To Wear Or Not To Wear … Masks?

April 16, 2020
via @cdc.gov

We know social distancing is essential to curb the spread of coronavirus. The next best thing? Handwashing. Good so far. Now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people in the United States wear a mask when going outside. Masks have been in the news for a while now, even before these recommendations came into place, so why is everyone supposed to wear them now?

Most of us know that doctors and nurses need masks. They’re the ones who are most likely to be in contact with sick people. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, many hospitals and facilities were underprepared and faced a huge shortage of masks. Thankfully, good samaritans everywhere worked hard to get masks to doctors, nurses, and hospitals. In some communities, people with sewing machines at home have been stitching masks for hospital workers!

So back to our question: Why is the CDC now recommending that everyone—not just healthcare workers—use masks? Because while social distancing helps contain the spread of the virus, it’s not always possible to avoid other people, such as in grocery stores or pharmacies. Cities like Los Angeles, California, have now made it mandatory for residents to wear masks. What type of masks are people wearing? Well, this is where creativity comes into play! From transparent masks so that the hearing impaired can read lips, to fun patterns and styles, people across the world are finding creative ways to make masks not just functional but fashionable too. Even high schoolers, like Ayan Gupta, are stepping up to help. He used his high school’s 3D printer to make masks for local hospitals.

But remember, not all masks are alike. Cloth masks can help slow the spread of the virus, but first responders often need surgical masks and N-95 respirators for situations where they are dealing with sick people. The decision to wear a mask or not? Ultimately it depends on city rules and how your family wants to keep safe!

Are your family members using store-bought or homemade masks when they step outside? If you’re making masks, we’d love to hear about how you made them! Send pictures of your mask and instructions for how you made them to editor@xyzanews.com. We’d love to share your creation with the Xyza community!