By now, too many of us are experts on day-to-day PPE (personal protective equipment). We know what masks suit us and our families — from the comfortable ones for working out to the best for actually staying on our kids faces — and we understand the basic tenets of mask etiquette. Some of us have even figured out our mask-friendly skincare routines for preventing maskne.
It seems, however, that not everyone has gotten this memo. Lana Del Rey showed off her gaps in mask knowledge over the weekend when it was shown the singer showed up to a book signing wearing a sparkly mesh (or is it fishnet?) mask — interacting and taking photos way closer than six feet apart.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 3, 2020
Not to be that guy (but I’m always that guy), there’s a lot going wrong here and a lot to unpack. The function of a face mask in coronavirus spread prevention is to create a barrier between the mask wearer’s face holes (the mouth and nose) and all the droplets therein and the other individuals they come in contact with. When those other individuals also have the right kind of barrier, when enough people do this it can greatly lead to an increase in spread of the virus.
“What you want is 100 percent of people to wear masks, but you’ll settle for 80 percent,” said UC San Francisco epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, in a statement to the University of California at San Francisco.
Researchers have noted, based on simulations, that they predicted 80 percent of the population wearing masks “would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown.”
That’s all to say that people interacting with other people wearing a mask — and an effective one — is a key part of the equation to kicking this virus’ butt.
What makes a good mask?
As SheKnows previously reported, there are basically three kinds of masks floating out there: surgical, N95 and cloth. The former two are ideally meant to be saved for medical workers and it’s advised that the general public have cloth face coverings, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
“As a general statement, masks help reduce the risk of infection (including COVID-19) but decreasing the amount of droplets released into the surrounding air when the wearer is talking, coughing or sneezing,” Dr. Robert Mordkin is Chief Medical Officer for LetsGetChecked previously told SheKnows. “The N95 masks, in particular, can filter out both large and small particles or droplets…Countries that have aggressively employed the widespread and consistent use of masks have successfully reduced their rates of community COVID-19 infections. “For a mask to be useful, the wearer should constantly have their mask covering BOTH their nose AND mouth… Masks with ‘exhaust valves’ are not effective and therefore not recommended.”
Part of the importance of masks being multi-layered (typically three layers are preferred for a cloth face covering) is that it provides a substantial barrier. The other factor, which Mordkin noted, was having a seal that covers both the nose and mouth — this is why people get mad when you wear a mask on your chin or over only your mouth or wear a mask with a valve, it negates the benefits of that seal.
So this mesh situation Lana’s got going on? It’s more fashion than function — a wink at the precautions and care everyone else is trying to take while still doing what you want anyway.
It warrants a “I guess you tried?!” maybe — but it seriously wasn’t enough.
Before you go, check out our favorite kid-friendly face masks (that work the way they are supposed to because they are not full of holes):
<a href=”https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/slideshow/2229954/kids-face-masks/”><img class=”size-full wp-image-2295600″ src=”https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/kids-masks-gallery.jpg” alt=”kids face masks” width=”640″ height=”360″ /></a>