With the rise in a number of confirmed coronavirus or COVID-19 each day, several people have resorted to preventive measures wearing face masks, washing and sanitising their hands, and keeping their surroundings clean.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that wearing surgical masks will not stop one from inhaling small airborne particles, and will not form a snug seal around the face.
According to the CDC, the mask could be effective only for those who already show symptoms of the disease and have to go outside, so that the infection does not spread when they cough or sneeze. It also recommends that these masks be worn by caregivers of those who are infected with the virus.
According to the World Health Organisation guidlines on "when and how to use masks", wearing a mask alone won't help in protection against COVID-19.
When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. "If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
"Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19," WHO said.
Wearing any kind of facemask does not give 100 per cent protection against getting an infection. It is not an iron-clad protection against any virus, however, these organizations say that there is no harm wearing them as a precaution since viruses can transmit through droplets or attach themselves to tiny particles which one may breathe in, and masks might as well effectively capture droplets, which are the primary method of transmission of the coronavirus.