With all the discussion about face coverings these days, it’s easy to lose track of a simple truth: wearing a mask is among the most effective things people can do to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why Blue Shield has decided to launch our new Wear a Mask campaign. Whether you’re a doctor or nurse, executive or employee, cashier or customer, we all have a responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID and COVID-related misinformation.
Blue Shield’s top physician, Dr. Terry Gilliland, offers the following reasons to wear a mask, as well as address some myths surrounding their use.
Masks work – Several recent studies have shown that wearing a mask can prevent droplets from escaping your nose and mouth, and therefore help slow the spread of COVID-19 – especially inside a place of business where it can be harder to maintain a 6-foot distance between co-workers or employees and customers.
Masks keep customers and co-workers safe – We now know that the two days before we start feeling COVID-19 symptoms are some of the most infectious, because we can spread the virus and not know it. Everyone from an elderly friend or family member to a young, healthy co-worker can contract COVID-19. One recent study found that nearly half (up to 45 percent) of COVID-19 infections may be asymptomatic. This is why wearing a mask, even as a precautionary measure, is so important.
Masks encourage good hygiene – We touch our faces so much that we’re often unaware of just how much we do it. As it turns out, wearing a mask in public and at work discourages us from touching our face, helping protect us against another potential source of infection: our hands. By making a habit of wearing a mask and then washing your hands before removing it, you’ll limit your chances of catching the virus.
Masks help slow the spread – COVID-19 is not going away, so we have to adapt. Until a vaccine is approved and made widely available, masks and social distancing are the only way for us to reopen our businesses and go about our lives without causing an upswing in infections.
Masks save lives – Over 130,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, which means it’s now more deadly than the flu and diabetes. If we don’t do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus, it could end up being the top cause of death this year. So whether you’re waiting in line, using public transit, or at work, remember that wearing a mask is one of the most effective things you can do to help stop the spread.