As a society here in the US we are not used to wear face masks, as many other nations mostly in the Far East have always been doing, when they have an upper respiratory issue, and they want to avoid spreading it to people around.
This Pandemic will teach us for now, and most probably in the future, the need to wear those masks when having symptoms, mostly as a social consideration.
For now, we have to realize that if we want to be able to reduce the risk of the viral spread, and to slowly plan an exit, wearing masks is absolutely necessary.
There are to kind of masks, masks that most people need to wear when in public, to protect others, and medical masks, that are meant to protect those in the frontline that have to protect themselves, and those they treat that might not have the virus.
The Medical providers should of course be in priority for using the Medical protective masks, but in my humble opinion as a care giver to a very vulnerable person, I would include in the group with the need of a Medical masks, also people with chronic health conditions, the elderly, and the most at risk, that while they should practice complete social distancing and staying home, but if they have no choice, and need to go out, medical masks will protect them as well.
Medical masks are masks that are considered N95 or N99, and that means that they can block 95% and more of the virus from getting into the respiratory system. All other masks either purchased or home made, while not completely protecting the person that wears it, is meant to protect people around us, and mainly stops the droplets coming out of our mouth and nose, while talking or coughing, and stops those droplets from getting into the breathing air of people around us.
We should also remember that our eyes, are not covered by the mask, and they are also a port of entry for the virus. Therefore those that need a Medical masks, need some sort of eyes cover like goggles or plastic shields, for more complete protection from others.