Isabelle Torres, Staff Writer |
Americans have been challenged to adopt to the new practice of social distancing guidelines including wearing a face mask or face covering while in public. After the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had suggested the practices when the virus first came to the country, many still reject the health practice. COVID-19 is still unpredictable and there was a lot unknown when the virus first plagued the world. It was not known to which extent COVID-19 could spread before symptoms appeared or that a person could be infected but experience no symptoms at all. When health care workers learned of asymptomatic patients and the duration of the incubation state, the CDC and WHO reversed their previous statements. CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said, “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.”
The virus has killed more than 230,000 Americans and infected more than 9.21 million, including President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. The United States first peaked over the months of July and August but has now surpassed those numbers in recent outbreaks across the nation. Oct. 30 marked a new daily high of more than 90,000 infections, just as scientists and doctors predicted a second wave for the colder months of 2020.
Most states have issued a mandate requiring face masks or coverings to be worn out in public, however, there are still 16 states that do not require a face mask. Other states have gone as far as to fine those who do not follow the public health mandate. Fines up to 500 dollars are in place in some states for not adhering to social distancing orders and up to 250 dollars for not wearing a face covering in public.
Masks are one of the most effective ways to keep you and those around you from spreading the virus to others. When wearing a mask over the nose and mouth, respiratory particles are blocked from entering the air around you. Not all particles are blocked but most depending on the mask that you use the safer you and those around you will be. The CDC states that the N95 and medical masks seem to be the most effective as they filter both large and small respiratory particles. Medical masks should be reserved for health care workers and first responders in a CDC guideline. If you are wearing a homemade mask it is most effective if it is two layer and washable, gators should be folded twice if worn. Gators and bandanas are questionable as to how effective they really are as new studies emerge and show evidence against them. The CDC currently does not recommend the use of face shields in substitute of a mask. At this time, it is unknown what level of protection from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer, as it’s primarily used for eye protection.
The CDC states that gloves are only recommended when caring for someone who is infected or when cleaning and disinfecting. They are not required when out in public because it does not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs. It is still advised to wash your hands as often as possible when out in public.
By adhering to the proper protocols and guidelines you are not only protecting yourself, but your loved ones around you and the citizens of the United States.