Issues with Cloth Face Masks
Medical experts are pretty uniform in delivering this message about the use
of cloth masks:
Cloth face masks MAY reduce the spread of infectious respiratory droplets from the person wearing the mask.
They do not afford significant protection to the person wearing the mask.
To drive this message home, consider this text:
“The evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective
measure against covid-19. However, there is enough evidence to support the use of facemasks for
short periods of time by particularly vulnerable individuals when in transient higher risk situations.”
[BMJ Article, 7 April 2020]
In short, cloth masks MAY reduce the transmission (outward) of the virus,
but other personal protective measures are proven to be more effective
including frequent hand washing with soap, minimizing touching of the face, disinfecting
surfaces, isolation, maintaining physical distancing and using barrier protection where
it is hard to maintain safe distances from others.
In the course of my research, I became increasing concerned about
the issues associated with using cloth masks. This is a partial list:
For the most part, there is no quality control on the materials used or construction
Loose fibres can be inhaled
The mask muffles the voice and hides non-verbal facial cues - hindering communication
Largely ineffective if not worn properly, and from observation, many are not
People with existing respiratory conditions - a noted vulnerable population -
should not wear masks which could impede breathing
Cloth masks have reduced effectiveness when worn by people with beards
Cloth masks need to be washed - with soap or detergent - between uses
When a cloth mask does capture a virus, it traps it against the face of the person wearing it
Wearing a mask leads to more face touching, which transmits the virus
A cloth mask does not protect the eyes
Wearing a mask can provide a false sense of security, which I have observed personally
(medical professionals using N95 respirators do get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus)
Reuse of cloth masks can lead to other health issues (e.g. skin rashes and infections)
Face masks are uncomfortable in hot weather
Coughs, sneezes, and heavy breathing can drive jets of breath - and potentially the virus -
forward through the fabric, and deflect out around all the edges (do not seal to the face)
Cloth masks are not a panacea for the COVID-19 pandemic.
All material related to the curtain design for face-shields is copyrighted by Darryl McMahon.
This includes, but is not limited to the designs, patterns and instructions for the curtain construction
and the terms: 'Curtains for COVID'; 'Curtains4COVID'; 'COVID Curtain'; 'face-shield curtain';
and 'face-shield wraparound'.
All rights reserved.
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