Mid March, 2020. The USA implemented some sort of an economic shutdown with stay at home, shelter at home suggestions at most locations. Fair enough. New Virus, very little known data at the time. Need to buy some time, for the medical system to catch up, to study, keep the cases limited and find possible solutions. Understandable.
Early April. It is clear that masks do help in containing the spread of the virus. At least it helps from spreading out if the infected person wears it. Not enough medical grade masks were in stock nationwide at the time, so a makeshift mask made at home is still good. This was a good call. If it was done a few weeks earlier, it would have probably saved half the 100k lives who perished. But still, better late than never.
Now, this is the United States of America, the most industrialized nation in the world. A short term shortage of professional-grade masks for everyone is understandable. But by Mid April, it was crystal clear that masks help.
If homemade masks help, wouldn’t professional-grade masks even be better? There are some charts out there that show that a homemade mask can prevent 30% of virus transmission if worn only by the healthy person, and 5% if worn only by the infected person, and 1.5% of both infected and healthy people both wear. Now, these percentages are not proven or certified by any authority. But no one questions the relative effectiveness of both parties wearing the masks.
If N95 or KN95 or equivalent masks were made available to EVERY person in America and requested to wear in any public setup of 2 people or more within a certain distance, the virus has literally no chance of transmission. Mathematically virus transmission rate would be 95% of 5%, which is 0.05%, a very tiny number. The virus would have no chance.
It is not cheap to provide enough of these masks to everyone, but it is a minuscule of the cost to the economy and health that we already have paid dearly. This is a guaranteed solution to get out of this in one to two months. No second wave. Vaccine is a long shot. Hope that works too. Operation mask speed is more practical and may possibly be the ONLY solution to get out of this mess quickly.
In hindsight, if we knew all this back in March, there was not even a need to close down anything. This should have been the solution of choice if we had enough of these in stock.
Anyways, now, private and public enterprises should focus their efforts towards production and supply of these masks to everyone at an unprecedented scale and should be the Manhattan project of 2020. This is a guaranteed 100% solution to the virus problem.