As I shop for groceries and supplies in my area, I can feel the mood brightening around me. The days are getting brighter and warmer. More companies reopen. Even if the US builds on its grimest milestone to date – over 100,000 people have been confirmed dead by COVID-19 – I can't help but feel like a false sense of security has taken hold around me, an apparent belief wearingcould prevent someone from getting sick.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases may decrease in some areas, but increase in others. How where I live. Like Wisconsin. Given the potentialI am alarmed by the feeling that people are gradually relaxing or just getting tired of constant vigilance.
Here is what I mean. There was the Starbucks barista in a flimsy mask, venturing behind the plexiglass divider and leaning over to bring me my drink, our faces just inches apart. Usually fantastic service, but would she have done the same thing if we hadn't both worn a mask? Then there was the man at a packed Costco who took off his face mask in the shop to take a sip from a water bottle. And another man a few yards away, whose mask only covered his mouth and whose nostrils protruded like binoculars. Let's not forget the woman in Trader Joe's crossing the aisle in front of me to get an item off the shelf instead of waiting for me to go ahead and get our faces spitting away – if it wouldn't be Not for our masks, their one cotton plate over my nose and mouth, mine fit my face, but so big that I can't read my phone screen when I look down.
Are these signs that people are becoming like this? wearing comfortable face masks that feel invincible? Or is it rather a function of human nature that warm weather and relaxation restrictions make the invisible threat of serious illnesses less urgent?
I have to be careful personally not to acquire or transmit the coronavirus. My mother. My septuagenarian mother is physically fragile (please do not tell her I said that), but a woman with inner reserves who takes this opportunity. She is a young widow.
Papa died on February 2 – from cancer, not from the coronavirus – and robbed mother of her life partner for 54 years. At a time when the physical hug of family and friends would otherwise help alleviate the hollow loss, seniors are encouraged to isolate themselves to be safe. My brother and I do their shopping, help with housework, keep their company and do the unpleasant formalities that have to be done after Dad's death.
Every time I go in, I have to ask myself what else I bring with me. If mom got COVID-19 and my negligence was the cause … that's not even a sentence I want to finish.
Face masks are not a silver bullet
Face masks got caught for a reason. With the request to the civilian population to stop buying medical masks and to donate them,or the preferred form of cover-up. But doctors have never promised that a face mask alone can prevent you from getting COVID-19 or passing it on to others.
In fact, every recommendation emphasizes the need toand and do not only cover your face and mouth.
The practice of wearing a non-medical mask to protect against the coronavirus began in the United States before the official recommendationfrom the Disease Control and Prevention Centers. Base efforts to do coincided with growing desperation within the medical community over the severe shortage of medical masks such as N95 and surgical masks. The surge in cases of overwhelmed hospitals and required an increase in the number of N95 masks needed to protect exhausted clinicians, nurses, and staff.
Here is. They have been found to help block large particles that you may unwittingly expel from sneezing, coughing, singing, speaking, and spitting. Facial coverings can protect you more effectively from you than vice versa, although common sense dictates that you are probably better off wearing one than not. They work better if they adapt to your face without gaps, but fabric covers don't fit your face like a and of course the or are not certified by an agency like N95s.
Most importantly, wearing a non-medical face mask is not a guarantee that you will not acquire or transmit the virus. It is not a force field. It is simply a measure in a group of recommended behaviors to reduce the spread of disease in communities, especially in vulnerable populations that are more likely to be killed by COVID-19, such as the elderly and. Like my mother.
Face masks are not as effective if you remove them in a crowd and expose your nose and mouth. There is currently no evidence that they can block small particles of breath that contain the virus. N95 masks are known to slow the spread of respiratory particles, although even they may not be able to completely stop the transmission. It is possible that some behaviors increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting the coronavirus even if you are wearing a mask, we say – and I am speculating here – if you are sitting in an unventilated space just a few inches from someone for several hours . or visit a crowded music festival.
When I first wrote about the subject months ago thatagainst the corona virus ( without a vaccine there is no silver ball) Some people got angry and upset, including the people I know and respect. My friend, whose mother helped early on to manufacture assembly line-style cloth masks to donate (admirable work). A nurse who told me that I had no idea how desperate the situation in hospitals was (she's right). The chorus of those who say that everything is better than nothing (I don't disagree).
There were also people who thanked me. A friend with cancer who feared that misinformation could make people think they could do anything they wanted as long as they were wearing a mask. Another friend who works in healthcare and who has the virus appreciated the distinction between N95, surgical masks (PDF), and fabric masks. A politician with a passion for public health and education who wanted to share the confines of fabric masks with constituents so that they weren't just dependent on masks to protect their health.
I am not a virologist. I am not a scientist. I am a concerned civilian who dutifully wears a face mask in companies as required by local law. But even if that's not the case, I will probably continue to wear a mask in crowded public places or with people outside my household– for my mother, if not for me. A non-medical face mask may not stop me from getting or transmitting an illness, but if it helps me to become aware that the coronavirus is a continuing threat – even when the sun is shining and I long for the " normal "life to return – I & # 39; m buy in.
More information on face masks
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about an illness or health goals.