Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Are Masks Effective Against 2019 Novel Coronavirus That People are Stealing Them?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — has people around the world in a widespread panic and taking measures to protect themselves. One thing people are doing is purchasing masks for their faces…

Are Masks Effective Against 2019 Novel Coronavirus That People are Stealing Them?

…and some people are so desperate to obtain masks — whose supplies have been depleted in many stores — that they have plotted to steal them from the offices of doctors, hospitals, and medical research facilities.

“Not just people taking a couple or three, I mean just actual thefts of those products,” Andrew Cuomo — who is the current governor of New York — said at a press conference from the state capital in Albany, according to this article written by Noah Higgins-Dunn for CNBC. “I’ve asked the state police to do an investigation, look at places that are selling masks, medical equipment, protective wear, feeding the anxiety.”

Are masks really effective in protecting yourself against the possibility of contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

The answer essentially is: not really.

If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with a suspected infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, according to this article from the World Health Organization. Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent — and proper — washing and cleaning of hands with soap and water; or rubbing your hands with a product which includes alcohol as its base.

Otherwise, you do not need to wear a mask to stay healthy.

Rather, wearing a mask is more effective to prevent the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus to other people. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

How to Wear a Mask — and the Proper Way to Dispose of a Used Mask

If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly:

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind — do not touch the front of mask; discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.


Knowing when and how to use a mask — as well as the proper way to dispose of it — is important; but you are likely not a candidate to need to wear a mask.

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

  1. The Surgeon General doesn’t want us to buy the N95 masks, and endanger the availability for the health community. So, why would the health community want them if they’re not effective (worn and handled properly)?

    Tell me it’s more important to have them available to the health community because they run a higher risk. Tell me the mask are not effective if not fitted and handled correctly. But don’t tell me they’re not effective, but you want them anyway. You ruin your credibility, Just be honest.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of whether you are “taking care of a person with a suspected infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus”. as WHO says. It a matter of whether you feel too close to the risk of being exposed (i.e., quarantined cruises). CDC and WHO are tasked to look after the populations. You are the one to look after yourself.

    It’s a matter of prioritizing a limited supply of an effective tool – not the tool being ineffective.

    1. It’s probably based on probability. If you are around a sick person a lot wearing a mask helps. Just walking on a street wearing a mask may not be neccessary and in that case you are more likely to get sick because of your dirty, stinky hands.

      But Americans are too damn stupid and mathematically challenged to think it through. But seriously the messaging could have been better but we are in an administration of a bully. People are scared to be incorrect and looking bad correcting the messaging.

      So screw you Republicans.

        1. Did you find anything wrong with my logic?

          TLDR: Normal people do not need masks. Republicans are as$%oles.

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