10 votes

Guidance against wearing masks for the coronavirus is wrong – you should cover your face

17 comments

  1. patience_limited
    Link
    I did a bit more homework because of /u/DanBC's complaint about eyes not being protected with a mask. American Academy of Opthalmology reports that 0.8% of SARS-CoV-2 cases studied in China had...

    I did a bit more homework because of /u/DanBC's complaint about eyes not being protected with a mask.

    American Academy of Opthalmology reports that 0.8% of SARS-CoV-2 cases studied in China had conjunctivitis as a symptom. That suggests the virus can replicate in ocular tissue and spread via eye secretions, even if the eyes are not a primary route of infection. They're recommending eye protection for healthcare workers on this basis, since they're continually exposed to aerosolized virus.

    So it's still good advice to the general public not to touch your face, including your eyes. But as a risk factor, eye exposure to airborne virus isnt as significant as inhalation.

    7 votes
  2. [10]
    skybrian
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    While it is true that N95s and surgical masks — which have become scarce due to hoarding — should be prioritized for use by medical professionals at greatest risk for infection, the rest of us could and should wear other protective face coverings. There are compelling scientific reasons for this:

    • Masks work. There is widespread evidence from the field of occupational health, the SARS epidemic, and other outbreaks that wearing masks protects us from germs and interrupts the transmission of disease from sick to healthy people.

    • Masks are the best way to enforce the “do not touch your face” mantra we are hearing about for COVID-19. [...]

    • Wearing masks is a powerful signal to others that these are not normal times, and that we all need to change our behaviors to stop a potentially devastating epidemic.

    6 votes
    1. [9]
      reese
      Link Parent
      This 1000x. It's just basic common sense, but the same people saying non-medical protective masks don't do anything, are the same ones who would demand a meta-analysis strongly indicating that...

      Masks are the best way to enforce the “do not touch your face” mantra we are hearing about for COVID-19. [...]

      This 1000x. It's just basic common sense, but the same people saying non-medical protective masks don't do anything, are the same ones who would demand a meta-analysis strongly indicating that touching one's face is a vector for contracting this specific coronavirus. It's shifting goalposts to hoard perceived intellectual wins amounting to a superiority complex of rationality, one that undermines public safety. If you cover your nose and mouth with something relatively breathable, even a shirt or bandana, I don't see how it can do anything other than help, unless you're mistaken for a time-traveling bank robber.

      5 votes
      1. [8]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        Have you ever watched someone wearing a mask? They touch their face all the time, because masks feel weird.

        Have you ever watched someone wearing a mask? They touch their face all the time, because masks feel weird.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          patience_limited
          Link Parent
          The point is that it's a layer between potentially contaminated hands and the viral entry points on your face. Not as much help if, like me, you're adjusting your glasses all the time, but still...

          The point is that it's a layer between potentially contaminated hands and the viral entry points on your face. Not as much help if, like me, you're adjusting your glasses all the time, but still an improvement of risk factors.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            The virus can get in through your eyes, so it's not a layer between the entry points. All you're doing by wearing a mask is strapping a fomite to your face and carrying it back to your home.

            viral entry points on your face.

            The virus can get in through your eyes, so it's not a layer between the entry points.

            All you're doing by wearing a mask is strapping a fomite to your face and carrying it back to your home.

            4 votes
            1. gpl
              Link Parent
              Well, it certainly covers some of the viral entry points. It's a layer between some, but not all, of them.

              Well, it certainly covers some of the viral entry points. It's a layer between some, but not all, of them.

              4 votes
        2. [4]
          reese
          Link Parent
          People touch their face all the time regardless, and when they're wearing a mask they almost always touch it instead. And I get that masks are a permeable layer, but so is our skin. I'd rather...

          People touch their face all the time regardless, and when they're wearing a mask they almost always touch it instead. And I get that masks are a permeable layer, but so is our skin. I'd rather have more layers, like Shrek.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            That's the point. The masks are contaminated, they touch the mask, now their hands are contaminated. Epidemiologists and infection control experts say that masks should only be worn by ill people,...

            when they're wearing a mask they almost always touch it instead.

            That's the point. The masks are contaminated, they touch the mask, now their hands are contaminated.

            Epidemiologists and infection control experts say that masks should only be worn by ill people, or health care professionals delivering care.

            6 votes
            1. patience_limited
              Link Parent
              Depends on your definition of "ill". Most of the time, I wear a Buff/scarf over my face for extended activity outdoors because of perennial allergies. The mask goes in the washer promptly, along...

