Face mask facts: It’s not about protecting you, but protecting others from you

Mainers are heeding the recommendation from the national Centers for Disease Control to wear cloth face masks when going out in public.But how does it stop the spread of coronavirus?Experts say it’s less about protecting yourself and more about protecting others from you.”The cloth face coverings are designed to minimize the chance that someone who doesn’t have symptoms could transmit it to somebody else,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nariv Shah at Monday’s press briefing.Shah urged everyone to watch a demonstration video put out by the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make your own face mask.As Dr. James Jarvis at Northern Light Health in Bangor explains, these masks are much different than those worn by health care professionals.”We really ask that nobody purchase any surgical masks, N95 masks, or other PPE that is of medical quality,” Jarvis said. “The N95 masks have to be fit to a person’s face, if you’re buying it from amazon or some other place, you have no idea if that’s the appropriate mask for you.”Experts emphasize the face masks you’re wearing are not a substitute for physical distancing, but rather a supplement.

Mainers are heeding the recommendation from the national Centers for Disease Control to wear cloth face masks when going out in public.

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But how does it stop the spread of coronavirus?

Experts say it’s less about protecting yourself and more about protecting others from you.

“The cloth face coverings are designed to minimize the chance that someone who doesn’t have symptoms could transmit it to somebody else,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nariv Shah at Monday’s press briefing.

Shah urged everyone to watch a demonstration video put out by the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make your own face mask.

As Dr. James Jarvis at Northern Light Health in Bangor explains, these masks are much different than those worn by health care professionals.

“We really ask that nobody purchase any surgical masks, N95 masks, or other PPE that is of medical quality,” Jarvis said. “The N95 masks have to be fit to a person’s face, if you’re buying it from amazon or some other place, you have no idea if that’s the appropriate mask for you.”

Experts emphasize the face masks you’re wearing are not a substitute for physical distancing, but rather a supplement.