It seems that as of right now, the worst of the coronavirus in New York State is behind us. While the same cannot be said for the rest of the country, all of us still should be taking this pandemic seriously. Governor Cuomo continues to emphasize the fact that New Yorkers need to stay cooperative as businesses open in order to prevent a very possible “second wave” or spike in infections.
Aside from gyms, malls and theaters, pretty much everything else is now open. This means you can now get a haircut, dine at a restaurant, and kids are able to go back to public school. However, even though these places are open, citizens are still expected to act in a way that prevents infection. This includes social distancing and wearing a mask. Although many feel that wearing masks are uncomfortable, this small sacrifice plays a significant role in the bigger picture of sparing as many people as possible from the cruel disease.
Studies show that masks present a barrier of particle spread in people’s breath, which is the number one way in which the virus is spread. In fact, when you wear a mask, you are contributing more to shielding your own particles from others rather than shielding other’s particles from yourself. Reducing the amount of particles an individual emits in the air, especially when indoors, also reduces the potential viral load in the air if someone has the virus. Having the lowest possible viral load in the air could mean the difference between someone getting infected or not.
When it comes to masks, the CDC has three rules:
Before you put the mask on, you should wash your hands. Make sure that the mask covers your nose and mouth, and rests under your chin. Adjust it in a way that it fits snugly on your face. Ensure that you can breathe properly, and try to touch it as little as possible while you are wearing it. In addition to wearing a mask, social distancing is still necessary. Stay six feet away from others, and wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer if no sink is present) frequently.
While it is true that certain medical masks, such as the N95, would be the most effective against particle spread, those masks are mostly reserved for healthcare workers. There is still much debate over what kind of mask and what kind of material is most effective. The CDC discourages any mask that has some kind of ventilator, as that really defeats the purpose of wearing the mask. Besides that, really any snug covering of the nose and mouth is appropriate.
Many stores and brands have made their own line of masks for those who want a fashionable approach. Others have been able to make their own mask using household materials. One study found that heavyweight cotton and vacuum cleaner bags blocked the highest percentage of particles, but other materials such as scarves and bandannas were effective as well. Regardless of which kind of mask you choose to wear, one thing is certain; something is better than nothing. We strongly encourage everyone to continue to cooperate with the instructions to prevent this pandemic from going any further. We wish for everyone to be well and stay safe.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.