A newly published paper outlines why we should wear masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic and how our thinking about masks has changed in the past couple of months.
|Healthy individuals do not need to wear masks.||Everybody should wear a mask. COVID-19 can be spread by you, even if you are asymptomatic. Masks protect others from your respiratory droplets.|
|There is a shortage of masks. Masks should be reserved for health-care workers.||In order to control the infection source, cloth masks are adequate, especially if everyone wears a mask. Cloth masks can be easily manufactured or made at home and reused after washing.|
|Mask wearing could engender a false sense of security in relation to other methods of infection control such as social distancing and handwashing.||There is no evidence that individuals who wear masks forego other methods of infection control.|
The authors conclude that wearing a mask shifts the focus from self-protection to altruism, actively involves every citizen, and is a symbol of social solidarity in the global response to the pandemic.
Source: Cheng, Lam, & Leung (2020). Wearing face masks in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic: altruism and solidarity. Lancet, April 16 [Epub ahead of print].