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Why Should You Wear a Mask?


A man putting on a mask, with a group of people behind him also wearing masks
Virologists and other medical experts have stressed the importance of wearing face coverings in public to quell the rampant spread of Coronavirus. As COVID-19 is an airborne pathogen, masks and face shields serve as a barrier, inhibiting the transmission of airborne particles both to and from other people. Masks also protect the wearer from a variety of other airborne particles, like pollution or second hand smoke. By wearing a mask, you keep yourself and your community safe.

Think of a mask like a raincoat. If you are wet, it will keep you from getting others wet. If others around you are wet, your raincoat will keep you dry. A mask is essentially the same concept. Not only are you protecting yourself from exposing others to your potentially harmful airborne pathogens, you are shielding your nose and mouth from breathing in those droplets. But will any mask work?

Experts suggest not just any face covering will do. COVID-19 is an airborne virus, meaning it can be contracted by simply breathing in air to which the virus has been exposed. As such, protective equipment that filters out potentially harmful air is critical. Filtered masks, like the KN95, actually filtrate out toxins in the air like secondhand smoke, smog, dirt, dust, and more, something a regular cloth covering simply won't do. The essential component of PPE is to provide that protective shield over the most vulnerable part of the respiratory system: the nose and mouth.

Even if you are young, fit, and healthy, wearing a mask is essential to protect those around you. If you have regular interpersonal contact, even if you can stay six feet away from those around you, you should be wearing PPE to reduce the risk of transmission to the more vulnerable.

The governments of nearly every country in the world endorse the wearing of masks as an effective measure against the spread of COVID-19. Every state in the United States, excluding South Dakota, has some type of mask law in place, meaning the use of masks is not suggested; it's mandatory. Keep in compliance with your local ordinances, remember to practice social distancing, and wear a mask in public every time! 
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