Two hairstylists at a Springfield, Missouri, salon worked for several days while infected with COVID-19, but masks prevented 139 clients from getting sick. A newly released study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that because both the stylists and the customers wore masks and followed other safety protocols, none of those clients developed COVID-19 symptoms. Nearly half of the customers interviewed agreed to be tested, and all their tests came back negative.
However, the CDC reported one of the stylists infected six people in her family, while the other seems to have not passed it on to any of her close contacts.
According to the CDC, which on July 14 called on all Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, “The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that cloth face coverings provide source control – that is, they help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others.”
A Stylist Worked With Respiratory Symptoms for 8 Days & Another for 5 Days Wearing Double-Layered Cotton Face Masks Before They Knew They Had Positive COVID-19 Test Results
According to the CDC’s report, which refers to the hairstylists as “stylist A” and “stylist B,” stylist A worked for eight days in May with respiratory symptoms, wearing a double-layered cloth mask when she served customers. Though she had symptoms, and medical staff recommended she isolate when she was tested on the sixth day she had symptoms, she continued to work as she awaited her test results.
Stylist B is believed to have been infected by stylist A, as they would “interact” between clients while neither wore their masks.
On day three of stylist A having COVID-19 symptoms, stylist B developed respiratory symptoms, too, and continued to work as they waited for stylist A’s results. Once stylist A got her positive results, stylist B self-isolated and got tested, which came back positive two days later.
According to the CDC, “During all interactions with clients at [the salon], stylist A wore a double-layered cotton face covering, and stylist B wore a double-layered cotton face covering or a surgical mask.”
The CDC report indicates that the county health department “conducted contact tracing for all 139 exposed clients” and interviewed 104. Of the 104, 102 said they wore some kind of mask the entire time of their haircuts. Two people said they wore a mask some of the time. The types of masks varied by the user from cloth to surgical to N95.
The CDC reports, “None of the interviewed customers developed symptoms of illness. Among 67 (48%) customers who volunteered to be tested, all 67 tested negative for the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The clients sat in the stylists’ chairs for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, according to the CDC.
While Medical Experts Have Practiced the Use of Masks for Over 100 Years to Prevent Infection in High-Risk Scenarios, Some People Rail Against Using Face Coverings During the Pandemic, Saying it Violates Their Civil Rights
In a highly divisive time in the U.S., even something as seemingly benign as a face covering that medical experts say will help slow the spread of a potentially deadly disease has become a point of contention.
CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said, “We are not defenseless against COVID-19. 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.”
Yet protests against the mandated use of face coverings have popped up around the country, including in Florida, one of the nation’s and world’s epicenters of coronavirus spread, where cases have topped 315,000 and there have been 4,677 deaths caused by COVID-19 at the time of this writing, according to the Florida Department of Health.
But it’s not just protesters. Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini filed a lawsuit against the Hillsborough County government in Tampa Bay where commissioners have mandated the use of face coverings indoors or in situations where people can’t be six feet apart.
According to the lawmaker, mask ordinances violate civil liberties.
He said, “There was probably a question for the first two weeks we were in a true emergency when it came to covid. And then it just became health mitigation which we should always be doing, so they are using a status of an emergency to jam down new rules and laws that have no bearing on our health or safety,” Bay News 9 reported.