What we know about COVID-19 and masks
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we interact, and few things bring as many questions.
Patients tell me the mixed messages they hear create great confusion — should they wear a mask at the beach, can they go to a barbeque this weekend, is it safe to eat out?
Here is what we know:
- The coronavirus spreads through the air when someone carrying the virus speaks, sneezes, coughs, laughs, or sings.
- Wearing a mask decreases the spread of the coronavirus.
- If you cannot maintain social distance (6 feet between you and people outside of your household), you should wear a mask.
- You can spread the virus even if you have no symptoms. This is why the CDC recommends that everyone wears a mask when near others. The mask decreases the amount of coronavirus that is expelled into the air that others could inhale. Recent data shows that wearing a mask also protects the wearer from inhaling coronavirus.
- The mask must cover both your nose and mouth.
The virus can also spread by surface contact. If an infected person coughs into their hand and then touches a doorknob, for example, the germs are transferred to the doorknob. If you touch the knob then touch your eye, you could become infected. Your best defense? Regular and thorough handwashing.
Which brings us to the Fourth of July weekend. How can you safely celebrate?
- Limit your exposure by avoiding large gatherings such as bars, busy restaurants, crowded beaches.
- Wear a mask when 6-feet social distancing is not possible — in stores, on crowded streets, even at gatherings for extended family or friends.
- Choose outside locations when possible
- Wash your hands regularly
I realize that this can put a damper on your activities, but these steps will help prevent a rebound of COVID-19, similar to what is happening in other areas of the country.
I remain cautiously optimistic that we will see a vaccine early next year. Until then, masking, social distancing, and good hand hygiene remain our best defenses against this unpredictable and often serious disease.
Best wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July,
Dan Loiselle, MD
Chief Medical Officer
P.S.. If you’ve called our office recently, you are aware that we’re experiencing issues with our new phone system. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience it may have cause you. We are working with the vendor to identify the cause of the issue and determine a solution.