PSA: Wear your mask

Video by Michael Schwalm

Ian Toney, Opinion Editor

Masks. Formerly something we only saw in hospitals and hardware stores, they have become an undeniable necessity in our modern life for almost a year now, required in every business, public space, and school. It’s quite common for us to remember the freedom we had before Covid-19 became a reality, but in order to return to normalcy, it is important for us to not only wear masks and practice social distancing, but to do so correctly.

One of the most important things about wearing masks is wearing them the right way. It is an unfortunate and all too common mistake to wear them only covering the mouth. In order to be effective, masks must cover the chin, mouth, and nose completely, and the metal band should be squeezed to fit your nose bridge if you’re wearing a standard surgical mask. If you have a reusable face covering, make sure to wash it regularly with the rest of your laundry, and throw away disposable masks when you are done with them. If you can help it, don’t touch your mask: Covid-19 doesn’t spread easily by surface contact, but it isn’t impossible. Generally, cloth masks are shown to be the most effective at preventing the escape of harmful particles, with 50-70% of fine droplets and particles blocked by multi-layer cloth masks according to the CDC.

On top of this, it is important to practice social distancing. In public, you should stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not a part of your household, in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Mucus droplets that could contain the Covid-19 virus are generally spread through coughing, sneezing, and coughing, which still has a small chance of happening even while wearing masks. Even if you are certain that the people in the vicinity are not infected, social distance anyway; some individuals are asymptomatic, and can unknowingly infect many others before they even realize they are sick.

Lastly, sanitation and proper hygiene should be practiced at all times. Frequently wash or sanitize your hands after interacting with others or touching your mask, and wash countertops, tables, and objects you lend out to prevent the spread. As stated before, while it is not the virus’ main method of infection, Covid-19 can last anywhere from hours to days on a surface depending on a variety of factors such as humidity, light, and the type of surface in question.

A combination of these methods is the best way to fight off the spread of Covid-19 and flatten the curve. America may be one of the most infected countries with 25 million total cases according to the CDC, but things are by no means over. If we work together to stay healthy, wear masks, and practice social distancing, we can return to the days from before the pandemic started.

 

Our other thoughts on wearing a mask:

Cidney’s editorial 

Morgan’s editorial