What is the single easiest thing you can be doing to halt the spread of COVID-19? Wear a mask — it's as simple as that. Based on new guidance and recommendations from the scientific community and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anytime we are out in public, we should be wearing a non-medical face mask in addition to maintaining a safe distance of at least 6 feet from the people around us.
Your mask is not to protect you. On the contrary, your mask protect others, while their masks protect you. Wearing a face covering during this time is an act of kindness toward your neighbors, community and essential workers that you come into contact with. This is because COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets of all sizes. Large droplets occur when someone coughs or sneezes, while small droplets, which are now believed to also contribute to viral spread, occur when you simply breathe or even clear your throat.
So if you don't feel sick, should you wear a mask? The safest answer is yes. This is because there are likely a large amount of asymptomatic carriers of the virus within our communities, and until widespread testing is available, we should all act as though we are one of them. Wearing a mask or face covering is the least we can do to prevent the spread, and the more people that wear them, the safer we all become.
What sort of mask should you wear? Leave the medical grade masks to the professionals that desperately need them. The CDC says a simple cloth covering will work — one that has multiple layers of fabric, fits snugly to the face without restricting breath, and is secured with ear loops or ties. Not only can these be rewashed and used for every outing, they're also incredibly easy to make with materials you may already have in your home. This video by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams teaches the easiest way to make one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPx1yqvJgf4
Simply put, wearing a face mask while outside of your home isn't about you, it's about keeping the people around you safer. And if there was one small sacrifice you had to make to potentially save lives, wouldn't you make it? The only way to defeat this pandemic is to work together — Help to protect yourself by doing your part to protect others.