Since the coronavirus pandemic flipped the world upside down nearly a year ago, we have found a collective obsession with face masks. There has been interminable discourse regarding the effectiveness of masks, the type of masks we should use, and how long can we wear a face mask before having to discard it.
After millions of deaths reported within a year due to the virus, we need to ask ourselves exactly how effective have face masks been in preventing the coronavirus worldwide. More people are wearing masks now than ever before, so how much have they helped in this cause?
How Effective are Face Masks?
CDC released in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that the mask mandates adopted by the United States of America lead to a 2% drop in coronavirus cases within 100 days of the mandate being implemented. Coming from the CDC itself, these are very strong words.
After the vaccinations began making rounds in the United States recently, many states relaxed their mask mandates and opened indoor dining to people as well. While it makes sense to issue certain relaxations in the lockdowns because of the vaccines, it also makes sense to be careful and continue to wear masks till at least a large chunk of the population is vaccinated.
It has also been estimated that the commonly used 3-ply surgical facemasks can prevent over 95% transmission of particles in the air to our airways. These masks are also the most commonly advised masks to be worn in public. While N95 masks are most effective due to their tight-fitting around the nose and mouth area.
Because of the vaccinations and relaxation of covid-19 restrictions, people have also begun to use cloth masks and other designer masks to match their clothing. While these masks are pleasing as fashion accessories, they do not have the same power of prevention that a normal surgical face mask or N95 mask has.
How do We Increase Face Mask Effectiveness?
While the vaccinations still make rounds in different countries all over the world, we need to ensure we maximize the effectiveness of face masks to fight the virus till it is eliminated. For this reason, we need to ensure that we wear masks and ensure that people around us also wear them. Only when everyone in a particular vicinity is wearing a mask will it be easier to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Other than that, we need to ensure that we adopt the proper method for wearing a mask. Even now there is a vast majority of people who keep their mask below their nose or do not fit it around the mouth using the flexible bar on the nose. Make sure you do not make this mistake and the mask covers your nose and mouth efficiently.
Along with all of this, social distancing must still be practiced and, regular handwashing and the use of sanitizers must also continue.