rom hilarious to downright ridiculous, different people have come up with varying designs of face masks in the fight against coronavirus. Initially, the World Health Organisation had made it clear that only health workers needed to wear face masks. However, other bodies, including the CDC, have research results that suggest otherwise. Recently, WHO also attested to having only limited information for everyday mask use, and claimed to be doing more research into the concept.
To Face Mask or Not?
Even before the Central of Disease Control changed its advice with the worsening pandemic, several health experts and departments had started to suggest that people wear a face mask of some kind. Health practitioners caution that face masks are for an additional layer of protection, and shouldn’t replace the other preventive measures. Therefore, using a face mask must not give you a false sense of security. Besides, the CDC believes face masks primarily protect those around you in case you are infected but are asymptomatic. Altogether, most authorities agree that they might not be the worst idea.
However, when it comes to the type of face masks non-health workers should use, the results are varied. Everyone agrees that surgical masks should be for health workers because they need them the most during this period. But evidence shows that homemade masks can provide only limited protection from viruses. For instance, a laboratory study conducted in 2013, published in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal, shows that masks made from everyday items aren’t the most effective. Luckily, the same research found that homemade masks provide some form of protection, even if it’s not absolute. Materials like T-shirts with blended cotton fabric, vacuum bags, and tea towels seemed to have produced positive results.
Therefore, since homemade masks aren’t as effective as surgical ones, and are subject to constant touching, it is best only to use them as an alternative. Practicing social distancing and washing your hands are still very much recommended. Experts advise that people wear face masks only when they go out in public or are around other people that are non-family members.
The Regular, The Random and The Bizarre
For makeshift masks, people all over the world have found creative ways to use everyday items. Even companies are now involved in the effort, with Apple providing face shields for health workers. Max Siedentopf, a German-Namibian designer, released a series of 12 images showing everyday items he had converted into face-masks. People found them provocative and offensive, forcing Siedentopf to apologize. Nevertheless, the ideas for makeshift masks from everyday items keep accumulating. Some make matching masks with their outfits, while others wear large head-to-toe coverage materials. Others still make designer masks that are expensive.
Below are pictures of creative ways people are protecting themselves and showing solidarity with those affected by the pandemic.