The scientific evidence is overwhelming that we can reduce virus transmission if we all wear masks in public. Please protect yourself and others by wearing a mask and demanding that others do the same.
We've analyzed ~40 scientific papers, and they indicate that basic masks can be effective in reducing virus transmission in public. Not a single paper that shows clear evidence that they cannot. Hospitals running short of N95-rated masks are turning to homemade cloth masks themselves.
Most countries who have Coronavirus under control have widespread mask usage. Hong Kong, Mongolia, South Korea and Taiwan, have covid-19 largely under control. They are all near the original epicenter of the pandemic in mainland China, and they have economic ties to China. Yet none has resorted to a lockdown.
Many authorities still advise only people with symptoms to wear masks. But this doesn’t help with a disease like covid-19, since a person who does not yet show symptoms can still be contagious. If we all wear masks, people unknowingly infected with the coronavirus would be less likely to spread it.
You can help change your country's norms and make mask safety mainstream. Wearing a mask [in the Czech Republic] is now considered a prosocial behavior. Going outside without one is frowned on as an antisocial action that puts your community at risk. In fact, the community reaction has been so strong that the government has responded by making it illegal to go out in public without a mask.