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Changing the Culture of Wearing a Mask

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Apr 3, 2020 3:20:43 PM

Woman wearing a mask in public

The more conversations I have with people, the more it is apparent that everyone doesn’t yet understand that they need to wear a mask when they go into a public place (grocery, gas station, etc).

Here is a great short explanation and here is a great long explanation

In order for everyone to be on the same page about universal-public-mask wearing, we need to change the meaning, the intention, the belief, and ultimately the relationship we have with wearing masks

To do this let’s change the meaning of wearing a mask. Let's start making mask-wearing a...

  • sign of respect for others as well as a sign of politeness

  • signal to everyone that you are taking this seriously

  • way to decrease the spread of Covid when you are asymptomatic

  • reminder (and a barrier) to not touch your face when you are outside so you don't get infected

To elaborate on my last point — we touch our faces A LOT. A mask will prevent you from touching your mouth or nose. It will also decrease the amount of virus you are spreading if you are infected but don’t yet have symptoms because it will catch your saliva when you talk, cough, sneeze, or laugh. 

A couple of facts that make wearing a mask a no-brainer:

  • You shed virus before you are symptomatic. 

  • The virus lives outside the body for some time. Depending on the surface, somewhere between 4 hrs and 3 days (maybe more). 

  • Wearing a non-medical mask is extremely low-cost 

  • There are essentially zero negative consequences of wearing a mask

I have zero doubt that masks will be a part of our long-term social distancing solution (The Hammer and the Dance). Places that have been successful in flattening their curves are using masks. It makes sense from a scientific standpoint, it is consistent with the best observational science to date, it costs little to nothing, and it has essentially no downside. So, until a large randomized controlled study comes out stating it is not helping, let’s get to the Dance as soon as we can and start wearing a mask on every one of your essential public outings. 

Here is the only visual you need to see…

Coronavirus Case Trajectories Graph

It doesn't need to be a medical or N95 mask. Those should be donated to hospitals soon because they will run out. This is where we need to get creative and make or use homemade masks. As soon as possible, masks need to become a fashion statement, a statement of personality, a way we can get back to living a regular life again, and a way to reopen our economy. 

Here is where you can make them: https://www.statethelabel.com/ages/masks or https://www.stitchroom.com/masks

If you don’t want to sew...



The only negative consequence I can think of with regard to wearing a non-medical mask is that you will feel funny wearing one. And the only reason for that is because it is not yet an accepted part of our culture to wear a mask in public. I vote that we get over ourselves, that we realize everyone is in fact not looking at you, and that we all wear masks in public. It won’t be forever. 

We need to change our culture of mask-wearing immediately. 

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