New Rules on Facemasks
The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks. However, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus now says that “in light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments”.
Some countries already recommend or mandate face coverings in public
Many countries around the world, as well as some US states, have implemented various directions for people to wear face masks in public places to try and limit the spread of coronavirus. In parts of Asia, it’s almost expected out of courtesy and safety to wear a face mask, but places like Singapore have now introduced fines if people don’t wear one. The US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain”. Some states have enforced the use of masks in shops or other public spaces and the CDC has encouraged people to make their own cloth masks.
Facemasks in Australia
The advice on wearing masks in Australia is less clear cut. In a report from the Australian Government’s Department of Health updated on June 11th, the use of masks was deemed “not recommended” while the rate of community transmission of COVID-19 is low. On the other hand, other experts, including the ABC’s Dr Norman Swan have suggested that wearing masks is another way of reducing that low transmission risk even further. Professor Dale Fisher, an Australian infectious disease expert also said that it should be part of Australia’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US climbed to an all-time high of more than 50,000 per day on Thursday, with the infection curve rising in 40 out of 50 states in a reversal that has largely spared only the north-east. The surge has been blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks or following other social distancing rules as states lifted their lockdowns over the past few weeks.
These statistics have prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to issue an Executive order for all Texans to wear face coverings in public. He has increasingly cited face masks as a key step in keeping the coronavirus at bay, but he had repeatedly stopped short of requiring their use until Thursday’s order.
“One of the best ways to keep businesses open, while also slowing the spread, is to wear a face mask like this,” he said in a taped video address from his office.
Likewise, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that because of an increase in the rate of COVID-19 infection, starting next week, businesses statewide will not be able to serve customers who don’t wear facial coverings.
“When we wear a mask, it is a signal about something about us, it is a signal we care about the community, we care about our loved ones, we care about those we are doing business with,” said Gov. Inslee.
RTBU calls for mandatory use of facemasks in Victoria
In Victoria, the current advice is to wear a mask if sick or caring for someone who could have COVID-19. A call for mandatory masks comes after the state locked down 36 suburbs in ten postcodes across Melbourne due to high community transmission.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has now called for mandatory use of face masks on Victoria public transport amid the coronavirus crisis in that state.
“The RTBU has been advocating for masks from day one, we have pushed for anything that will make members safer and reduce risks for the travelling public.” RTBU Branch Secretary Luba Grigorovitch said in a statement.
Prevention is better than cure
Generally, individuals should be free to make their own decisions, however, there is a strong moral case for protecting the community from the risk that those with COVID-19, who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, might pass on. This is the essence of the “harm principle”. This is something that each of us must take very seriously. As countries worldwide begin to relax social distancing restrictions and considering the high likelihood of a second COVID-19 wave, requiring use of face masks in public might help in reducing coronavirus spread.
Where to buy facemasks right now
If you’re trying to figure out where to buy face masks right now, look no further than Mediscrubs. We have several designs available to buy online now.
ADJUSTABLE REUSABLE FACE MASK
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Mediscrubs offers a reusable and adjustable face masks in a solid black, with valves and they also include pockets for filters. Originally created for pollution and pollen filtering, they’re a good option for someone looking to wear a simple, classic-looking mask on the regular. Shop now and get 2 x FREE Filters
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Also equivalent to P2 respirators in the Australian Standard, disposable KN95 face masks filter out very fine particles from the air and reduce the risk of transmitting airborne infectious diseases while working in or passing through potentially contaminated environments. Working to help keep you safe from potentially harmful particle, the KN95 facemask assists in reducing your exposure to airborne particle so that you can maintain a healthy respiratory system.
Wearing a face mask may not have been a priority, but since they are now slowly becoming mandatory, chances are you will need one, or two in the near future.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.