masks. Masks! MASKS!!!!
At the beginning we heard masks didn’t work.
Now we realllllly know better!
- February 2021 Update: CDC provides updated research that shows double masks and tight-fitting masks may prevent up to 96% of COVID-19 transmissions!
- August 2020 Update: Broad and consistent evidence is demonstrating that Wearing Masks and Face Coverings is Working!
Additional studies on mask effectiveness can be found here, here, and here.
- July 2020: Good for Golden ;-). As reported in the July 15th City Coronavirus update, mask wearing has improved in Downtown & along Clear Creek (August note, this decreased somewhat related to people recreating with tubes on the creek).
- Remember that infected Hair Stylist early on? Wore a mask. 140 people did NOT get sick with COVID-19.
- SBD? Silent but Deadly Coronavirus Transmission?
o Studies from our own CSU suggest management for people not showing or having delayed symptoms is critical.
o The US National Academy of Sciences reaffirms critical need to manage silent transmission from non-symptomatic individuals. Masks play a role!
- Want more science? Jefferson County Public Health has Mask Guidance with more than a dozen cited studies for review.
- $$$ Yale University reports on a financial model suggesting mask-wearing is worth $3,000 or more per person in reduced mortality risk.
Don’t forget: Good hand hygiene and physical distancing are the best ways to reduce your risk. Using face coverings when unable to distance is a reasonable (yet imperfect) way to go. Here’s what Johns Hopkins Medicine has to say about masks.
Easy. Understood. Expected.
Thursday July 9, Golden passes mandatory mask requirement.
Order extended County-wide July 14th.
Statewide order expanded for mask requirements July 16th.
Like many health professionals, I’m fielding questions about masks. I research Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines for my Hospice’s 100+ community healthcare personnel and assisted Golden organizations and volunteers stay safer and sort through all the advice.
Masks are demonstrated to be beneficial in supporting our health with improving understanding of transmission through airborne aerosolization (micro droplets), not simply larger droplets and fomite transmission (inanimate objects such as door handles, countertops, utensils, etc.).
June update: A meta study looked at 172 other studies, published in the Lancet in June. The analysis found that face mask use “could result in a large reduction in risk of infection.” It also found reduction in transmission with physical distancing and eye protection.
Masks requirements now in effect for more than 60% of Coloradans.
Re-breathing CO2? DEBUNKED myth.
CO2 rebreathing is not a problem. Surgeons and health care professionals wear tighter-fitting masks 12+hours a day without issue. CO2 goes through the mask, and the mask only holds a tiny quantity of air compared to what we breathe. This BBC article is as good as any in debunking this dangerous myth.
Denver’s response to the 1918 Flu epidemic and mask wearing. A Cautionary Tale and neat photograph by a University of Michigan Medical Historian (who knew that was a thing? 😉
Buckle UP! Let’s save lives (maybe our own) & keep business open.
On Friday April 3rd, Governor Polis urged Coloradoans to adopt a “Strong Mask Culture” when leaving the house. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) now says the same.
Why? How do we make or get one? And how do we wear a mask?
“The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”CDC recommendations on cloth mask use
Disclaimer: Nobody’s an expert on this right now, including me. I’m sharing thoughts (not medical advice) regarding masks and resources to help you make educated decisions about your own health in this uncertain time.
Why wear a mask? Especially cloth masks or face coverings?
- Even a cloth mask or other non-medical face covering provides some protection against virus germs getting into your nose or mouth and infecting you.
- If you have the COVID-19 virus? (more than 25% of infected people do not have symptoms) There is now significant evidence that wearing masks reduces transmission of the virus to someone else.
- Cloth masks and non-medical face coverings allow our community to direct medical/surgical and N95 masks for use by healthcare professionals.
- Finally, new evidence suggests the financial $$$ benefit of wearing masks could be as much as $5,000+ per person! (read more from Yale).
Tip: The CDC and Surgeon General encourage the public to allow HCP (health care personnel) first access to surgical and N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.
How do I make a mask? How do I wear one?
- The CDC has provided new guidance to make and wear a cloth mask (PDF version here)
- The US Surgeon General posted a Youtube video creating a DIY, no-sewing required cloth mask from household items
- Here’s a visual post on correctly donning a face mask from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).
- Jefferson County Open Space offers advice on wearing masks outdoors. (Hint: if you’re sick, don’t go out).
- A regional health care system provides advice on sewing and donating cloth masks. Want to help locally? The Golden Civic Foundation is working with Golden’s Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum to sew and donate masks.
- The NY Times developed a guide with multiple sew and non-sew templates to help you make masks, and points to evidence on the best materials to use for cloth masks.
- Just as important: How NOT TO WEAR a mask!
- PLEASE! Don’t forget to continue washing hands, practicing good hand hygiene and protecting yourself and others with proven and effective ways to slow the spread of disease.
- I encourage everyone to strongly advocate at regional, state and Federal levels to FIX THE SUPPLY ISSUE. It is distressing as a health care worker seeing patients on the front line to see the richest country in the world unable to supply tested and effective PPE to keep us safer.
Tip: Visit COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites for updated information relevant to residents in Golden.Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN