The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that in places where the coronavirus is widely spread, everyone who cannot keep within two meters of others, such as public transportation, stores, or many people in an enclosed space, should wear a mask or a cloth mask.

So far, WHO has only recommended facemasks for people who may be contaminated or who cough or sneeze, according to its guidelines of 6 April last year, and health workers.

The Director-General said: “The government should encourage citizens to wear masks when (the coronavirus) is widespread and social distances are difficult to establish, such as in public transport, shops or other crowded or confined places,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It added: “In areas where there is community transmission, we recommend that people over 60 or with possible questionable health conditions wear medical masks if they cannot get away from other people.

Tedros stressed that masks are only one part of an effective strategy to suppress viruses and can make people feel bad about safety. He said they don’t replace physical distance or hand hygiene. He said at a virtual press conference, “The mask itself cannot defend against COVID-19. He added, “find, isolate, test and deal with every case. Then track and isolate all connections. This is what we know, this is the best way for every country to resist COVID-19.

Fabric mask

April Beller, a WHO expert on health emergencies, explained that cloth masks have new scientific evidence (based on research from Stanford University and the University of Colorado) that they can be made into a variety of materials and a higher level of protection. Baylor explained that the ideal is to combine the fabrics, and the mask is divided into three layers, using the most absorbent material (such as cotton) closest to the mouth, which will keep the saliva droplets coughing there.

The WHO guideline emphasizes that not all fabric masks have the same quality of filtration, which is one of the determinants of their effectiveness. The materials to consider when making an effective mask are polypropylene, cotton and polyester, as well as cellulose and silk as the final options.

People over 60 years old or suffering from chronic diseases should be the exception. The WHO now also recommends that they wear medical masks.

3 layers in the mask

Therefore, Beller explained that it is ideal to combine the fabric and mask is divided into three layers, using the most absorbent material (such as cotton) closest to the mouth, and if you cough, the saliva will fall. The outside should be the most hydrophobic material, such as polyester, and the polypropylene material used in surgical masks can be used as a filter (center).

In many countries, the most commonly used masks are handmade cotton masks, because surgical masks are scarce, because they are reserved for medical personnel or because they are more expensive.

Using them is better than nothing, but their problem is: “They absorb a lot of water, so when they get wet, they have to be replaced because they can be contaminated,” said Baylor.