Masks for Covid-19 prevention - are they really effective in protecting us from spreading the virus?
Updated: Aug 30, 2020
We are currently living under a pandemic situation, where preventive measures need to be
taken at every step of our previously comfortable daily lives. One of these measures is wearing
a mask at all times, when outdoors, or contacting someone whom you are not living with.
The streets are now filled with people wearing masks of varying shape, size, colour, and
specification, like an ornament. However, are they really efficient in the prevention of Covid-19
or not still remains a huge mystery. The major types of masks worn around the cities are
surgical masks and cloth or cotton based masks. Studies across the globe are now suggesting
that these masks are unreliable for the prevention of the disease.
The recent CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organisation) suggests that wearing a mask is mandatory and should be used when stepping out of our homes.
The CDC also recommended that common people use handmade, cloth-based masks when
stepping out, leaving the surgical masks and N-95 for healthcare professionals and doctors
dealing with the patients. This suggestion was due to the fact that there was an urgent shortage
of these masks as more people felt the urge to use the best masks available, for it was claimed
to fully protect. But over time, a certain number of researcher teams have taken upon their
hands to test the viability of these masks, to ensure if it really is worth wearing or not.
A simple test was performed in South Korea, where the patients were asked to cough, five to six
times, on Petri dishes covered with different types of masks. This study showed that the outer
surface of the surgical and cloth-based masks had traces of the virus on its outer surface and a
high chance of getting on the inner surface and infecting the person wearing the mask.
The patients were also asked to wear these different types of masks and see if the person
infected is able to contain the spread of the virus if they wear a mask or not. Even though there
were a few droplets on the outer surface of these masks, they are still effective in containing the
spread of the virus contaminated droplets.
On the other hand, a study by Nature Medicine indicated that masks are effective for the
prevention of spreading of a certain number of viruses, including corona, rhine virus and
Irrespective of the rate of prevention, it is better to be safe than sorry and wear a mask when we
step our foot outside. The situation outside isn't predictable and comfortable, but if all of us fight
this together, take good care of ourselves and our bodies, we will be successful in containing
the spread of this virus. So better wear a mask.
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