When it comes to the Things I do in my spare time play riding watch motocross research motocross talk about motocross think about motocross dream about motocross shirt in other words I will buy this United States’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a common refrain among colleagues and friends is that we aren’t taking enough cues from South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. The curve has been “flattened” in those places for a variety of reasons, one potentially being that face masks were already a part of their cultures. In many parts of Asia, it’s customary to wear a mask (and maybe gloves, too) on the train, at the supermarket, or just walking around the city, regardless of your health; it’s a daily precaution, one that’s equally about self-protection as it is about protecting others. Meanwhile in the U.S., you’d be fairly shocked to see someone wearing a surgical mask at your local Whole Foods. As I wrote last week, designers who are eager to help should make fabric masks for their customers and educate them about why “regular people” shouldn’t aggravate the medical supply shortage even more. If the CDC does change its recommendations and we see a surge in civilian demand for masks, that message will be even more crucial; the biggest argument against a nation-wide mask recommendation is that we might panic and start buying up those hard-to-get medical supplies at inflated rates, making the dire shortages even worse.
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Even in the Things I do in my spare time play riding watch motocross research motocross talk about motocross think about motocross dream about motocross shirt in other words I will buy this midst of a pandemic, the CDC has assured Americans for weeks that healthy citizens do not need to start wearing masks—first, because diligent hand-washing, social distancing, and staying home are widely considered the most effective ways to stop the spread, and second, because we need to reserve those medical supplies for healthcare workers. But as we prepare for the peak of COVID-19 diagnoses and our federal and local governments begin planning our eventual return to “regular life,” the CDC is apparently reconsidering its stance. In an NPR interview earlier this week, CDC director Robert Redfield said the agency is “aggressively reviewing” its data on masks worn by the general public. This comes after its discovery that potentially 25% of infected individuals are asymptomatic; the thinking seems to be that if you don’t know you’re sick but wear a mask anyway, your risk of inadvertently infecting others is lower. On Tuesday, President Trump essentially told Americans not to wait for further instructions and to start wearing a mask if they please—though, like the CDC, he warned that we should not buy N95s or surgical masks, which are already in dangerously short supply at hospitals. Instead, we should pick up bandanas or fabric masks, or simply make our own. Conventional fabrics like cotton will block liquid droplets and can provide incremental protection against airborne particles, as opposed to an N95, which, as the name suggests, blocks 95% of particles—precisely why a fabric mask is not suitable for a doctor or nurse treating COVID-19 patients.