It's been one of the most frequently asked questions since the coronavirus developed into a global pandemic: should I be wearing a face mask? The British public are advised to wear face coverings when in crowded places as part of the UK government's lockdown easing plan – a stance also taken by officials at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. Yet, some people are still unsure about what is the correct way to wear a face mask during this pandemic.
While the efficacy of masks against the spread of COVID-19 is still up for debate, the UK’s national academy of science has said that “you ought to wear a mask” in crowded settings, per BBC News. “The message has not been clear enough,” Prof Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the science body, told the BBC.
“What we would like for the government is to be a bit stronger and clear about the messaging and require it whenever you are in crowded public spaces where you cannot get more than two metres away from the next person.”
Wearing a mask incorrectly is also risky. The UK government website now has a page dedicated to the proper practices when it comes to wearing a face mask, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also published a document with advice on this topic.
One thing experts seem to agree on is that even non-surgical masks and face-coverings are . In fact, N95 masks should be prioritised for medical staff and carers. Masks and cloth face coverings can be made using common home supplies and if you're interested in making your own, gov.uk has instructions on how to do so.
Whatever kind face mask you have, it's important to make sure you are using it in the correct way. Stay as safe as possible by avoiding common mistakes with this easy step-by-step checklist.