Frequently Asked Questions

Well then why are some experts telling healthy people not to wear masks?

This messaging has been confusing and sometimes wrong. It’s true that healthy people should not *buy* medical-grade PPE during a shortage. But it’s also true that even cloth masks slows the spread of viruses.

Cool website but ... are any other Americans saying this?

Are any other governments specifically recommending *homemade* masks?

Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Who’d we miss?

What countries have mask mandates right now?

What countries encourage public face mask use in general?

Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Thailand, China, Singapore, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Taiwan …

Is it working?

Yes, Czech is saying it’s dramatically slowed the virus. (March 29)

Sounds anecdotal... I need more data.

What does China's CDC think?

that “The biggest mistake in the U.S. and Europe … is that people aren’t wearing masks.”

I have N95s or surgical masks. Should I wear them?

No! Donate them to a hospital immediately as in literally today. Nurses are already being forced to buy or reuse a single mask for days.

Do homemade face masks work as well as surgical masks or N95s?


So shouldn't I wear hospital-grade masks instead?

No! Not while there’s a shortage. If hospitals don’t have enough, our nurses and doctors will get sick. A shortage of health care professionals right now would make things much much worse. (you get sicker and lose more money)

So why wear them at all?

To dramatically slow the spread of viruses like the flu and COVID19. It’s about shifting our perspective from personal protection to community protection.

But what if people touch their faces while adjusting?

It’s okay if you accidentally touch your cheek a few times. The point is to keep peoples’ spit out of the air. Also, universal masks remind everyone to take this seriously, stay home, and not eat with their fingers.

But we don't have enough, right?

Everyone has an old tshirt or bandana they can use. We need face mask mandates TODAY. When the Czech Republic mandated masks, there was a huge collaborative public effort to make homemade masks. Homes and businesses including theaters and bars.

But my community has fever checkpoints.

A third of infections might be asymptomatic. Even if you feel healthy, you need to assume you’re contagious and stop breathing directly into air in public spaces without some sort of mask.

Could making masks be a fun thing to do while stuck at home?

Yes — great question!

Ok, masks sound great. So I can go out in public now?

No!  The virus can stay airborne for several hours.  Wearing a basic face mask provides really minimal protection to the wearer.  It’s main role is to protect other people *from* the wearer.  Simply speaking is enough to spew 600 virus-filled droplets into the air around you every minute.  Face masks are for keeping it out of the air in the first place.  Once the virus is airborne, you can easily breath it in through a basic face mask.  This is why it’s imperative to preserve respirators (N95) for health care and other critical workers.

Are there any risks to mandating public mask usage?

Yes. In 1918, some cities mandated masks with threat of jail time which probably wasn’t smart. Czech police currently *can* fine people not wearing masks, but their main role is advising and educating, which seems to be working well.

Who should I urge to promote public mask usage?

Friends, family, people you talked to in middle school once, coworkers, elected officials

Where can I learn more about making and sharing masks?

But I haven't finished Tiger King.

Against all odds, Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin have united in urging you to make and wear face masks. #wereAllInThisTogether