Editorial: Facemasks and the Covid 19 pandemic: What advice should health professionals be giving the general public about the wearing of facemasks?

3 September 2020

Faculty of Nursing

Visiting Professor Dr. Teri Stone, Prof. Dr. Wipada Kunaviktikul, Visiting Professor Dr. Marcia Petrini and colleague publish an editorial in Nursing & Health Sciences.

Many of us have been watching with increasing concern as the numbers of cases and deaths rise from the SARS?CoV?2 virus causing COVID?19. There has been public concern and anxiety, which has led to the panic buying of facemasks although facemasks are not recommended for healthy individuals but are essential for health workers and those with the illness. In this editorial, we will discuss the evidence for the use of facemasks and argue that inappropriate use of facemasks may cause harm and leads to shortages for those health workers who most need them.

Many news reports on the virus open with a photograph of an official or members of the public wearing a surgical mask, and many people are buying stocks of masks and wearing them when they are out in public. Disposable masks or surgical masks are loose?fitting devices designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (US Food and Drug Administration, 2018). However, masks do not filter or block microscopic particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs or sneezes because of the loose fit between the surface of the facemask and the face (US Food and Drug Administration, 2018).

Read more: https://doi.org/10.1111/nhs.12724