UPDATED: Why you should wear your mask

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Some question masks' usefulness, but data continues to prove their ability to slow the spread


For months now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended everyone wear a face covering over their nose and mouth to aid in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Many did so – and continue to do so – while also continuing to question masks’ effectiveness.

Previously published studies demonstrate various levels of protections offered by different types of face coverings (such as a clinical N95 mask as opposed to a homemade cloth mask) along with suggestions that masks only protect against infecting others, but not so much against becoming infected themselves.

Recently, however, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco shared that mask-wearing offers protection for both the wearer and those around him or her – protection against both contracting the virus and infecting others.

Again, while no mask offers complete protection from the virus, research has shown that exposure to a reduced amount of COVID-19 droplet particles have resulted in less severe illnesses or with the person infected experiencing no symptoms at all (asymptomatic infection).

Everyone wearing masks reduces the amount of particles being transmitted.

Original post

Amid a surge of positive COVID-19 tests across Michigan, a mandate has been ordered for everyone to wear a mask or face covering when venturing out into public.

Even before the mandate, wearing a mask was strongly encouraged by public health experts while also being a strong topic of contention.

However, scientific studies support the fact that widespread mask usage along with other mitigation strategies – such as social distancing – can aid in slowing the spread of the coronavirus and prevent additional COVID-19 cases.

The Lancet, a peer-reviewed general medical journal, published a comprehensive study that concludes that while no single mask offers complete protection, various masks (ranging from N-95s to homemade cloth masks) offer significant levels of protection against infection.

Another study came to a similar conclusion – that not wearing a mask drastically increases a person’s chance of becoming infected.

This proved especially true for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic virus spreading. COVID-19’s high infection rate can be partially attributed to the fact that an infected person can spread the virus before they begin to show symptoms.

A study conducted in Asia early during the pandemic found that 40 to 50 percent of cases resulted from contracting the virus from an asymptomatic person, while even more caught it from someone who was pre-symptomatic.

Continuing to learn more about COVID-19, scientists are confident that the virus is spread by inhaling the virus from an infected person’s droplets or aerosol. (Droplets and aerosols are expelled when someone is coughing, sneezing, singing/speaking loudly, laughing or any activity that can send respiratory secretions into the air.)

While scientists and public health experts admit that while no mask is perfect when it comes to offering the wearer 100 percent protection, enough credible evidence exists showing that wearing a mask, along with social distancing and other mitigation strategies, significantly lessen the risk of contracting and transmitting the virus.


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