With over 24 million people infected across the globe and well over 800,000 deaths, the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, really took the world by surprise and has been unrelenting in its attack on dozens of nations. Originating in China, the virus quickly appeared in countries like Italy and Spain, before finally making its way to nations like the United States and Canada. Since March of 2020, America has been a hotbed of Covid-19, accounting for nearly 20% of the world’s total deaths from the virus. One sad fact about this scary virus is that no one really knows how to handle it. Because it’s a new virus, hence “novel” in its nomenclature, there is no vaccine, nor even a guaranteed successful course of treatment. The best medical experts have been able to suggest to date are things like proper hygiene with hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a face mask.
Though, of course, the issue of face masks is actually a rather hot button issue. You wouldn’t think so, considering it’s only a cloth face covering. Still, a lot of people in western nations have rebelled against the idea of wearing any sort of facial covering when outside. There has been a litany of propaganda posted online suggesting that masks in no way work and that they’re just a scam being forced on people by a media that’s desperate for ratings. So, what is the story behind these cloth masks?
The Effectiveness of Cloth Masks
So, are cloth masks effective against coronavirus? The answer is yes. And the answer is no. That is in no way meant to be a wishy-washy, bet-hedging answer; it’s just the facts of the situation. Let us explain, but first, let us say that there’s a very strong emphasis on the “yes” in that answer.
First, let’s get to the “no” part. So, how aren’t these masks effective? Unfortunately, because we do not know everything about how this virus transmits human to human, most medical experts currently agree that a cloth mask is not effective at preventing you from contracting Covid-19. However, the reason has nothing to do with the mask and everything to do with how viruses work. You see, viruses can get into your body through other areas than your nose and mouth. So while a cloth mask will greatly reduce your risk of contracting the virus, it cannot be said to be an effective deterrent against it, as there are still other ways that the virus can be contracted.
The “yes” part here is a lot more critical. A mask is entirely practical at helping to stop the spread of the virus. This is because while the virus can enter you through various points of your body, it will only leave you through droplets that you expel from your body via your nose or mouth. Therefore, wearing cloth face masks will stop infected people from spreading this virus around to others. So they do work very well in that way.
How Cloth Masks Work
The way cloth masks work is rather simple. What you’re doing here is covering up your nose and mouth to prevent droplets from flying out. The cloth works as a catch to halt those droplets. When you sneeze, cough, and sometimes even when you breathe, these droplets fly out and land on surfaces or other people. And while they may only be microscopic, virus cells are even smaller, so you can let out a single droplet onto, say, the handle of a shopping cart. Then, thousands of little virus cells are waiting to invade the next person who grabs the handle potentially. So by wearing a cloth mask covering, you’re helping in a big way to prevent the spread of the virus while also offering yourself some pretty solid protection. While not a guarantee, a mask will also limit your chances of being infected.
The bottom line is that a cloth mask is a very useful tool during these scary times. While there are no guarantees out there, a cloth mask can offer you some solid protection.
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