Protective Face Masks: A Guard in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic and Impact on Global Industry
A protective face mask is intended to be worn by health professionals and people to prevent getting infected by viruses. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has recommended people to wear masks or some form of face covering in public to stop the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, the protective face masks are high in demand during the pandemic crisis, which is positively impacting the global market.
In an ideal world, practicing good hygiene, staying at home, and social distancing would be enough to avert the spread of COVID-19. Unluckily, this is not how things are playing out. In answer to the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases across the globe, governments and organizations all over the world are enacting new measures to safeguard those who are healthy stay that way and do not get infected by the deadly corona virus.
Many countries such as the U.S., Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand are merely recommending protective face masks rather than making them a requirement. Certain Asian countries are taking these recommendations seriously as wearing surgical protective face masks during flu season or when sick shows respect for members and one’s community. However, in countries like the U.S. wearing surgical protective face masks is not yet normalized. Thus, the only way to normalize protective face mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to start wearing them.
What are the Recommendations?
A limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals has been observed since the last few months. Hence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously recommended and encouraged people to wear some form of face covering in public. To continue reserving surgical and N95 protective face masks for healthcare workers, the CDC is advising people to use cloth face coverings as an alternative.
A question might arise if using protective face masks are necessary, specifically when people are practicing social distancing. The social distancing guidelines should be followed mandatorily, but for it may not be possible. It can be said that social distancing is a luxury, which those at lower income levels and the homeless cannot afford. Small living spaces, shared housing, and dependency on public transportation can make it challenging for these people to practice social distancing.
In addition, the healthcare and other essential workers may have difficulty to practice social distancing, since controlling actions of those around them is not possible. For instance, workers at grocery stores, law enforcement workers, and public transportation workers are not able to follow social distancing guidelines. Thus, for these individuals, protective face masks can provide some protection to both themselves and the person they are interacting with.
Do Protective Face Masks Help?
This is the question everyone seems to be asking. While surgical and N95 protective face masks offer reliable protection, reserving such resources for healthcare professionals on the frontlines is significant.
According to the CDC, protective face masks and cloth coverings are a vital tool to keep the victims of asymptomatic COVID-19 from unknowingly spreading the deadly corona virus. Protective cloth face masks contain particles released when the wearer sneezes, coughs, or breathes. This helps in protecting the people who are nearby or interacting with the individual wearing the mask.
The reason that face masks are not as protective as the surgical or N95 masks, the CDC suggests those who choose to wear cloth masks should practice social distancing. The CDC also instructs the people wearing protective face masks to avoid touching it mainly because the coronavirus can live on cloth for a certain amount of time. Touching the mask could transfer the virus to hands and later the next thing(s) you touch.
However, one of the great features of a cloth protective face masks is they can be easily sterilized. These masks can be worn again once washed and dried, which makes it a sustainable form of protection.
It seems the methods used to fight COVID-19 disease, including hand washing, social distancing, and wearing face masks depend on trusting each member of the community and exercising proper precautionary guidelines. Thus, the protective face masks can act as a guard in the time of COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Impact and Forecast Analysis of Protective Face Masks Market
According to the report published by Research Dive, the COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted the global protective face masks market . This is mainly because of the increasing demand for masks as it prevents or slow down the transmission of life-threatening COVID-19 infection. Thus, to meet the rising demand for masks, many companies worldwide are taking efforts by starting the production of masks. For instance, in August 2020, Arizona PPE Company started the production of masks at Mesa facility. These masks will be available in all sizes for children and adults.
Furthermore, the global market is anticipated to witness a tremendous growth after the pandemic crisis majorly owing to the increasing demand for masks from healthcare institutions and growing health & safety concerns amongst people. In addition, the rising focus of key industry players on producing innovative masks is expected to impel the market growth after COVID-19 pandemic.
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