WHY THIS MATTERS
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says homemade masks like a bandana or scarf should be used as a “last resort” and are not considered PPE since their capability to protect workers is unknown. The World Health Organization says “cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance.”
But when compared to wearing no mask at all, cloth might offer at least one barrier of protection, however ineffective it may be.
Lauren Streicher, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern, wrote in a blog post that cloth masks can still help doctors and nurses who are doing all sorts of jobs other than treating COVID-19 patients. She urged people to follow the #millionmask challenge and sew masks at home.
“With dwindling supplies, it is critical for health care workers who are at the highest risk to have the N95 respirator masks,” Streicher wrote. “Health care workers who require a mask but are not working directly with Covid patients can use these cloth masks.”
- Sun Times 'Closed by governor’s orders, a Chicago clothing factory looks to make masks for health care workers' Mar 22, 2020
Dr. Marybeth Sexton, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine
It’s not foolproof, but it does keep you from coughing out infectious particles with any respiratory virus
UC San Francisco epidemiologists Jeff Martin, MD, MPH
Social distancing... it’s really to protect those who are most susceptible
Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control
The time between when someone is exposed and when they get infected is anywhere from four to six days