The WHO does not recommend masks. Its website states:
WHO: “ONLY WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE ILL WITH COVID-19 SYMPTOMS…OR LOOKING AFTER SOMEONE WHO MAY HAVE COVID-19.”
The Canadian government probably follows WHO and does not recommend masks either. Their recommendations about masks are flawed:
Canada: “IF YOU ARE A HEALTHY INDIVIDUAL, THE USE OF A MASK IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.”
But, just because you feel “healthy”, you can still be infected and spreading the virus. There are several cases of asymptomatic transmission. That is, people without symptoms have been spreading the virus to others.
“…375 Chinese cities…86 per cent of cases were “undocumented” – that is, asymptomatic or had only very mild symptoms…they were the source of 79 per cent of further infections.”
In a mass-testing experiment of the 3,400 residents of an Italian town last month, it was found that 75 per cent of participants infected with COVID-19 were completely asymptomatic.
Canada: “WEARING A MASK WHEN YOU ARE NOT ILL MAY GIVE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. THERE IS A POTENTIAL RISK OF INFECTION WITH IMPROPER USE AND DISPOSAL. THEY ALSO NEED TO BE CHANGED FREQUENTLY.”
Even if there “is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal”, masks reduce the chance of getting infected. Even if the mask fails at stopping infection, it reduces the inoculum, which enables the wearer to be less sick. Read: Everyone Should Wear Masks.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COUNTRIES
Several Asian countries have low levels of cases. Their people are going to work and school. What do they have in common? Their governments told everyone to wear masks.
But most other countries around the world will not wear masks, due to vanity or other beliefs.
Some governments are telling their people to not wear masks, because they and the hospitals are in competition with the public in buying masks. They did not plan, prepare and stock up on masks.
In fact, some countries did worse than this. Canada sent 16 tonnes of masks, gloves, face screens and other equipment to China on February 9. Then Canada let hoarders send more equipment to China. Australia let hoarders send 90 tonnes of medical supplies to China.
Their governments, such as Canada’s, should say: “We are sorry. We screwed up. We should not have sent our supplies to China. We should not have let hoarders send supplies to China. We should have made sure that there was enough for Canadians. We should have planned, prepared, ordered and manufactured masks since January.” Instead, they are trying to stop their people from competing (and protecting themselves) by shaming them.
Here is Canada’s Health Official, who would not ban travel from China in January (when Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore did), still telling us to not wear masks (21:30 in the video):
“Our advice remains as it has been that the average American does not need a N95 mask. These are really more for health care providers.”
The N95 respirator is the best, but any type of mask helps, even construction, painter’s, homemade or Halloween masks. Even a scarf or bandana is better than nothing.
Interviewer: “Then can we say that, because everyone in Korea wears a mask, there is less infection in general?”
Expert: “Absolutely…masks have been proven to prevent infection…Just look at China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. In Asian countries, people wear masks. In the meantime, if you look at many European countries and the US, the virus is spreading rapidly. One of the reasons Korea has a relatively low rate of infection is because everyone is wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly.”
“one of the key reasons for the decrease in the growth of the cases is a massive country-wide community initiative to create and wear home-made masks”. In just 10 days, the country went from no mask usage to nearly 100 per cent usage, with nearly all the masks made at home with easily accessible materials, like old t-shirts.”
I do not know if masks will stop the spread completely. But based on how the virus spreads, masks will reduce the spread significantly.
According to the CDC:
“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
* Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
* Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
If everyone is required to wear a mask, then this means that infected people are wearing masks as well. This means that “respiratory droplets” are mostly or completely stopped when the infected person “coughs”, “sneezes” or breathes. They are not spraying the virus into the air or onto surfaces for others to breathe in or touch.
Even the CDC is not necessarily correct. If you are “6 feet” away from someone, you might still get infected.
“viral droplets expelled in coughs and sneezes can travel in a moist, warm atmosphere at speeds of 10-30 metres (33ft-100ft) per second, creating a cloud that can span approximately 7-8 metres (23ft-27ft).”
“3ft to 6ft (1-2 metres) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel”
There are two types of countries in the world:
- Virus not growing exponentially.
- Virus growing exponentially.
Countries of the first type include several Asian countries. Their governments tell their people to wear masks. It is not a coincidence that those countries have tiny or manageable numbers of cases. In some of these countries, people are going to work, attending school, going to restaurants and not worried about flattening the curve.
Countries of the second type are freaking out about flattening the curve, trapped in their homes, missing work and school, and not enjoying life such as going to restaurants. They refuse to wear masks. Even worse, their governments are telling their people to not wear masks. Consequently, many people who would be willing to wear masks, do not, because they feel self-conscious, do not want to stand out and do not want others to think that they are infected. So, these countries need to maintain strict lock downs, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantines. If the virus stops growing exponentially and if they want to restart their economies, even partially, their governments need to tell their people to wear masks and impose fines or punishment for not doing so.