir infected 52 others during a practice session. Three patients were hospitalized, and two died.
February: In Chicago, one man infected 16 people at a family funeral and birthday party. Those the original man had contact with went to church and spread the virus to even more people. Family members visited their infected relatives in the hospital, exposing themselves to the virus.
These examples demonstrate “superspreader” events, where one infected person causes many people to become infected, and those infected people then pass the virus onto others. No one knows of their superspreader status until it’s too late. For this reason, a face mask helps prevent these kinds of situations.
5. Make Other Preventative Measures More Effective:
Wearing a face mask alone does not do enough to protect you from the coronavirus. Along with wearing a mask, take other preventative measures such as washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and keeping a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
The idea of face mask wearing seems strange to us. We must depend on others to protect us, and we can’t exactly see what happens if we don’t wear our masks. However, if everyone wears masks in public and cases decline in your area, that means progress. If more people continue to wear face masks in public, the rate of newer coronavirus cases will decline, and the sooner we will return to normal.
What Mask Do I Need?
HomElectrical offers several options of masks to keep us all healthy during this pandemic:
N95 Respirators: Intended for hazardous work environments, these masks protect against 95% of non-oil-based particles. Reserve these masks for essential workers such as doctors and nurses and construction workers.
Surgical Masks: Also known as medical masks, these block droplets from the wearer as well as protect the wearer from others. These are intended for medical workers, especially those who care for coronavirus patients.
Cloth Face Masks: The CDC recommends the general public wear cloth masks when going out. Reusable cloth masks protect against droplets emitted by the wearer and work just as effectively as surgical masks. HomElectrical offers several varieties of cloth masks in both adult and children’s sizes.