Importance of Wearing Masks

This pandemic started off being a global issue but it seems now that one of the only major countries to be struggling with this issue is the United States. Why is that? To begin, I will be going over the mask’s structure then how masks help stop the spread of viruses. 

In the MayoClinic Article, COVID-19: How much protection do face masks offer?

It is stated that there are 3 main types of masks, which include: surgical masks, N95 masks, and cloth masks. Surgical masks a sort of loose mask that is easily disposable. They are typically used to block out larger particles such as liquids. Earlier in the pandemic, the FDA did not approve of wearing these to stop the spread of Covid-19 since surgical masks aren’t built to stop viruses.

N95 masks are more effective at stopping viruses because they are able to block out large and small particles. The 95 in the name states that the mask is able to block 95 percent of small particles. But the downside to these masks is that a lot have a one way valve which is supposed to ease breathing but because it is a one way mask, it doesn’t prevent the user from spreading the virus.

Finally there is the cloth mask. The main purpose of these masks are to stop the spread of covid from the user. This mask traps saliva within it when the user either coughs or sneezes. Cloth masks are also the most material efficient since they can easily be made and reused. The MayoClinic gives many instructions on how to properly use a cloth mask;

Put the cloth over your mouth and nose, don’t touch the mask after it’s on,  if your mask gets dirty, do not use it again until it’s been cleaned, and always wash your hands after removing the mask. These are all essential concepts that must become a habit in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Masks are arguably one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus as it has been shown in the Eastern countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan. These Eastern countries have demonstrated that masks are very helpful in preventing fatalities as the number of confirmed cases were much lower. According to Los Angeles Times, one of the reasons that Covid-19 spread so rapidly within the US was because “the US wasn’t prepared to wear masks.”

The article states that studies taken in 1918, 1938, and 2015 all show that masks are effective at preventing virus spread. Dr. Monica Gandhi states that masks relieve the severity of the virus somewhat. Many people are convinced that since masks don’t offer 100% guaranteed protection that there isn’t a real point in wearing them. But the statement made by Dr. Gandhi runs contrary to that idea. 

The study done in 1918 which was during the deadliest flu pandemic was so fatal because people were in extremely close proximity.  The 1938 study was done on mice. A group of mice were given different doses of a virus. In the end, the mice with higher doses had a greater severity of the virus and symptoms. And finally the 2015 study was done on healthy volunteers. They were all given different doses of a flu. The results matched those of earlier experiments. Volunteers who were given higher doses grew more sick while those who were given lower ones weren’t as severe. In short, these studies show that Dr. Gandhi’s idea on masks blocking most of the virus more or less true.

Masks may sometimes be a burden as I too have experienced discomfort with them, whether it’s finding it harder to breathe or having to fix it whenever it falls below your nose. But despite these small issues masks are a simple solution that everyone can put to use.


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