COVID-19 and Public Interest in Face Mask Use

A rapid overview of the use of breathing apparatus in preventing the spread of COVID-19.Several jurisdictions are actually recommending or mandating that people wear markers while in public; we anticipate the volume of local and state mandates increases.  Many employers are actually providing commercially available goggles for employee use, either mandating them or permitting them with a voluntary basis.  Some employers are considering permitting homemade employee face masks, like close-fitting cloth face masks and bandanas.  Voluntary face masks, specially when homemade, may create safety hazards that employers must address:

Custom Mask

Heat-map showing RSV of surgical Custom Mask in the epidemic period until May 20, 2020. The color gradients indicate the RSV values, along with the striped/cross-hatched boxes indicate the dates of the 1st, 10th, and 100th coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases inside the respective region. RSV = relative search volume; WHO = World Health Organization.

In general, droplets, and therefore SARS-CoV-2, might be transferred via direct contact or smear transfection modality if the hands are contaminated from touching the nose or even the face and after that can be found in direct contact with others, e.g. by handshaking. For this reason, not simply the “cough etiquette”, but regular and thorough handwashing certainly are a significant and mandatory hygienic rule (6).


The CDC has discovered that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals can be highly contagious and spread the disease when “interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people aren’t exhibiting symptoms.”[1] Face coverings may capture droplets and minimize some exposures for the virus.[2]  Accordingly, the CDC “advises the usage of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread in the virus and help people who might have the herpes virus and never know it from transmitting it to others.”[3]  Further, the CDC “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public areas settings where other social distancing measures take time and effort to take care of (e.g., grocers and pharmacies) specifically in aspects of significant community-based transmission.”  These “cloth coverings” aren’t surgical masks or filtering face-piece respirators that are “critical supplies” that the CDC recommends be limited to use by medical workers.

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