UPDATE:On April 3, 2020, the CDC recommended that the public wear cloth face coverings. These are different from medical masks. Click here to learn more.
Many people don’t understand why the medical community is telling the public to avoid wearing masks during the COVID-19 outbreak. It seems counterintuitive not to take every precaution during a pandemic, but there are some very important reasons why you shouldn’t be wearing a mask.
#1: There is a shortage, and masks need to be reserved for healthcare workers.
Just like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, people have been buying up and hoarding face masks since the COVID-19 outbreak started. This causes a major problem for the healthcare system. Because COVID-19 is a novel (new) virus, there is no medication to treat those infected and no one has been able to build immunity to it. If there are no masks available to protect our healthcare workers, entire teams could become infected making it impossible to care for the people who need it the most.
#2: Social distancing is enough to keep you safe.
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that can only travel so far. Practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene are, by far, the most effective ways to protect yourself and others. The CDC is now recommending (as of March 20, 2020) that all gatherings of 10 people or more should be cancelled. The fewer people you come into close contact with, the fewer people are put at risk.
#3: Incorrectly wearing a mask could make you sick.
Wearing a mask in public doesn’t actually make you any safer. Just like a seatbelt, a mask doesn’t work if you don’t use it correctly. There are many ways that a mask can become contaminated and trapping those germs next to your face makes you more likely to get sick – whether it’s from COVID-19 or any other disease.
#4: Wearing a mask when you don’t need one can harm people who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
The most important thing to remember during this process is that ignoring healthcare guidelines puts vulnerable groups at a heightened risk for COVID-19. Using a mask when you don’t need to takes away that resource from others. For some people, this situation can be life or death. If you don’t fall into the high-risk category, you don’t need a mask.
GBMC, like all other hospitals, is always welcoming in-kind donations, but is currently restricted on the number of visitors. If you have N95 masks or other supplies, please call 443-849-6219 before coming to coordinate your donation or fill out this form.
*Click here for more information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)*