Following safety precautions by masking up can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protects those most at risk.
Opinion by Anthony Lopez, Special to the Star
A simple face mask, paired with maintaining a safe distance from others, is one of the most effective methods that has been proven to save lives against the deadly new coronavirus.
Face masks offer much more protection against COVID-19 than most people think. Masks do not just protect the health of the person wearing it, but they can help defend others from coming in contact with germs. This is especially important to keep unknowingly infected people from spreading the virus.
New research on face coverings shows that the risk of infection to the wearer is decreased by 65 percent, according to Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
“Everyone should wear a mask,” Blumberg said. “People who say, ‘I don’t believe masks work,’ are ignoring scientific evidence. People who don’t wear a mask increase the risk of transmission to everyone, not just the people they come into contact with. You’re being an irresponsible member of the community if you’re not wearing a mask.”
The coronavirus, similar to the flu, can spread mainly from person-to-person, especially those who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus can be contracted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and can possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The symptoms that come along with the virus include: cough, fever, chills, and loss of taste and smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The scariest part of this virus is that a person could be asymptomatic and become a carrier. The virus is highly contagious and it can infect pedestrians, family members and children. Most importantly, COVID-19 has a significant impact on the elderly.
According to Stat news, “COVID-19 kills an estimated 13.4 percent of patients 80 and older, compared to 1.25 percent of those in their 50s and 0.3 percent of those in their 40s.”
More than 20 states, including California, have issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public spaces to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. According to UC San Francisco, “A recent study published in Health Affairs, found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time. The first five days after a mandate, the daily growth rate slowed by 0.9 percentage-points compared to the five days prior to the mandate; at three weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage-points.”
Coronavirus deaths and cases continue to increase to record heights in the United States. NPR stated that, “The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.”
So be sure to do yourself — and others — a favor by wearing your face mask at all times.