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Does wearing a mask prevent coronavirus? Reality may surprise you

2020-03-05 13:30


According to coverage by the New York Times, the surgeon general of the U.S., Jerome M. Adams, tweeted on Saturday morning, " Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!". 

(Source: abcnews)

However, is it true? does wearing masks not prevent people from coronavirus?


The truth is, "masks primarily prevent a person from giving the disease to someone else." Dr. Michael J. Ryan, executive director of the health emergency program at the World Health Organization said. However, "the most important thing everyone can do is wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face and observe very precise hygiene." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also emphasized it similarly, "The best precautions for the public are the standard, everyday ways to avoid all germs: wash your hands frequently, try not to touch your face, and avoid close contact with sick people." 


Although "air can also get in around the edges of the masks, particularly flat surgical masks", Cramer, M. et al, said, "most people are unlikely to know how to wear these masks and could accidentally contaminate themselves if they touch the outside of the mask when they remove it and then touch their face." 


So, in conclusion, masks are helpful, but if you're wearing a mask and then take it off to pick your nose, you're just "putting the cart before the horse". Not that wearing a mask guarantees your safety and health when going outside, staying healthy needs comprehensive personal hygiene habits including practicing regular handwashing with soap, changing into clean clothes every single day, cleaning the teeth at least once a day...etc.  


Stay healthy, everyone! 




Surgeon General Urges the Public to Stop Buying Face Masks by Maria Cramer and Knvul Sheikh, the New York Times

武漢肺炎:醫用口罩能防止病毒傳播嗎?by BBC Chinese

People are racing to buy face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak, but they probably won't protect you from illness by Holly Secon, the Business Insider

(since some links with viruses will paralyze the system, so I attached the coverage titles and editors' names only. People who are interested can search for these articles through Google)