With the incessant growth of COVID-19 in the world, we’re seeing a directly proportional increase in the purchase of face masks by civilians globally. Mask factories are running at 110% capacity, producing almost 200 million face masks a day in China. These masks include lightweight ones that people wear in the hope of protection against coronavirus as well as the heavy-duty N95 masks used by health-care workers. As individuals seek options to protect themselves, face masks are popular items.

But do face masks protect people from the Coronavirus? Face masks are not that effective, and let’s find out why/

All the information provided is verified and fact-checked from sources such as The Guardian, Business Insider, and of course, the WHO.

Coronavirus is not an air-borne disease

According to Dr Shunmay Yeung from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the virus is not floating around in the air, instead, it is passed through physical touch. On coming into contact with your body, it can only enter through mucus membranes, such as the eyes, nose and mouth. For example, by shaking hands with someone who has the virus and then transmitting the virus to yourself when you touch your face. Also, if we inhale droplets from someone who is coughing and sneezing, we are vulnerable.

Woman Cough (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Woman Coughing (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Based on The Guardian’s research, viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks too. Therefore, masks make little to no difference if you’re walking around town or taking a bus.

When & Who Should Wear Face Masks?

According to the World Health Organisation, if you’re healthy you do not need to wear a mask. Only wear a mask if:

  1. You are healthy, but taking care of a suspected COVID-19 patient or in the close proxity to those sneezing and coughing.
  2. If you are coughing, sneezing or showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others.
  3. Healthcare workers

Please note that masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. So, kids, wash your hands!

How Do I Protect Myself Against The Virus?

It’s super simple: Wash. Your. Hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best precaution is to wash your hands frequently and correctly. Below, you’ll find how to correctly wash your hands according to the WHO.