Face masks during pandemic—are they effective?


Saman Shariff, Journalism student

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 is spreading from America’s biggest cities to its suburbs and has begun encroaching many across the nation. The fight to prevention is taking its peak as many people are relying on face masks- whether it be surgical or homemade- in order to tackle the spread of the virus. The question is are the masks actually effective? 

Many sources all around the world have different opinions about wearing masks in public places. The World Health Organization (WHO) have previously said that medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers only and not the general public. However, now they are suggesting that a more widespread use of masks will become the norm as the world adjusts to living with the novel coronavirus.

Even though masks are not the cure to the coronavirus , they are a way to slow it down and help prevent the spread to others. According to Science News, many laboratory experiments have shown that the masks significantly reduce the amounts of various airborne viruses coming from infected patients. In other words, it is acceptable to argue that face masks are effective during the pandemic as they are helping to slow down the rate of the infected. 

Prior to April 3, 2020,  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it is necessary for healthy people to be wearing masks during this pandemic. Just recently the CDC started advising Americans to voluntarily wear a basic cloth or fabric face mask when going out. What changed that thinking was a recognition that people were spreading the virus even when they seemed healthy. 

Since the WHO and CDC have both been around for many novel diseases and now the recent coronavirus, they are considered experts on how to handle this pandemic.Therefore, it is important that every individual uses precautions, like wearing face masks in public places, in order to help stabilize the curve.