Since the outbreak of COVID-19, some countries have asked their residents to wear masks whenever they leave the house.
While this has not been a request made by the Australian Government, many Aussies have chosen to wear masks over the last few months. If anything, the advice from health officials here in Australia has been mixed, with many asking people not to purchase surgical masks due to PPE running low for healthcare professionals.
A new study, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), has found that countries that brought in mask-wearing experienced a drop in infections, as reported by news.com.au.
This research indicates that cases of COVID-19 shifted downwards when mask-wearing rules were brought in on April 6 in northern Italy and April 17 in New York City — two places that were amongst the hardest hit by the virus.
“This protective measure alone significantly reduced the number of infections, that is, by over 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and over 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9,” the researchers said.
“Other mitigation measures, such as social distancing implemented in the United States, are insufficient by themselves in protecting the public.”
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The team of researchers found that airborne transmission is the dominant spread of the virus, so by covering your face, you’re greatly reducing this risk.
“We conclude that wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with simultaneous social distancing, quarantine, and contact tracing, represents the most likely fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic,” the researchers said.
“Our work also highlights the fact that sound science is essential in decision-making for the current and future public health pandemics.”
While we have fared well in Australia, wearing a mask to the shops is still a sound health decision — especially if we face a second wave of COVID-19. But, not all masks are created equal.
Clear Collective is an Australian company that creates reusable and disposable cotton face masks that come with or without valves — depending on your preference. These masks stop pollution, pollen and bacteria from filtering in or out and come in different patterns and stylish prints, so you can toss that old medical mask you’ve been reusing.
The team at Clear Collective began producing masks in 2019, as they were in need of pollution filtering masks that didn’t look like surgical masks for working on their family property in Bilpin, which is prone to bushfires.
When it comes to choosing your own mask, you can opt for with or without a valve. The difference is that a mask with a valve will create less condensation within the mask and face area, while a no valve mask will create more condensation in this area.
Next, choose between a reusable mask or a disposable one. Resuable masks can be washed, which needs to be done every five days during heavy use. Simply hand wash it with hot soapy water and allow to air dry. Disposable masks, on the other hand, last for seven uses when using eight hours a day.
All reusable masks come with filters that last for 50 hours of use. After this time, simply dispose of the filter, follow the cleaning instructions and pop in a new filter.
Clear Collective masks come in sizes and designs for both adults and kids, including the following: