Why Face Masks?
As of April 15, 2020, in many cities across the U.S., it’s now mandatory to wear a nonsurgical face mask when you go outside. The mask can be a simple pleated shield or a homemade cloth covering or even a bandana. It just has to cover your nose and mouth.
The mandatory wearing of face masks is becoming more common in our cities as efforts continue to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the outbreak, we were told that only sick people should wear masks. That has changed.
Because coronavirus carriers can be asymptomatic for 14 days–meaning you may not feel any symptoms until two weeks after you’ve contracted Covid-19–we’re now being urged to wear masks at all times upon leaving our homes.
Coronavirus spreads in two main ways.
1) Infected particles stay intact on surfaces for up to 72 hours. People who touch surfaces with the particles can pick up coronavirus germs and catch the disease that way.
2) Infected particles travel through the air from person to person. An exhaling sick person disperses infected particles into the air, and anyone within a few feet breathes in the particles and can get sick. The cough of a sick person sends particles out as far as 18 feet; the sneeze of a sick person sends germs out as far as 24 feet.
Because of how coronavirus spreads, because people can be sick and infectious for two weeks without knowing it, and because there is as yet no cure for Covid-19, it’s important to wear face masks to protect ourselves and others.
Many people are also choosing to wear gloves as an additional protective measure. Since coronavirus particles stay on surfaces for up to three days, wearing gloves keeps those particles from getting on hands and then transferring to the eyes, nose, or mouth, where they enter the body.