At present, more and more people started to wear a mask as to protect themselves from coronavirus. But are these masks really effective in preventing us from catching coronavirus? If do, how does the mask work?
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Scientists don’t yet understand all of the details of how the coronavirus spreads, but they believe that it’s most likely spread by droplets. When the sick coughs or sneezes, even talks or breathes, these droplets with virus could be inhaled by us. But a mask can help largely reduce the chance of breathing droplets in while we have to contact with others closely. By the way, an N95 mask provides much protection than necessary for citizens; a protection mask is enough in most ordinary interaction. So leave N95 masks to the medical workers first.
There are some evidences: a study found that those who wore surgical masks during the flu season were as likely to avoid getting sick as those who wore N95 masks. Both groups were protected around 95% of the time. Other studies suggest that when you wear a mask to take care of the sick, you’re between 60% and 80% less likely to get sick yourself. But masks should be used correctly, that means masks need to fit well and people shouldn’t touch the front of the mask. If you have to reuse masks because of the shortage, you should wait days before reused for viruses to lose its activity.
Except preventing the virus from others, wearing a mask could avoid to spread the virus to people around you if you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus. But masks don’t offer full protection, and can’t replace all the other approaches for fighting the coronavirus, like washing your hands, not touching your face, and social distancing. Comparing with all these other tactics, if used correctly, masks offer an extra layer of protection for you and others.