Posted on April 23, 2020. Last modified on March 25, 2021. Read disclaimer.
Updated February 17, 2021
NYTimes.com: N95 masks are the 'gold standard' in terms of filtering out contaminated air droplets and particles. But they are still rarely available to anyone other than medical care providers. And, while 'approved' KN95 masks should be effective for most day-to-day activities, finding trustworthy KN95 sources has been difficult -- until now.
N95 masks can now be purchased directly from American manufacturers, though this may require ordering in large quantities. Fortunately, ProjectN95.org is repackaging trusted N95 and KN95 masks into much smaller batches for sale directly to consumers.
There is no doubt that coronavirus-infected individuals can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others by wearing a face mask correctly.
Masks immediately limit the spread and amount of contaminated respiratory droplets that become airborne with every sneeze, cough or even breath.
Hong Kong study suggests that wearing a surgical face mask may reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75%
A couple complicating factors in the control of coronavirus have been 1) high-quality masks have been in such short supply and 2) many infected people don't even realize that they are infected. As many as 75% of infected people experience no symptoms... yet they can transmit the virus to others. For this reason alone, it makes sense for all of us to be wearing face masks when we are in public. (If you're driving alone or with family in a car or confining yourself to home and none of your family members are ill, there is no need for you to be wearing a mask.)
Another benefit of wearing a mask, however, is that it may also help prevent healthy individuals from 'catching' the virus (depending on the type of mask and material used). At least one study suggests that even DIY (Do It Yourself), home-made masks made from old cotton t-shirts or covering your nose and mouth with a bandana can reduce exposure to virus by 50%. Any protection is better than none! Plus, wearing a mask may cause enough interuption to stop us from touching our face!
Face masks can protect you and others... but only when worn properly:
Important Reminder: Wearing a face mask should be done in addition to -- and NOT in replacement of -- social distancing and hand washing.
And if you are still unable to find masks at hardware or drug stores, there are many online tutorials for how to make very simple but effective masks at home.
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