Why a Mask?

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen waves of varying information. As we have learned more about the virus and how it spreads, we have implemented practices to best protect our patients, ourselves, and our families that we each go home to.

Watch this video for a moment with Doctor Huitink and his approach to best maintaining heath throughout this pandemic.

We are seeing evidence of mask-wearing being one of the BEST ways to keep not only yourself safe from the spread of sickness, but your neighbors and loved ones as well!

The AAAS Science journal released an article in late June 2020 explaining the science behind the way that COVID-19 is spread and the steps we can to to help reduce that. It states:

“…there are two major respiratory virus transmission pathways: contact (direct or indirect between people and with contaminated surfaces) and airborne inhalation. Identifying infected individuals to curb SARS-CoV-2 transmission is more challenging compared to SARS and other respiratory viruses because infected individuals can be highly contagious for several days, peaking on or before symptoms occur.”

This explains the reasoning for quarantining when someone has known direct contact with a positive case of COVID-19. It also helps to further understand why social distancing, mask-wearing, and thorough hand-washing are helpful practices, because it is not known at any time if you may have an asymptomatic case.

“After evidence revealed that airborne transmission by asymptomatic individuals might be a key driver in the global spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommended the use of cloth face coverings. Masks provide a critical barrier, reducing the number of infectious viruses in exhaled breath, especially of asymptomatic people and those with mild symptoms. Surgical mask material reduces the likelihood and severity of COVID-19 by substantially reducing airborne viral concentrations. Masks can also protect uninfected individuals from SARS-CoV-2 aerosols and droplets. Thus, it is particularly important to wear masks in locations with conditions that can accumulate high concentrations of viruses, such as health care settings, airplanes, restaurants, and other crowded places with reduced ventilation.

As we see our local government require facemasks, it is important that we understand that in doing so, we are helping to promote the health of our communities. An article written by UCSF supports the data listed above with a specific account:

“Two compelling case reports also suggest that masks can prevent transmission in high-risk scenarios, said Chin-Hong and Rutherford. In one case, a man flew from China to Toronto and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. He had a dry cough and wore a mask on the flight, and all 25 people closest to him on the flight tested negative for COVID-19. In another case, in late May, two hair stylists in Missouri had close contact with 140 clients while sick with COVID-19. Everyone wore a mask and none of the clients tested positive.”

If you are able, dive further into the article by UCSF linked here and noted above which does an excellent job of explaining all of the “big” COVID-19 questions such as: Why did the CDC change its guidance on wearing masks?, What evidence do we have that wearing a mask is effective?, Who do masks protect?, How many people need to wear a mask?, Does the mask type matter?, and Do you need a mask if you are social distancing?