N95 masks. Surgical masks. Homemade masks. Two months ago, if someone was wearing a mask, we would wonder “why”; these days, we wonder “why” if someone is not wearing one. In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the wearing of masks has become globally commonplace, from airports and grocery stores to homes and neighborhoods. Many hospital systems have instituted mandatory 24/7 mask-wearing policies for all employees, visitors, and patients who walk through their doors, with the goal of protecting patients and healthcare workers alike and with the hope of decreasing the spread of a disease actively wreaking medical, financial, and emotional havoc across the globe.

And yes, face masks offer critical protection to providers on the frontline. Face masks decrease the spread of COVID-19 and may be at least partially responsible for “flattening the...

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