When someone exhales a big sneeze, they’ve found that viruses can travel up to 8 metres (or 26 feet). Talking can also transmit tiny molecules. Sounds scary? The only thing that can prevent tiny molecules from traveling through the air is a facemask, and an N95 is even more effective.
Early research by scientists at the National Institutes of Health suggests that droplets expelled while talking may transmit the virus that causes COVID-19. Findings show that a facemask is very helpful in preventing particles from traveling through the air (videos below).
When I’m shopping for groceries and observe how people react to others with facemasks, I get the impression they feel that they’re the ones who are sick. The irony is that those who do wear facemasks are most likely safer than those who don’t.
Our public attitude toward this needs to change. Personally, I’ve already started using a facemask in public and I still don’t feel comfortable with something sitting on my face. I’m finding that I’m subconsciously keeping my distance from others who do not wear a facemask. A change in my own attitude is gradually happening. In Canada, we have been extremely slow in making this change. I’m glad the Trump Administration has already encouraged wearing facemasks in the United States.
In Asia, even before coronavirus pandemic, they’ve been wearing facemasks habitually in order to prevent catching the flu. They’ve already gone through the cultural change due to lessons learned during SARS in early 2000s.