“In America, we still tend to think of face masks as a defensive shield to ward off illness. This is one reason there has been a run on respirators and hospital-grade masks. People treat it like a space helmet and want the strongest possible protection, doctors be damned.
But that is thinking about it backwards. The point of wearing a mask in public is not to protect yourself, but to protect other people from you. We know that many people who fall ill won’t show symptoms during the time when they are most infectious. Some people may even remain asymptomatic through the whole course of the disease, never knowing they had it.
The safest thing to do is assume you’re sick all the time, and wear the mask.
The job of protecting you, meanwhile, falls to everyone else! That’s why it’s so important that we adopt mask wearing as a social norm. When enough sick people wear masks, even of the most rudimentary kind, it becomes difficult for a disease like coronavirus to spread in the population.”
I am beginning to see many more people wearing masks than I did when this outbreak started but it’s nowhere near perfect yet. We haven’t had an experience like this in the United States until now so we don’t have the social conditioning that Asian countries adopted a long time ago…it is definitely starting to happen now.