A HOMEMADE FACE MASK MOVEMENT
On March 18, the government of the Czech Republic issued a decree mandating that all residents of the Eastern European nation wear face masks in public. As medical masks and respirators are in short supply and must be reserved for health workers, the Czechs have turned to making cloth masks at home. According to leaders of the grassroots movement #Masks4All, which was established by a group of Czech scientists and researches, almost all of the nation’s 10.6 million people are adhering to this simple public health strategy.
The movement’s website emphasizes that the universal wearing of homemade masks is very likely to have positive impacts in populations dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other sources, the website cites a 2019 study which concludes that if 80% of a population wears respiratory protective devices an influenza outbreak can be completely eliminated. It also points to the success of widespread face mask usage in South Korea, Japan, and Singapore – nations that appear to have stifled the spread of coronavirus. The movement’s organizers contend that the Czech Republic is also successfully flattening the infection curve. According to online data compiler Worldometer, as of today, Czechia has confirmed only 4,091 COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths.
Recently, reports have emerged that the CDC is considering issuing guidance that all Americans should wear face coverings in public. Even President Trump has indicated his possible support for such a measure. However, some experts and officials are concerned that some portion of the population will stop complying with social distancing guidelines because they incorrectly believe masks will make such measures unnecessary.
#Masks4All founder and University of San Francisco research scientist Jeremy Howard is recruiting speakers of 100+ different languages to proofread translations of the guidance and research presented on masks4all.co. This includes information about why everyone should wear a mask and how to make homemade masks.
Additionally, the movement recently released an impactful public service announcement video that has gone viral. View it below.