Can Wearing Mask Actually Increase Coronavirus Risk?

coronavirus risk
Image: AlexChirkin

Since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic, all health agencies have emphasized the importance of wearing a face mask in public spaces in order to effectively lower coronavirus risk. At the moment, face masks have become a norm in many of the countries around the world as there is now plenty of evidence to show that without this practice, the rising number of infections cannot be controlled.

According to the present and the past research, masks have helped slow down transmission rates in the current health pandemic as well as previous outbreaks.

The primary purpose of wearing a mask is to stop droplets that are released from the mouth and nose while coughing, sneezing, or even doing normal activities like singing or talking are blocked.

By wearing a face covering, an infected person can prevent from spreading the infection further and a healthy person can protect himself from any droplets or even airborne virus especially in indoor public spaces.

Regardless of the scientific evidence present on the advantages of wearing a mask, the issue has been much debated on, specifically in the US where politicizing the issue has contributed to the virus spread.

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The US currently has the highest number of active infections and a very high death toll in comparison with other countries. The problems with wearing a mask in public and anti-masks protests, which mostly started and worsened after the end of the lockdown in the month of June, have been said to play a major role in high rates of transmission.

Many government officials in the country have also been noted to delay decisions regarding mandating masks in various states. In addition, some have even actively spoken against the practice while also supporting many conspiracy theories about the pandemic as well.

Fortunately, there is a big number of people who support and follow guidelines for lowering coronavirus risk, which is why the practice is now common in many parts of the world. However, some researchers have raised further concerns that may be associated with the practice.

For instance, it may be possible that a mask, which is for protection against the coronavirus, maybe the reason why a person may catch the infection in the first place. This does not mean a person should not wear a mask and the mask itself is the culprit.

Read more on how to properly wear a mask here. 

It simply highlights how improper handling of the mask can defeat its purpose and actually contribute to coronavirus risk significantly. Many people follow the instructions and wear a mask in public but forget the importance of cleaning the masks and maintaining hygiene.

Disposable masks should noted be used after wearing for two or three times while cloth masks should be washed frequently. This step is as important as wearing the mask but many forget it.

Secondly, there are also other practices one needs to take care of like washing hands between touching the mask and not constantly slide it down while wearing it as well as just tossing it at random places after re-wearing it. This only increases the risk of coronavirus on the mask and can help in contracting the virus more than protecting from it.

About the author

Abeera I. Kazmi

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