The Case For Wearing Masks
We’re hearing conflicting messages about the importance of wearing masks as a tool to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Historical precedent and scientific evidence both support the value of wearing masks to reduce the spread of airborne and droplet diseases. While many governments and leaders have resorted to shelter-in-place orders and mandatory quarantines, I do not believe such measures are sustainable for the months or years before society achieves heard immunity (either through exposure or through a vaccine) against the COVID-19 virus. This means we need a viable alternative that keeps society moving, even if that level is less than before the outbreak. This is where masks can play an important role.
Below are three videos that discuss the importance of masks. The last video is produced by Lex Fridman, one of the leaders in the AI field. He references research by other AI leaders / researchers, who all reach the same conclusion regarding the value and importance of wearing masks. Their findings are based on numerous scientific papers.
Updated April 2, 2020: Added Dr. Chris Martenson’s video on the importance of masks
Updated April 1, 2020: Added video from the Czech Republic on the value of wearing masks in public
How To Make A Mask
I believe that officials have not called for everyone to wear masks because they fear everyone will deplete any supply of manufactured masks. Such demand would only increase the difficulty of getting them in the hands of our front-line medical, emergency, and distribution personnel. Fortunately, most of us do not require N95 masks and can make masks from materials already found in our homes.
So, don’t run out to buy these medical-grade masks when they are needed by those who must interact with others – some of whom might be sick. There are a lot of sites and YouTube videos available, so search for a mask that you feel comfortable making with the supplies you have at hand.
Masks reduce, but will not completely eliminate the infection risk. While some level of protection is better than no protection, it important to keep practicing your other protective measures of physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
Last Updated: April 2, 2020
Steven B. Bryant is a futurist, researcher, and author who investigates the innovative application and strategic implications of science and technology on society and business. He is also a computer science graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he is specializing in machine learning and interactive intelligence. Steven is the author of DISRUPTIVE: Rewriting the rules of physics, which is a thought–provoking book that shows where relativity fails and introduces Modern Mechanics, a unified model of motion that fundamentally changes how we view modern physics. DISRUPTIVE is available at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and other booksellers!