As cases surge and hotspots emerge all over the US, the evidence for mask necessity is beginning to mount, along with a growing theory that masks significantly protect the wearer.
According to the LA Times, “if you’re unlucky enough to encounter an infection person, wearing any kind of facial covering will reduce the amount of virus that your body will take in.” The amount of virus inhaled by your lungs could be the difference between no symptoms, major sickness, or death.
Throughout the pandemic there’s been a common rumor circulating that masks don’t protect the primary wearer, but instead protect others from being exposed to the wearer’s germs. However, Dr. Monica Gandhi, the UC San Francisco professor of medicine and director of the HIV Clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General, says facial masking actually reduces the amount of virus you are exposed to and therefore likely lessens disease severity.
The CDC estimates that the US could get the COVID-19 outbreak under control within four to eight weeks, but only if everyone wears a mask. With the CDC and WHO strongly encouraging mask usage to slow the spread of this new virus, which has killed at least 575,000 worldwide (but likely the number is much higher in countries where reporting isn’t accurate).
The CDC has started recommending policy makers to consider a mask mandate, especially for states seeing exponential rises in infection rates. Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana are showing the poorest health improvement while the COVID numbers in Florida soar.
Unfortunately Florida has seen a massive rise in COVID-19, totaling nearly 400,000 cases, with their current positivity rate hovering at 18%. The state itself has more cases than the UK or Spain. Miami has seen the worst rates with over 70,000 cases, the most of any Florida county. Dan Gelber, Miami mayor, calls it the "epicenter of the epicenter." Even with the worrisome numbers, young people continue to gather on Miami Beach without masks or properly socially distanced.
Dr. Howard, the director of the Journal of the American Medical Association, interviews Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC.
With the knowledge that masks safeguard YOU along with those around you, Americans hopefully will be incentivized enough to wear a mask in public places until we get this coronavirus under control.
We could end this surge like the EU ended theirs if we all do our part and MASK UP.
Written by Alyssa Sanders