Interesting article on face masks and how to use and reuse them.
By Feb 25, China was capable of producing about 54 million face masks a day, including over 900,000 medical N95 face masks, Ou Xiaoli, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Department of Social Development, said in a news briefing.
The daily mask output was almost three times higher than that at the end of the Spring Festival holiday in late January.
"Production capability has been expanded to 110 percent of the normal level," Ou said, adding that the supply of masks can meet front-line health workers' needs.
However, Ou noted that as work and production resume across the nation, nonmedical personnel's demand for masks has soared.
"It is high time that we use our face masks scientifically and cut down on waste," he said.
"It is unnecessary for those who only meet one or two people a day to change their masks once every four hours. There is no need to wear a mask in open, uncrowded and well-ventilated areas. We also advise people to extend the wear time and usage of their normal masks based on their circumstances."
While experts and guidelines have strongly discouraged frontline medical staff and others with high risk of infection from reusing their masks, ordinary people can sanitize their masks at home and reuse them so long as the mask is not damaged or stained.
One method developed by scientists from Beijing University of Chemical Technology advises people to soak used medical masks in water at around 56 C or slightly higher for 30 minutes.
They should then pull the mask out and remove surface moisture, then place the mask on a paper towel or any other insulating surface and dry the remaining water with a hair dryer for about 10 to 15 minutes.