Coronavirus Masks: Rumor vs. Reality. Is it true that initially the medical scientific community and the CDC recommended that you do not need to wear a mask if you had no symptoms of coronavirus, but now the CDC recommends that you do wear a mask when you go out in public? And not only that, is it true that they recommend that you make a homemade mask out of cloth, a bandana, an old T-shirt? Rumor versus reality, it's a reality. Let me explain.
Should You Wear a Mask If You Don't Have Symptoms?
Initially, when we were first learning about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, it was believed that if you weren't coughing and sneezing, and if you didn't have symptoms, that you did not need a mask. It was also believed that the mask offered you no protection, but perhaps if you did have a mask, it would keep you from spreading the disease to others. There's still truth in that.
It was also recommended that only healthcare providers on the frontline at the highest risk wear face masks because they were taking care of patients with COVID-19. They should have the N-95 masks, which were believed to be the most protective.
Even the surgical masks, which were believed to be not quite as protective as the N-95 masks, it was suggested that the surgical masks also be reserved for the healthcare providers. And for the rest of the folks, the good ol' lay people walking around? If you didn't have symptoms, eh, you didn't need a mask.
Well, the data kept coming out, the data kept changing, and it has now been confirmed that there can be human-to-human transmission, even from a person with no coronavirus symptoms, meaning a person who's not coughing, and not sneezing. We know that there was a study done and published by the New England Journal of Medicine which revealed that the coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, all the same thing, could live aerosolized floating around in the air for up to three hours. What does this mean? Even if a person is not coughing and if the person is not sneezing, you could still potentially get COVID-19 from a person who is asymptomatic, but carrying the virus talking to you or breathing on you.
What does that mean? That while walking around the pharmacy and doing your essential shopping, you could be passing people who aren't sneezing or coughing but still become infected with the virus. So, now the CDC is recommending that all people wear some type of mask, and the mask is meant to protect others from getting COVID-19 from you.
In other words, it's being suggested that all of us act as if we have COVID-19. If you don't have symptoms, just act as though you are an asymptomatic carrier. Wear the mask to protect those around you. And they're recommending that you wear the bandana mask or the old T-shirt mask or whatever type of cloth material you can fold up to help to prevent your breath from getting out in the air when you're in public.
Will Wearing Masks Decrease The Spread of COVID-19?
It is still recommended that we socially distance ourselves at least six feet from each other, if not more, while out in public. But sometimes when you're out shopping and you're passing each other in the aisle, standing in line at the pharmacy or waiting in line to get into the grocery store, it's not always feasible to keep that proper social distance. So, that is why it's being suggested that any time you go out in public you put a mask on your face; again, not so much to protect you from getting COVID-19, but to protect everyone else in the community.
So, if all of us act as if we have COVID-19, if all of us are wearing the masks to keep ourselves from spreading COVID-19, even when we're asymptomatic, then this theoretically could prevent the rate of transmission, decrease the caseload, and ultimately decrease the death rate from COVID-19.
Is this a 100% infallible fact? No, but wearing the masks will not hurt you. Wearing the masks will not hurt society. And wearing the masks may help to decrease the spread of coronavirus. And being that we're in this pandemic and that the caseloads keep going up, death rates keep rising, we really should try to do everything that we can to keep from spreading the virus, especially if it's something that won't hurt and potentially can be a great help.
How To Make A Coronavirus Mask
So, I've been watching these different videos. The Surgeon General put out a video of how to make this simple homemade mask for coronavirus, and so I decided that I would give it a go myself. I made my own do-it-yourself face mask with a bandana. It's something that I had just lying around the house. I bought it from the dollar store who knows how long ago. It's about 20 inches by 20 inches. You can also use a cloth that's 22 inches by 22 inches. And then I used hair ties, but you can also use rubber bands. Watch the step by step video here.
Should You Wear A DYI Mask?
Do I think that the CDC is making a good recommendation in using the mask, the homemade mask, bandana masks? I do because we are not suggesting that wearing a bandana folded on your face will keep you from getting COVID-19. What we are suggesting is that wearing the bandana or the cloth on your face will help to prevent spreading COVID-19. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Racial Profiling and COVID-19 Masks
Now, there have also been some other issues that have come up. When people wear these masks, it can make you look a bit intimidating. So, one concern has been, will wearing the masks be dangerous for people in certain communities, certain targeted communities, specifically black males in the United States? If you are a black man and you have on a bandana mask on your face and you're wearing a hoodie because you're a little bit chilly, if you walk into a store, will you then be automatically targeted?
Will people look at you as if you're there to rob the store? It's an interesting question. I mean, and again, it's no secret that we have certain cultural disparities in the United States. And I've talked with several men who say that they will not put a bandana on their face and walk into a store for fear that someone may think that they're trying to steal and may try to hurt them. And I thought to myself, that's really sad. We're in a situation, we're in a pandemic, we are losing lives every day, we're all in this together. But it is really sad when a certain specific community has to stop, they have to pause and think. "I'm trying not to die from COVID-19, but if I put on this mask, and then I'm targeted because I'm in a culture where they think that if I have on a mask, I'm trying to steal, I can possibly die from something else. I don't want to die from COVID-19, but I don't want to die from someone shooting me because they think I'm about to hurt them."
That's just kind of a side thought, but it's real. And what do I say? When people have asked me, "Hey, what do you think? I'm a black man. Should I wear the mask when I go into a store?"
What am I gonna say? What do you say? I would love to get your feedback. I want you to comment on that.
Bottom line though, I do feel that as a society we should respect these new CDC recommendations and we should wear some type of a cloth coronavirus masks when we're out in public in order to protect others and ultimately as a community to protect ourselves. Everyone, please hang in there. For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) please watch my IGTV series, Coronavirus: Rumor vs. Reality. I talk about other things like pregnancy and coronavirus. Can it live in hot weather? I talk about medications. I talk about vaccinations. And also, you can check out my YouTube channel for even more information and various health and wellness videos.