Covid-19: Mask Questions & Answers You Want To Know
The Covid-19 pandemic has quickly changed both our society and economy. We know that with the development of a safe and effective vaccine the pandemic will end, but what about now? What can we do today to protect ourselves against this dangerous, costly, and often-deadly virus?
Like a castle wall, masks provide a barrier against the virus. While there is no perfect defense against the virus, masks are an established, inexpensive, and available form of protection. They can help you as well as your family, friends and co-workers avoid the virus. Here are some of the frequently-asked questions and answers raised by the use of masks.
Are masks really useful in the fight against the virus?
“I think masks are the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid and we all need to embrace masks and set the example for each other,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Source: The New York Times (October 9, 2020)
How do masks generally work?
Face masks help prevent people who have COVID-19, including those who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, from spreading the virus to others. Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. Wide use of masks especially helps protect those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well as workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in airports, seaports or other docks, bus terminals, and train stations).
“Using masks along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, is one of the most effective strategies available for reducing COVID-19 transmission.” Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (October 19, 2020)
Can masks reduce Covid impact?
In July, researchers published a paper showing that viral dose was related to disease severity in hamsters exposed to the coronavirus. Hamsters who were given a higher viral dose got more sick than hamsters given a lower dose.
“Based on this body of research, it seems very likely that if you are exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the lower the dose, the less sick you will get.” Source: The Conversation, Monica Gandhi, Professor of Medicine, Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
Subject to change, what are the government’s specific mask recommendations?
- CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.
- Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (September 3, 2020)