OPINON: Please donate your masks


Ricky Barker, Columnist

There has been an influx of people who are buying masks in a vain attempt to protect themselves. Some preppers have even begun hoarding them in large quantities. This is pointless and only hurts medical professionals. If you own any masks, chances are you don’t need them, and you should donate them to the closest facility that will take them. They need them much more than you do.

The N95 masks and surgical masks are the most common types being purchased. Both are ineffective at stopping the virus’s spread, unless you have proper training. Medical personnel are trained in the use of N95 masks; they have to go through several fit tests to find the right one. They are trained to never break the barrier of the mask, otherwise, the protection it offers is compromised. In terms of the surgical masks, they are very loose and used mostly to stop one’s own saliva or germs from getting onto others They will do nothing to prevent the virus from getting into your system.

Hospitals desperately need these masks, particularly N95 masks, which are the most protective for medical workers. Medical facilities across the country have resorted to rationing and even not using masks at all because of the shortage. While the administration did order over 500 million masks, estimates say they might not arrive for another 18 months, and these masks are needed right now. The lives of the men and women on the frontline are at constant risk without this protection; many have already been infected and some have even died from the virus. These are the people who need and frankly, deserve, those masks more than anyone.

So please, if you own any manufactured masks, particularly N95 ones, consider donating them to your closet available medical facility. While it’s not necessarily a bad idea to wear a mask, the CDC recommends the use of cloth masks, particularly hand-made masks from household items. While it might not stop you from getting the virus, it could prevent those who unknowingly have the virus from spreading it, however use cloth masks, leave N95s and surgical masks to the professionals.