To mask or not to mask - that is the question

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 20th, 2020



The Longo supermarket people are said to be surveying their customers to determine if they are comfortable with store staff wearing masks and if customers would please in future wear a mask while in the supermarket.

The use of masks seems to be mixed – many people do wear them. Some are very elaborate while others are the “made at home” version which is just fine.

face mask white flower

They are becoming fashion statements.

Any day now we can expect facial masks to become fashion statements.

Are masks necessary? There are arguments on both sides of wearing them on the street and in the office.

Better to be safe than sorry is one argument we hear – the other is that they are only needed in medical situations or where you are working closely with people.

face maskhong kong

In Hong King face masks have become political statements.

It wasn’t long ago when we saw tens of thousands of people on the streets of Hong King demonstrating. Many wore the masks to keep the tear gas out of their eyes – while others wore them in social setting as a political statement.

Mask are clearly a symbol of these times – and there must be a demand for them. Difficult to find any in the stores – hundreds of women in the city are making masks and handing them out.

fask mask - kids

Expect to see pictures like this on Christmas cards this year.

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11 comments to To mask or not to mask – that is the question

  • Penny Hersh


    Fabric masks are made to be washed after each use. It has also been suggested that people wash their clothes more often for the very reasons you have identified – to get rid of any virus particles that you may be exposed to.

    No one has suggested that a fabric mask would prevent you from getting Covid 19 – It is a way of not passing on this virus should you have contracted it ( people are asymptomatic for days and this is when the virus is most contagious). If everyone would wear a washable, fabric mask, we would be protecting each other.

    No one is suggesting to use surgical masks once and throw them away. Masks need to be snug. The older version of the present day surgical masks were made of fabric which tied around the back of the head. This model would allow people to adjust the masks to fit them.

    As for a false sense of security. These fabric masks should be worn only when in public. They could then be removed at home and people should wash their hands and the fabric mask washed. Most people are not going out more than once a day for exercise, and for some it is once a week for groceries. Two fabric masks would do the trick.

  • So if you are exposed to the virus and you have a mask – that contamination is now on the outside of your mask. Unless it is a surgical mast, virus was sucked into your lungs anyway. If the virus was aerosolized by something like high flow oxygen then you need N95 to stop that. This point being if you were exposed to the virus it at least contaminated your mask. If now you take them off the virus is now on your hands. If you follow strict procedures and throw you mask out after exposure – which is what health care pros are trained to do it can be of some benefit. Do we really want million of masks produced and thrown out a day so we can pretend that this will have an impact? Because if you watch people in the checkout they are touching their faces and adjusting these masks all the time. When they test for COVID at an hospital it’s covering the floor, bed rails, cell phones – that’s why the hand washing. On the reverse case if some one had a mask on – properly fitted and they were coughing up a storm you might argue that virus is building up on the back of the mask instead of the air. Except they reach behind the mask, now their hands, etc, etc … I don’t find it credible the idea that the general public will implement the strict protocols required to make this work. It’s an attempt to make people feel better – which I get, but I’m not for it. It’s wasteful and will give people a false sense of security to no good effect.

    • I might add also that their is an every greater number of people who have been exposed to and cleared COIVD. There is no reason immune people at all they need a mask. Why mandate something that will apply to the immune?

    • Perryb

      You have dramatically over-emphasized the situation and under-estimated the value of a properly used mask, even homemade ones, and asserted an immunity in cleared cases which is yet to be proven. And conflated the possible situation in an ICU with a grocery store. You are an alarmist, adding nothing. Please stop.

  • Penny Hersh

    Masks need to have 2 layers of fabric, and any tightly knit fabric. There are many online companies that are now online selling fabric masks.

    I anyone is willing to sew some masks to give out to people who cannot afford to buy them it would be a wonderful way to help out. Free fabric is available for those who are prepared to do this.

  • It would be good if we could find how we get access to Stitch It masks which the mayor talked about pn her blog at a cost of $4 each on-line. We have spent hours searching and not come up with any means of ordering for delivery. Support Longo staff absolutely wearing them – Longo’s have ordered 4,000 of these Stitch It washable masks.

  • Penny Hersh

    Dale Kalina is correct but not correct. Wearing fabric masks protects others if you have the virus, however, if everyone wears a fabric mask we are protecting each other. New York has now mandated that everyone must wear a mask when in public.

    The concern by Dr. Kalina could be that with the shortage of surgical masks for frontline health care workers he would not want the public to further add to the problem of lack of PPE.

    Fabric masks would not fall into this category.

  • Mary Alice

    100% comfortable with Longos Staff wearing masks
    If it makes essential workers feel safer or anybody else feel safer … good.

  • Rob Allan

    Should I be wearing a face mask?

    “Surgical masks — what they do is prevent people from spreading the virus from yourself to somebody else. So it doesn’t actually do an excellent job at preventing you from getting the infection. That’s why they’ve largely not been mandated, and why they’ve not been suggested by public health officials across the country.”

    – Dale Kalina, medical director of infection, prevention and control at Joseph Brant Hospital

    • Lynn Crosby

      This advice is changing … New York and now Pennsylvania are mandating masks for the public. I don’t know when this comment was made from JB Hospital and I won’t comment further on JB. However, much of the advice on masks was being given with the knowledge that there was a shortage of masks and they were needed first and foremost, obviously, for medical staff, and there has been much discussion about whether that played into the advice for the general public to not wear them.

      In any event, I believe now it is becoming apparent that the use of masks isn’t about “preventing you from getting the infection”, it is about preventing you, if you have the virus and don’t know it, from spreading it to others. It is another vital tool for flattening the curve and slowing the spread.

      This below from a recent article from Live Science, discussing the CDC’s position on masks.

      “The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams acknowledged that the government’s guidance on masks “has been confusing to the American people,” he said at the news conference. Until now, the CDC had recommended that while health care workers and “people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms” should wear face masks, healthy people should don masks only when taking care of someone who was ill with the new coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the same.

      “Based on the best evidence available at the time, it was not deemed that that would have a significant impact on whether or not a healthy person wearing a mask would contract COVID-19,” Adams said.

      However, as more knowledge about the virus has come to light, it became apparent that asymptomatic people could be spreading the virus. Up to 25% of people with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, the CDC found. Moreover, a new small study found that COVID-19 may be most infectious when symptoms are mildest, meaning that people may be spreading the virus before realizing they have it.

      “This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” the CDC said in a news statement today. “In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

      Under the new recommendation, healthy individuals are advised to wear mouth and nose face coverings — including homemade masks, scarves or bandanas — when they go to a public area, such as the grocery store or a pharmacy.

      As before, the CDC does not recommend that the public wear N95 respirators, which filter out 95% of particles in the air. These masks are in short supply, and they should be reserved for health care workers who are exposed to the virus on a daily basis, the CDC said. Nor should the public wear surgical masks, which are also needed by healthcare workers, the CDC said.

      Due to the limited supply, some health care workers are now reusing their N95 respirators, even though these respirators are designed for single use only.

      “[Surgical masks and N95 respirators] are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders,” the CDC said.

      Even with the N95 respirator off the table for the public, there are still plenty of options available. Live Science covered the efficacy of homemade masks, finding that they’re not as good as surgical masks, but still act as physical barriers against viral droplets. “