As the country continues to re-open into “the new normal,” Covid-19 cases continue to fluctuate. It may at times feel frustrating to watch the rise of cases spread, but there is one thing that is becoming increasingly clear: face masks are one of the most effective things individuals can do to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Although many Americans refuse to wear face masks, the WHO and CDC strongly advocate wearing them. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield reported, “[Face masks] are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”
Why It Works
The novel Covid-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that can be shared when people talk, eat, or sneeze. When these droplets land near the nose or mouth, or are inhaled, someone is infected by the virus. Simply put, masks create a physical barrier to prevent the exchange of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19.
To understand the transmission of Covid-19, one study from the New England Journal of Medicine showed that hundreds of respiratory droplets of 20-599 micrometers were released when saying a simple phrase. But, almost all of these droplets were blocked from the mouth when someone wore a mask.
Another study compared the growth rate of Covid-19 before and after face masks were mandated in 15 states. Within the first five days of required face mask wearing, the daily growth rate slowed by 0.9%. Three weeks later, the daily growth rate slowed by 2%.
Which Masks Work the Best?
The short answer: any mask that covers the nose and mouth that can be worn comfortably and consistently. N95 masks are only truly needed in medical situations or when working with Covid-19 patients. In general, surgical masks are more protective than cloth masks.
Do I Need to Wear a Mask If I Am Social Distancing?
Yes. Although it is crucial to take part in safe practices such as social distancing, temperature checks, and washing your hands, wearing a mask is still arguably the most important way to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Overall, there is clear evidence that wearing a face mask can help prevent the spread of Covid-19. And the more people that wear them, the better. If you are a company looking for onsite Covid-19 testing, please reach out – we offer Covid-19 testing and virus screening services for both businesses and employers.