The Covid-19 virus was first brought to our attention in December 2019, originating from Wuhan, China and continues to spread worldwide. This global pandemic has sadly seen the loss of many lives and businesses bankrupt in a social-economic crisis that has startled the world. Major questions have roused as to how we, as citizens, can help reduce the spread- wash hands, keep 2-metre distance, no large gatherings and wear masks. But just how effective is wearing a mask? And how can we overcome mask shortages?
The wearing of masks has caused some controversy with some countries enforcing fines for their absence, and others, like the States due to shortages, reserving them only for those in the medical profession. This has inspired creative-types like Ella Rosenzweig to resourcefully make her own masks from a variety of fashionable fabrics. Although stylish, it is advised to wash these masks in high temperatures after every outdoor encounter. Experiments show that these masks are 75% effective at catching spit droplets, only slightly more so than 60% effective tea-towel-covers.
What the Experts say
The World Health Organization states that these simple, single-layer masks offer little protection of the virus, but a mask with three-layers can prove preventative of the spread . They advised those in high-risk-categories (60+, health problems) to wear medical-grade N95 masks which blocks 95% of bacterial particles, which caused the UK health ministers to readdress their strategies.
Scientists at Arizona State University found that if 80% of citizens wore masks, New York mortality rates would be cut by 17-45% within two months.
April Baller, WHO infection control expert states, “What (the masks) do is they prevent a person who may actually have the disease from transmitting it to somebody else”.
With a cure yet to be discovered, we should take all preventative methods we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19, no matter how small.