To Your Health: COVID-19 and Masks
In an advance publication of The Lancet, the authors provide recommendations regarding masks that have already changed before the article went to print.
One thing that has remained the same is that unless you have been diagnosed with the virus, or are caring for someone who has been confirmed as infected with the virus you do not need the type of personal protective equipment, or PPE, used by healthcare professionals. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers.
So, why should we wear a mask if we aren’t sick or caring for someone who is sick? Well, the CDC suggests that when going into public places, it's a good idea to consider yourself and everyone you encounter as infected but asymptomatic. Consistent handwashing and maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains most important to slowing the spread of the coronavirus but the Journal of the American Medical Association points out that cloth masks can provide the visual reminder of the importance of maintaining this distance.
Masks can be made out of t-shirts or bandanas. You should wash your hands before you put your mask on to go out in public. When you put it on, do so by securing the ties or loops without touching your face. Do not touch your face or the front of your mask while wearing it. Remove it by the loops or ties and wash your hands. Launder the mask regularly.
Feng, S., Shen, C., Xia, N., Song, W., Fan, M., & Cowling, B. J. (2020). Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. Respiratory medicine, S2213-2600(20)30134-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30134-X
Recorded at home with Eli Hildebrand Clubbs engineering; edited at KRCU Studios by Dan Woods