Sandra Tsing Loh

My Mask is Your Mask

My Mask is Your Mask

          You’re wearing a mask on a walk, minding your own business, and then AHHHHHH, somebody pops up behind you, on a bicycle without a mask! No!   This is Emily Sarah Sumner with the Loh Down on Science: Special Pandemic Edition.   When you think of a mask, what do you think of? Before COVID, masks were not very commonly worn in the US. In western countries, many associated masks with robbers, masquerade balls, and surgeons.   In Eastern countries are different.  For example, in South Korea and China, masks have already a part of everyday life for quite some time. Masks are thought of as polite. It is rude NOT to wear a mask when you are sick.   Masks are more than just a fashion statement. Research has shown that masks can be useful in preventing the spread of the coronavirus! If you have coronavirus, the droplets that come out of your mouth can get others sick. When you cover your mouth with a simple piece of fabric, those droplets can’t travel as far. Scarves, old t-shirts, anything will do!   Countries that are having LESS outbreaks of the coronavirus have worn masks long far before the COVID-19 even existed. Thailand, China, and South Korea all successfully flattened (for now) their curves. On the other hand, the countries hardest hit - like the US, Italy, and Brazil - did not have universal mask-acceptance prior to the virus.   Research suggests that communal mask-wearing can help stop the spread of the virus.  Some places in the US have set rules for everybody to wear facial coverings when in public, like Massachusetts and New York City. However, this is not the case for the whole country. In the US, one study showed that less than HALF of people have started wearing masks since the start of this pandemic.   So I only need to wear a mask if I’m feeling sick, right? No! Research has shown that many people with the coronavirus may show no symptoms for a while.   Let’s say Justin is an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus and you are healthy. If Justin is NOT wearing a mask, the chance of him infecting you is high, even if you choose to wear a mask. If Justin IS wearing a mask, the chance of him infecting you is low. It’s even lower if you decide to wear a mask too. Universal mask-wearing is one of the strongest weapons we have against the coronavirus.   My mask protects you, and your mask protects me! Pretty cool, right?   My mask is your mask! Your mask is my mask! These masks were made for you and me!  (And keep smiling.)     https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/health/coronavirus-second-wave-infections.html https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-basic-dance-steps-everybody-can-follow-b3d216daa343   https://masks4all.co/   https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1          

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