Wear masks when you head outside. That’s what Mayor Kirk Caldwell is now asking all residents to do if they leave their homes. And he’s recommending you wear cloth masks. This comes as we learn more about how the Coronavirus can be carried through asymptomatic people.
“We are at war, we can win this war,” said Mayor Caldwell.
The Mayor says surgical masks and N95s should not be used or purchased because there’s a shortage and medical staff and first responders need them more. But cloth masks are available and can be made at home.
“It doesn’t give you 100-percent protection. There are folks who are asymptomatic. You have COVID-19 and you don’t even know it and you could be contagious and when you cough or breathe on someone you can transmit the virus. So the mask protects that person you are around,” he said.
Kuakini Medical Center ER Dr. Darragh O’Carroll points out before COVID-19 patients become symptomatic, they can be spreading this virus.
“What’s coming into light now and what we may be hearing more,” Dr. O’Carroll says, “is that up to 20-percent of people will never ever exhibit any symptoms. Up to 20-percent and they will be unknowingly shedding particles as they walk throughout the community.”
While masks should prevent you from touching your face, some health officials warn not to keep touching your mask or adjusting it. And wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off. You should have more than one cloth mask and they should be sterilized daily using one of these 3 methods.
“Definitely soap. The soap is going to help kill this virus so think of this virus encapsulated in this fatty layer and the soap just explodes, so lots of soap,” Dr. O’Carroll said.
Cleaning it in hot water that’s 160 degrees Fahrenheit is also good or putting it in the dryer. If you don’t have a dryer, hanging your mask in direct sunlight will help sterilize it.
Remember cloth masks are not meant to give you a false sense of security. It’s not a cure but it can help flatten the curve.