              Depends on your definition of "ill". Most of the time, I wear a Buff/scarf over my face for extended activity outdoors because of perennial allergies. The mask goes in the washer promptly, along with everything else that's got a layer of Nature on it. The same principles that apply for allergen exposure are also handy for infection control. (Yes, pollen/mold spores are bigger than viruses, but public exposure is mostly through larger contaminated particles and droplets.)

              Right now, I'd also rather not confuse any passers-by, with my drippy nose, sneezing, and coughs.

              3 votes
            2. reese
              Link Parent
              During this pandemic, every time I take off a disposable mask, I landfill it and wash my hands with soap, meaning that viral particles may have contaminated my hands temporarily. I've only been...

              During this pandemic, every time I take off a disposable mask, I landfill it and wash my hands with soap, meaning that viral particles may have contaminated my hands temporarily. I've only been out once so far, by the way, and I only have some masks. Without those masks I bought long before this pandemic, taking a more environmentally friendly approach, I would throw the covering straight into the washer and, again, wash my hands with soap. Wearing the mask must be exercised with prudent hand-washing, social distancing, etc. It's all about driving risk down as close to zero as possible. Not to mention, any time I come back from anywhere during this pandemic, all my clothes go straight into the washer, and I take a shower. Anything I touched prior to having washed my hands gets disinfected after the fact.

              1 vote
  3. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I'm going to bring this up every time I read this: people wearing masks can end up touching their faces more than usual, because they're adjusting the mask or the mask is uncomfortable. People...

    Masks are the best way to enforce the “do not touch your face” mantra we are hearing about for COVID-19.

    any type of face covering is great protection from your biggest threat: your own hands.

    I'm going to bring this up every time I read this: people wearing masks can end up touching their faces more than usual, because they're adjusting the mask or the mask is uncomfortable. People wearing masks need to be extra aware of this tendency.

    Unfortunately, we humans are relatively unique among mammals in that we continuously touch our eyes, noses, and mouths for seemingly no reason every 2.5 minutes. This behavior is hard-wired and starts in utero. Let’s get real — we’re not going to be able to instantly stop doing something we’ve been doing our whole lives.

    Really? I have very quickly changed my habits. Whenever I leave my home now, I am always aware of my hands - what they're touching, what they have touched, where they are now. Whenever I'm out, I simply don't touch my face any more, unless I know they have not touched any potentially infectious surface, or unless I have recently sanitised/washed my hands.

    It can be done.

    4 votes
  4. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    It's still cold enough where I am that I've been wearing a Buff over my nose and mouth when out walking. The material is designed for comfort, breathability, and washability. It's easy to...

    It's still cold enough where I am that I've been wearing a Buff over my nose and mouth when out walking. The material is designed for comfort, breathability, and washability. It's easy to improvise something like this, and it's basically the double-layer of T-shirt material that's been described elsewhere as somewhat protective against inhalation of virus particles.

    3 votes
  5. [4]
    vorotato
    Link
    If everyone is wearing a mask then your doctors (and those who are definitely sick) won't have any. There's a reason this guidance went around in the first place. There are not enough masks to go...

    If everyone is wearing a mask then your doctors (and those who are definitely sick) won't have any. There's a reason this guidance went around in the first place. There are not enough masks to go around. Just stay home.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      This article is about wearing home-made masks, not the ones needed by medical workers. And there are still reasons to go out, like going to the grocery store or for exercise.

      This article is about wearing home-made masks, not the ones needed by medical workers.

      And there are still reasons to go out, like going to the grocery store or for exercise.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        vorotato
        Link Parent
        Sorry where in the article does it talk about homemade masks?

        Sorry where in the article does it talk about homemade masks?

        1 vote
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Sorry, not necessarily home-made, but not the ones that medical workers wear. Let's say "improvised." Also:

          Sorry, not necessarily home-made, but not the ones that medical workers wear. Let's say "improvised."

          While it is true that N95s and surgical masks — which have become scarce due to hoarding — should be prioritized for use by medical professionals at greatest risk for infection, the rest of us could and should wear other protective face coverings.

          Also:

          Nonmedical masks should be worn by everyone going outside. Inexpensive cloth masks are available for purchase online. Alternatively, scarves, bandana-style neck gaiters, and other similar face coverings can work effectively. Masks should be placed over the mouth and nose and removed carefully, without touching the outside surface, and cloth masks should be washed frequently.

          3 votes