September 19, 2020

Making the “New Normal” Better

In the first few months of recorded cases of Covid-19, theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated an average mortality rate of 2% worldwide with 1,246 total deaths and 85,356 total cases in the United States alone. This data validates that among all cases of viruses causing respiratory disease which are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) andCOVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), COVID-19 appears to be the deadliest and most dangerous among the three. It is highly contagious because of the human to human transmission occurring mainly through respiratory droplets and close direct contact of people.

The risk of infection becomes alarming higher for people that are morbidly obese or having a BMI of 40 or higher, or those with immunosuppression, or older than 65 years of age, or having comorbidities of the respiratory, renal, hepatic or cardiovascular system due to weakened immune system.  

In the first few months of recorded cases of Covid-19, theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated an average mortality rate of 2% worldwide with 1,246 total deaths and 85,356 total cases in the United States alone. This data validates that among all cases of viruses causing respiratory disease which are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) andCOVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), COVID-19 appears to be the deadliest and most dangerous among the three. It is highly contagious because of the human to human transmission occurring mainly through respiratory droplets and close direct contact of people.

The risk of infection becomes alarming higher for people that are morbidly obese or having a BMI of 40 or higher, or those with immunosuppression, or older than 65 years of age, or having comorbidities of the respiratory, renal, hepatic or cardiovascular system due to weakened immune system.

As the number of COVID cases continues to grow globally, wearing face masks became mandatory in more and more cities. The World Health Organization (WHO) released several guidelines highly recommending the wearing face masks as a simple barrier to help preventrespiratorydroplets from spreading when worn on the nose and mouth. The latest data shows that countries who are successful in flattening the curve religiously followed wearing of face masks in public, coupled with other health protocols of social distancing and hand washing. There is no question that these measures help reduce the surge of Covid-19 cases.

 

Primarily, face masks are our first layer of protection. Not just from catching the deadly virus but from subsequently transmitting it to anyone we come in contact with. It also acts as a deterrent to refrain people from touching their face. 

Banking on the effectiveness of face masks, how do we find the best one to use?

What masks to use?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly encourage people to use fabric or cloth masks instead of medical-grade surgical masks or N-95 respirators as these critical supplies should be reserved for health care workers and first responders who are facing tougher battles in the front lines.

But are cloth masks even reliable? The University of Cambridge conducted a study that illustrates the effectiveness of cloth face masks in capturing small respiratory droplets, those which are expelled through coughing, sneezing, or by merely talking. Evidence shows a single-layered face mask may provide 10 to 40% protection, but adding more layers to it may improve efficiency - three layers to be exact. Masks made of three layers of fabric, reduced surface contamination by as much as 99%, total airborne pathogens by 99%, and bacteria by 88 to 99%.

 

To establish a visual presentation of how droplets spread using cloth masks, Thorax, an online journal site conducted an experiment using an LED lighting system and a high-speed camera to record the diffusion of viral droplets towards an open space, exhibiting the effectiveness of a single versus double layer cloth masks.

(Click on the photo for the full story)

Undoubtedly, a three-layer mask can give us ample protection from the virus.

Additional essential features to be considered when using a three-layer cloth mask are the following:

  1. Breathability and comfort in wearing. User is able to wear the mask in a significant amount of time without difficulty in breathing and unnecessary discomfort.
  2. Proper fit. To avoid constantly touching the face when needed to adjust the mask.
  3. Reusable and washable. Unlike surgical or medical masks that must be disposed of immediately once used, a cloth mask is a better sustainable choice for Eco-conscious people. 

 

However, the WHO together with CDC and other public health researchers eagerly reminds us that the protection we get from using cloth masks must not be a source of a false sense of security wherein we neglect other essential protective measures such as physical distancing, hand washing and other. 

Additional essential features to be considered when using a three-layer cloth mask are the following:

  1. Breathability and comfort in wearing. User is able to wear the mask in a significant amount of time without difficulty in breathing and unnecessary discomfort.
  2. Proper fit. To avoid constantly touching the face when needed to adjust the mask.
  3. Reusable and washable. Unlike surgical or medical masks that must be disposed of immediately once used, a cloth mask is a better sustainable choice for Eco-conscious people. 

 

However, the WHO together with CDC and other public health researchers eagerly reminds us that the protection we get from using cloth masks must not be a source of a false sense of security wherein we neglect other essential protective measures such as physical distancing, hand washing and other.

 

But aside from the proven protection, a three-layer cloth mask provides, cloth masks are comfortable to wear, breathable, and more fashionable. It is also straightforward convenient since it is reusable and washable, unlike surgical or medical masks that must be disposed of immediately once used, making cloth masks the better sustainable choice for Eco-conscious people. 

Since wearing face masks is now a part of the “new normal” our protection does not need to compromise our fashion. For sure, we will be wearing cloth face masks for quite some time so make sure that you choose something not only for the sake of functionality but also something that you like to wear.

 

As a bonus, here are some tips when using cloth face masks.

  1. Before wearing your masks, make sure you have clean or sanitized hands. You may opt for the traditional (but best!) way of doing it using soap and water. But if you prefer to use rubbing alcohol for disinfection, that is also fine.
  1. Check your mask, make sure there are no cuts or holes in it to prevent any possible entry where droplets may seep into your face.
  1. Make sure your mask covers both your mouth and nose.
  2. Do not touch your mask. Touching your mask while on your face increases the risk of contamination.
  3. After use, store your mask in a sanitized pouch or zip lock bag.

Here at HEW, we made sure you get that bundle of protection and fashion. We believe that wearing face masks can be a form of self-expression - your mood, attitude, and vibe, a statement piece that captures your style.

 

So go ahead and try out how comfortable and fun our face masks are. Together, we can bring masks into our daily outfits whilst keeping some style. 

Read more scientifically proven articles about the effectiveness of cloth masks here: 

 


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