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Sci4Teens Contest: COVID-19 Crisis Management - Ruben Servin Leyva


The Importance of Face Masks for the Prevention of SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19)

Abstract

Various types of face masks are available to the general public and are worn for protection against the inhalation of dust, pollutants, allergens, and pathogenic organisms. Recent news have illustrated the widespread use of face masks for the prevention against the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 (World Health Organization, 2020). However, some face masks have already been proven to work better in slowing the spreading of the virus. The purpose of this research was to show the effectiveness each face mask provides as well as their importance in stopping the virus from spreading.


History of the Virus (COVID-19)

In December, 2019, a new type of coronavirus was identified in the city of Wuhan China known as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 or “COVID-19”. This virus is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) (Lee, 2019). This disease is a coronavirus that hasn't been previously identified in humans and it can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract. The virus spreads the same way as the other coronaviruses do (close contact), and their infections range mild to deadly (White, 2020).


Global Pandemic

On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,000,000 deaths worldwide.






Symptoms

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and loss of smell & taste. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not everyone who catches SARS-CoV-2 will notice any symptoms. Symptoms usually showed up 2-14 days after the infection and the symptoms may also vary from person to person. Most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild to moderate respiratory illness and they will recover without any special treatment (Control for Disease and Prevention, 2020). However, people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic disease, and cancer, are more susceptible to develop the disease (World Health Organization, 2020).


Transmission

COVID-19 main form of transmission is through the respiratory droplets or small particles when a person coughs or sneezes. These particles are usually inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs, which is what causes the infection (Bowen, 2021). Additionally, the virus can also spread when a person touches a surface or object. Other people may become infected by touching contaminated areas and then touching their eyes, nose, and mouth without having cleaned their hands first (Bowen, 2021). Based on previous studies from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), infected people appear to be the most contagious just before they develop the symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, any situation in which people are in close proximity to one another for long periods of time increases the risks of transmission.


The Importance of Face Masks

Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others is crucial to stop the spreading of the disease. COVID-19 masks act as a barrier to help prevent the respiratory droplets from reaching others (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), studies have shown that masks reduce the spray of the droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Everyone should wear a mask, even if they don’t feel sick. Studies have shown that people with COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)

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can still spread the virus to others (Wu, 2020). It is important to wear a mask when you are unable to stay at least 6 feet aparts from others since COVID-19 spreads mainly among individuals who are in close contact with one another.


Mask Effectiveness

According to a research conducted by the University of Alabama, the fit and the fabric were the most important factors in depicting the efficacy of each face mask. In their experiment, six different types of facemasks were fit into a mannequin and different types of forces were used to show the intensity strength of the cough. According to their research, the thicker the fabric and the more tight it was to the cheeks, the better they performed (University of Alabama, 2015). They ranked their masks as follows: (greatest-least): N-95 Mask, Cone-Style Mask, Disposable Surgical Mask, Homemade Cloth Mask, T-shirt Mask, Bandana Mask, Neck Gaiter/Balaclava,





Conclusion




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Masks play an important role in our daily living, especially during this pandemic. Wearing a mask and keeping distance is still crucial to stop the spreading of the disease. They act as our only barriers to stop the disease from spreading, so we must use them appropriately. Even if the person doesn’t shown any symptoms (asymptomatic), it is still really important for them to use face masks as they appear to be the most contagious. Wearing a face mask and keeping distance is the key to end this pandemic and to stop this malicious virus from ruining other people’s lives.


References

● Bowen, Larry E. “Does That Face Mask Really Protect You?” Applied Biosafety, vol. 15, no. 2, 2010, pp. 67–71., doi:10.1177/153567601001500204.

● “Coronavirus.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1.

● “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.

● “Coronavirus Cases:” Worldometer, www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. ● “SARS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/sars/about/fs-sars.html.

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● Curley, Bob. “Why Face Masks Are Crucial Now in the Battle Against COVID-19.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 6 Apr. 2020,

www.healthline.com/health-news/face-masks-importance-battle-with-covid19.


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