When the index case of the coronavirus was first identified last month, one of the first preventive measures that people are encouraged to do is to wear face masks.

In fact, many health experts rightfully relied on the Ebola Virus experience from a few years ago. Among other things, one of the key factors was the face mask and its role.

And while the science as to why face masks are important in keeping a person safe from infectious diseases hasn’t changed, the economic realities and public guidance around the current coronavirus may be shifting in a divergent direction.

Do You Need A Mask?

N95 Face Mask, Soap and Hand Sanitizer.
Source – Pixabay

The answer to this question depends on who you talk to. Since the index case was announced in the country, there has been a sharp increase in the cost of face mask practically making it out of reach to Nigerians.

Health and medical workers who care for the sick and who must use face masks do not have any to work with. The masks are simply no longer available or are way too expensive.

Nigeria’s government appears not to have, as a matter of policy, the use of a face mask in the fight against the virus. The Minister of Health in a tweet outlines in strictest terms how Nigeria would beat the virus.

But this is to change since new evidence suggests the coronavirus is airborne instead of human contacts as the sole transmission means. The CDC announced the use of face cloth masks for everybody who may be stepping out to the public.

In light of this, a growing number of Nigerians are already opting to cover their noses and mouths with makeshift masks, such as bandannas, handkerchiefs and, of course, scarves.

In the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that health officials are actually trying to change that guideline.

“Given the fact that there is a degree of transmission from asymptomatic individuals who may not know that they’re infected, we need to at least examine the possibility, as long as we’re absolutely certain we don’t take the masks away from who are health care providers who need them. It doesn’t need to be a classical mask. But something that would have someone prevent them from infecting others. This is actively being looked at,” Fauci said in a recent interview with NBC. 

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Applying a face mask - step 1

Cloth face coverings should—

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape

If you wear a homemade cloth mask, scarf or bandana, remember to wash your hands before you put it on, Adams said. Also, you should wash cloth-masks after each use and to always put the same side against your face, so you’re not placing the outside of the “contaminated side” against your mouth and nose


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