With the recent outbreaks of different pandemics around the world, people have started to wear masks more than ever before as a way to protect themselves from getting sick. It’s true that these masks don’t fully prevent you from getting sick, but they will reduce your risk of catching the illness by up to 50%. Here are facts how masks were invented and how they changed the global economy after this pandemic.
How the surgical masks were invented
Dr. Carl Georg Friedrich Wilhelm FlÜgge, a prominent bacteriologist and hygienist in Germany, theorized in 1897 that infectious microorganisms found in droplets that come from the respiratory tract are spread through transmission. In that same year, the Polish doctor Dr. Johann Freiherr von Mikulicz-Radecki proposed that one layer of gauze could serve as what is now known as a surgical mask. Two years later, Dr. W. Huebner noted that surgical masks made of two layers of gauze were more efficient. Medical researchers have continued to experiment with designs and materials in the last century. The current N95 filtering facepiece respirator was introduced by 3M Company around 1998. Since then, it has been shown to be highly effective in decreasing risk of infection.
How masks became popular after the COVID-19 pandemic
Advocacy group Masks4All estimates that 177 out of 198 national governments currently recommend the use of face masks. Here are some organisations recommending that masks be used to minimise transmission, the WHO, the American, European and Chinese Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American immunologist and NIAID director Anthony Fauci.
Worldwide, masks have been extensively adopted. In March 2021, 129 billion masks were being used per month.
How the surgical masks made an impact on global economy
The face mask market is expected to grow from USD 0.9 billion in 2019 to USD 25.1 billion in 2022 and then return to USD 3.0 billion by 2027. This means that, on average, this industry will experience a projected 309.9% CAGR between 2018 and 2021 but only a 34.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2027. It is predicted that the growth of the face mask market is the result of an increasing awareness on the importance of wearing masks, combined with the appearance of COVID-19 and a boost in social media advertising in favour of masks.
Millions of people around the world wear surgical masks each day. Their motives are many, but typically fall into two categories: to prevent others from getting sick or, as in China and some other countries, to stop spreading illness. While it’s true that a mask can stop you from getting sick, it has no effect on how many germs you spread when talking or sneezing. Preventive measures like washing your hands before handling food and covering your mouth when coughing may be less noticeable than wearing a mask but they’re more effective at protecting yourself and others. If you find yourself living in a region with an outbreak of disease, be prepared by having backup masks on hand so that if one wears out you always have another to use immediately.