To Mask or Not to Mask?
When this pandemic ends, most of us will be fine. But some of us won’t. Our priority as a community is to pull together to limit the number of people who will die and the number of families who will be forever altered. That means being willing to adjust our behaviors as new scientific evidence emerges. It also means supporting your neighbors and blocking out social media haters who sow seeds of fear and mistrust.
The latest shift involves facemasks. As many have heard, the CDC now recommends routine use of homemade cloth facemasks in public settings for everyone age 2 and older. Please do not put masks on children under 2 years old.
Evidence through late March indicated that only those who developed symptoms of coronavirus were spreading it to others. Over the past 10 days, increasing evidence has shown that people can transmit the virus 1-2 days before developing symptoms, and as much as 25% of the spread may be due to people who have contracted coronavirus but never develop symptoms.
With this new evidence, the goal of cloth facemasks is to prevent people who feel healthy from unknowingly spreading virus-laden respiratory droplets when they are in public. It should be emphasized that it is currently unknown how effective homemade facemasks will be, so wearing a mask is not a substitute for limiting trips outside of your home, continuing to maintain social distancing, or frequently washing your hands.
If you want to make your own cloth masks, here are some how-to instructions and videos:
First up is a 45 second video from the Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who is also a Southern Maryland native (Chopticon High School):
Next is a how-to showing 3 different facemask designs and instructions on how to wear and clean a facemask:
For those with a sewing machine who want to make a more durable facemask, here is a link with instructions followed by a link for the how-to video:
If it seems that coronavirus recommendations change more often than your underwear, you’re right. And if you don’t, you may need to reconsider your personal hygiene habits. Expect more changes as researchers continue to discover more about the transmission and severity of coronavirus. Stay safe. We still have a way to go.