Fort Bragg yesterday published new guidance for the military including its policy on masks. And it appears the military is way more concerned with its force looking uniform than with truly keeping its soldiers safe.
“I’m not going out to search for special colored fabrics. My husband will be going in with whatever colored pillowcase we already have,” one spouse jokingly stated.
“It’s really sad when you don’t see common sense being applied to these policies. By the time DoD put out face mask guidance, you were lucky to find anything anywhere, let alone [considering] the specific limitations… I wish leadership would take another look at what they are doing here…” another spouse chimed in.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t recommend that the overall public wear N95 respirators to guard themselves against respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). N95s are in critical supply and have to be reserved for health care and medical workers and first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
So what we are saying is that because supplies are low that we do not want our troops to wear N95s?
How about everyone be honest and say that due to the shortage, it’s best to save lots of these resources for those presumed to be exposed, like medical workers? No, the Army has decided and made N95s unauthorized instead.
While I can understand that we do not need a bunch of idiots wearing their scuba masks in formation looking like scuba Steve, telling soldiers they can’t wear the best mask out there’s not right. Most bases are still minimally manned with essential workers only.
The CDC recommends that members of the general public use simple cloth face coverings when in a public setting. This may help stem the spread of the virus because asymptomatic people may transmit it without realizing that they are even infected. (For more information, see the CDC’s recommendation regarding the use of fabric face coverings.)
As a reminder, the CDC also recommends hand washing and maintaining a minimum distance of six feet.
While an easy face covering can block many outgoing germs by blocking outgoing saliva droplets, there are more specific recommendations on what homemade masks best protect wearers from incoming germs. Towards that, the CDC posted a set of instructions on how to make a no-sew mask by employing a bandana and a filter or by using rubber bands and folded fabrics.
The ‘N95’ designation means when that subjected to careful testing, the mask (respirator) blocks a minimum of 95 percent of tiny (less than 0.3 microns) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 masks exceed those of simple face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 mask doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of contagion. And it is important to note that N95s should not be shared or reused.
So for now, troops, stay in uniform, before the Sergeant Major hems you up and asks you to take off your mask, which he can legally order you to do.