Promoting simple do-it-yourself masks: an urgent intervention for COVID-19 mitigation



Face masks as an effective public health intervention

Figure 1: Different countries are experiencing different exponential growth patterns.
a) Confirmed cases by country. b) Daily growth rate, averaged over 7 days starting from March 10, 2020. c) Histogram of data in panel b. Data source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE 2020).

Simple, culturally acceptable face masks as an immediate intervention

  1. Ease of creating the DIY respiratory protection
  2. Sufficient effectiveness to warrant use
  3. Ease of adoption, i.e., comfortable to wear, culturally acceptable
  4. Wide-spread knowledge and promotion, ideally through public institutions
  5. Include messaging encouraging positive behaviour, e.g., encouraging regular cleaning of face masks, avoiding the creation of an unwarranted sense of security through mask wearing which might decrease social distancing, discouraging face touching, and avoiding blockage of adoption of other, more effective means of protection
Figure 2: Simple face cloths for decreasing the spread of infectious droplets (Source: Pexels 2020; Unsplash 2020).


Conflicts of interest


Historical use of face masks

Mechanism of protection from the wearer and by the wearer

Figure 3: Stages of sneeze ejecta after 8, 21 and 117 ms. Reproduced from (Scharfman et al. 2016).
Note: Presumed to be covered under the fair use doctrine, if you believe the material has been used in an unauthorized manner, please contact the authors to request removal.


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