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how worried should I be about the shortage of face masks?

How important are face masks?

For a disease with no drug or vaccine yet, non-pharmaceutical measures are the mainstay of control. This includes personal protective equipment, such as face masks.

But the type of face masks we typically see (surgical masks) do not provide a seal around the face or filtration of airborne particles, like those that may carry coronavirus.

They do however provide

a limited physical barrier against you transferring the virus from your hand to the face, or from large droplets and splashes of fluid.

You also need to put on and remove your mask properly, as this advice from the World Health Organisation shows.

Please note that a homemade face mask will not make you immune to COVID-19. Face masks help keep the tiny droplets you breathe out from getting very far, but they will not filter all incoming germs. The coronavirus is a very small particle—only about 0.1 micrometers in diameter—and can get through most fabrics, so no matter what type of fabric you’re using and how many layers, you should still do your best to distance yourself from others.

Scarf Mask DIY

Some materials are better than others for filtration purposes. Ideally, the fabric you choose will have a tight weave,and you’ll be able to fold it so you have multiple layers.

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