Wash-in waterproofing products based on technologies developed for the outdoor clothing industry could help tackle the coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE) supply crisis and reduce environmental damage of disposable products. They could also be used to increase the effectiveness of homemade face masks.
Should I wear a facemask?
The use of facemasks is becoming more widespread and required in many situations. This week people in the U.K. were advised to wear face coverings in some enclosed spaces, Uber announced safety measures which will require drivers and riders to wear disposable mask, and fashion brands are stepping up to produce more fashionable face coverings.
A recent report by the DELVE group (Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics) convened by the Royal Society suggests that “the use of face masks, including home-made cloth masks, could reduce onward transmission if widely used in situations where physical distancing is not possible or predictable such as busy public transport, shopping and other potentially crowded public or workspaces.”
We need to start viewing the wearing of masks not as protection for ourselves but as our gesture of protection towards others, noting that a significant fraction of infected people will not know that they are infectious due to being asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. The DELVE report states that the current estimate is that 40-80% of infections occur from individuals without symptoms.
It is important to remember that wearing a mask is not a replacement for other measures such as hand-washing and social distancing. As I discussed in my recent article on Our Differing Attitudes To Risk, we can’t allow a feeling of reduced risk to allow our behaviour to become lax in other areas. We need to wear the mask, but behave as if we're not