The Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn, put out a warning this holiday weekend reminding the public that coronavirus is still thriving even though many are going back to life as usual.
Hahn tweeted, “With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.”
With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.
— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) May 24, 2020
Early in the pandemic The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it was not necessary for all people to wear masks unless they were sick themselves or working or caring for the sick.
Then they changed their recommendations saying, “CDC also recommends that everyone wear cloth face coverings when leaving their homes, regardless of whether they have fever or symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of evidence that people with COVID-19 can spread the disease, even when they don’t have any symptoms.”
Doctors Recommend Wearing Masks to help Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Dr. Shannon Sovndal, board-certified doctor in emergency medicine and emergency medical services (EMS) told Heavy wearing masks does work to stop the spread of disease. He said he thinks it’s important to re-open but with a lack of robust and efficient testing coupled with limited knowledge on the new virus, one thing he goes back to is what is known: Social distancing, frequent hand washing or sanitizing, and wearing masks all help to slow the spread of infectious diseases.
Yet, he acknowledges that some people don’t think they need to wear masks.
If people argue, well you’re wearing a mask for nothing because the virus isn’t going to infect everybody, again, I go back to that I don’t know. I don’t know what the virus does for sure yet because I don’t have the data. But I do know the universal precautions in medicine. They work…I need to wash my hands frequently and I need to wear a mask to prevent the spread of droplets and if everyone does that as a whole, you know, we will still have cases, we will still have this virus going around, but it will be dampened and then it won’t be as rapidly spread and we can get our economy back online…it’s about doing it safely — social distancing, wearing a mask, doing those things.
Sovndol said that any mask offers some protection but ideally you want something that has some sort of water protection meaning water particles can’t get through.
“I think that wearing a mask (and doing it appropriately) is the single biggest protection we have. But everyone has to do it for it to work,” he said.
Taskforce coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said something similar to Fox News:
There’s clear scientific evidence now by all the droplet experiments that happen and that others have done to show that a mask does prevent droplets from reaching others. And out of respect for each other, as Americans that care for each other we need to be wearing masks in public when we cannot social distance. It’s really critically important, we have the scientific evidence of how important mask-wearing is to prevent those droplets from reaching others.
The Curve Has Flattened Overall in the U.S. but It’s Still Too Early to Know if There Will be a Resurgence From the Reopenings
As Americans grow weary of social restrictions and photos and videos of crowds at beaches, in the Ozarks, and on boardwalks are splashed on various news sites, the concern is that the virus will re-surge causing more fatalities and possibly overwhelm the health system.
The Washington Post reported that while infections have gone down in some of the hot spots and metropolitan areas like New York, the new concern is a surge of infections in the south and midwest.
“As communities reopen, we’re starting to detect evidence of resurgence in cases in places that have overreached a bit,” said David Rubin, director of PolicyLab told the Washington Post.
Dr. Jeremy Howard, Distinguished Research Scientist at the University of San Francisco wrote in The Conversation, “There are numerous studies that suggest if 80% of people wear a mask in public, then COVID-19 transmission could be halted. Until a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19 is discovered, cloth face masks might be the most important tool we currently have to fight the pandemic.”