How can we help people who are reluctant to wear masks, especially if a more dangerous variant emerges? Elizabeth Tracey reports


 Masking reduces transmission of respiratory viruses like Covid-19 dramatically, yet naysayers abound. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says one way to possibly overcome their objections is to provide an opportunity to really see what’s out there.

Ray: Leadership has not done a good job of helping people explore masks to find one that fits them well. Many people who have the means to try out masks haven’t done it but many people don’t have the resources and we really should be providing a wide range of masks to people and good education about how to know whether it fits well. In the hospital we do fit testing where we spray an aerosol, and we can tell whether or not the aerosol gets through the mask. Why don’t we have that in drugstores? And give people the chance to test a bunch of masks and find one that fits?  :30

Ray says other respiratory viruses such as the flu are also very effectively blocked by a properly fitted mask, and we could consider broadcasting public health alerts when viral transmission is high so people could choose to wear a mask then. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.