To mask or not to mask during COVID-19 – my final verdict (Opinion)
According to the New York Times, as recently as two days before I'm writing this, the CDC advised everyone to wear a mask to protect against the possibility of infection with COVID-19. According to the CNN, the World Health Organization three days before I'm writing this said unless you are sick or caring for someone who has the novel coronavirus, you should NOT wear one citing the INCREASED risk if masks are worn improperly.
I suspect that the real reason they are advising against them is an attempt to save them for the more vulnerable, and for healthcare workers for whom there is a rapidly dwindling supply. That’s why I felt uncomfortable when I went out the other day with a face mask on — even though I saw many others wearing them, too. It felt selfish to me to be wearing one when healthcare workers are the ones more at risk of becoming sick.
But at the same time, those who are pro-mask, whether in this country or others that have been besieged by COVID-19, claim that the wearing of these masks has helped to “flatten the curve.” Because we may be asymptomatic and yet still carrying the virus, it makes sense, according to resources, for everyone to just put one on.
So who are you supposed to listen to with all of this conflicting information? And with so much changing on a day-to-day basis, what if they found out too late that we should’ve all been wearing them all along? So here is what I have decided to do. And, in case you were looking for some brilliant insight, I have to disappoint you. And it’s nothing more pedestrian than “better safe than sorry.”
It has been recommended that every household designate one person to be the errand-goer to reduce the risk of multiple people running around infecting the public. In my household, I am that person. I have two high risk individuals that live with me, so I want to go over and above when it comes to precautions.
I don’t have hundreds of extra masks lying around my home that I could give to hospitals, anyway. I have one surgical-type mask (which I wash a LOT!!!) and a couple of other makeshift masks that I have fashioned by myself with stuff I have lying around. At first I felt like an idiot walking around with a surgical mask on. I also felt as though people might be judging me (as people are wont to do throughout this emergency.) Then, I thought of another pedestrian insight: Screw them.
I’m not gonna lie. I get a little judgmental when I see people wearing the N-95 masks in public. Cause THOSE are the ones that medical types REALLY need. But I digress..
Neither my ONE surgical mask nor my DIY scraps-from-the-bottom-of-the-fabric-bin masks could possibly be used by bona fide healthcare workers in bona fide medical situations. So I’m wearing one any time I have to go out. Because I know it definitely can’t hurt. And it possibly can help.
More from New Jersey 101.5: