If you are infected you are protecting those around you by wearing a mask. When you cough or sneeze the mask will trap the particles so they can’t escape to infect others. It’s interesting to note that in Western society we consider it a sign of bravado to continue to go to our jobs when we’re under the weather. In Oriental society people wear face masks the minute they come down with a sniffle. It’s a sign of politeness and they wouldn’t dream of mingling with others without wearing their mask. In this respect we in the West have a lot to learn from them.
If there’s a pandemic and you need to be around others, wearing a mask provides a significant degree of protection. Note however that it must be a tight fitting mask with an N95 rating. The N95 rating means that the mask will trap 95% of all pathogens that are greater than 1/3 of a micron in size. While the corona virus is smaller than the mask pores, and theoretically should be able to pass right through, when someone coughs or sneezes the virus it is enveloped in moisture which is larger than the mask pores and so is effectively trapped. You can find a lot of different N95 masks for sale online.
Probably the most common way that people are infected is from hand to mouth or hand to nose contact. It’s almost impossible to avoid doing this. The average person touches his/her face several hundred times per day. Wearing a face mask provides the most foolproof protection available.
During a pandemic most public places will be barred to anyone not wearing a face mask. If you need to go shopping, or anywhere else where there are people, you will need a mask.
It may seem counterintuitive, but when you’re wearing a face mask people will avoid coming close to you. They automatically assume you must be sick. This is good because you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people whenever possible.
For everyone who has the foresight to stockpile face masks there are probably a thousand who haven’t. And during a pandemic face masks will be impossible to obtain. It took less than a week for every major supplier to run out of masks in April last year. If you have extra masks you’ll be able to help your friends who were caught unprepared.