At ITC we have been regularly asked should we wear a mask when we go out or not?
The WHO Advice On Masks
According to WHO you only need to wear a mask if you are sick or caring for someone who is unwell. They also state that wearing a mask is only effective if you used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with soap and water. The most effective way to flatten the curve is to stay at home.
To stop the spread, the US Centre for Disease Control is now recommending that if you go out you should wear a home made mask. This will stop you from spreading the virus (because you might not have symptoms) to another person. It is about slowing the spread, not about protecting an individual from the virus.
WHO is currently convening a panel of advisers to discuss whether this advice should change after the USCDC’s statement.
US Centre for Disease Control
Today the US Centre for Disease Control has recommended the use of cloth face coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission of COVID-19.
The following statement was issued:
“Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
In light of new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) esp. in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Maintaining 6-feet min. social distancing remains important to slowing spread of COVID-19. CDC also advises use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The cloth face coverings recommended to slow spread of COVID-19 are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those critical supplies must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
Australian Position on Use Of Masks
According to the ABC, Commonwealth Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has advised that at this stage Australia will not be making the same recommendation as the United States. He stated:
“Australia’s public health authorities are “actively looking” at advising the general public to wear face masks, but maintain there is no need to wear them at this stage of the coronavirus outbreak.
Commonwealth Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said face masks were crucial protective equipment for health workers, but “not recommended for the Australian public”
Professor Kelly pointed to limited supplies of masks, and potential misuse that could make them “more dangerous”, as reasons for not advising the widespread use of them.
“At the moment, we do not think that is a good idea, partly because of that constraint of supply, but also the effectiveness in relation to people walking around with masks,” he said at a press conference.
Professor Kelly said even if there was an unlimited supply of masks, he still would not advise everyone to use them.
“Using a mask incorrectly can actually make it more dangerous.
“For example, if you are not used to wearing a mask, it can become quite uncomfortable … it can become quite itchy underneath the mask.”
Professor Kelly said if you touched a surface with the virus, then scratched an itch underneath the mask, you could “increase your risk, rather than decrease your risk” of becoming infected.”
But he said the advice could change as the coronavirus outbreak progressed.
We can continue to look at ways, and indeed we are actively looking at ways, of thinking about mask use into the future.
“If we got that point, then certainly, there would need to be a strong discussion about how to fit a mask properly and how to use a mask properly.”
A movement called #Masks4All has gone viral as more people make and wear homemade masks to wear in public.
How you can participate in the movement:
- Visit the #Masks4All site to find out more and to learn about how to make a mask at home;
- Share your mask photo and/or join the conversation on social media using #masks4all; and
- Photoshop a mask onto your social media profiles.
Where to Buy a Home Made Mask in Lane Cove?
Julia Park and her mother own Masterpiece Alterations and Tailoring. Her mum started marking masks and providing them free to people over 65. They have also donated some to Sydney Community Services.
They are more than happy to make masks and sell them to the general public (they will also donate 10% of all proceeds to Delvena Women’s Refuge). You will see from the picture above that they take pride in their products.
If you would like to find out more you can contact them below
Face Sheilds for Front Line Workers
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