A Movement for the Population-Wide Use of Reusable, Cloth Face Masks to Preserve the Environment and Promote Public Health
Greater Good Face Mask was started to encourage people to start using face masks during the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic of 2019-20. Even while the CDC and WHO advised that face masks were only beneficial for the sick, or for those caring for the sick, we recognized early on that asymptomatic transmission was a large part of community spread (1), and believed that we should all assume we are infected (sick) and wear a mask to prevent further community spread; mask wearing needed to become one of the mitigation strategies to stop the spread of SARS-Cov-2.
We started by bringing to light that face mask wearing had been a part of Asian cultures (e.g., Japan) for many years, and was also a part of Asian countries' public health education (2). During the initial weeks of the SARS-Cov-2 spread throughout Asia, countries like South Korea (3) and Taiwan (4) were imposing reductions of, or flat out outlawing, exports of face masks and were providing citizens with face masks and were requiring face masks to be worn in public places. News outlets like the South China Morning Post were sharing articles and videos on how to wear a mask and how to make your own mask at home (5). Countries where face mask use was implemented began to see a flattening of their curves well before many other countries in the world. (6)
Since the formation of Greater Good Face Mask, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) have updated their stances on the use of homemade and cloth face masks but the public and it is now encouraged to reduce the spread of infection of SARS-Cov-2. (7, 8)
When you wear a reusable face mask, especially during times of respiratory infection when you could be an asymptomtatic carrier, you cut down on medical waste and make an environmentally- and socially-responsible decision to protect and preserve those around you - you do it for the GREATER GOOD.