By Starr Wilson
City College campus requires us to wear masks and social distance, but will students cooperate?
I hate wearing a mask. What stops me is science and the fear of the unknown. More than that, my twin sister lives in a state that does not require covers and told me that three of her neighbors have died of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) even though they wore masks. One had gone to the hospital and contracted it there dying a week later. The other two had played cards with six friends, all masked, and all fell ill within a week with two dying later on.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said, “We are not defenseless against COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus — particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, and infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD, in this month’s UCSF patient newsletter, spoke about the CDC’s reversal on mask-wearing.
“We should have told people to wear cloth masks right off the bat,” Rutherford stated.
“Culturally, the U.S. wasn’t prepared to wear masks,” Chin-Hong stated.
“Even now, some Americans are choosing to ignore CDC guidance and local mandates on masks,” he added.
In a study of 15 states, Health Affairs found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rates, which became more apparent over time.
In two cases of mask-wearing saving lives, Rutherford and Chin-Hong cited the case of a COVID-19 positive masked man flying on a plane from China to Toronto, whereby no other passenger tested positive for the virus. Another example was that of two hairstylists in Missouri who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus while having contact with over 140 clients. All wore a mask, and none of them tested positive.
Rutherford further stated that you can contract the virus through the membranes in your eyes, which masks do not cover.
The latest forecast from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation cited in the UCSF newsletter suggests that 33,000 deaths could be avoided by October, if 95 percent of people wore masks in public.
Chin-Hong continued, “The concept is risk reduction rather than absolute prevention.”
Rutherford and Chin-Hong cautioned against N95 masks with valves because they do not protect those around you. The one-way valves close when you breathe in, but open when you breathe out, allowing unfiltered air and droplets to escape.
Chin-Hong said that anyone wearing a valved mask would need to wear a surgical or cloth mask over it.
Chin-Hong said, “Alternatively, just wear a non-valved mask.”
Masks with valves do not comply with the city’s face covering order.
The bottom line is to take responsibility for your health. Stay home as much as you can as COVID-19 has infected five million Americans, and the medical community is still uncertain how exactly it is transmitted nor how to best combat it.