Seriousness For Consistently Wearing A Mask Or Face Covering In Public At An All-Time High
Monday is a big day in cities like Nashville, Tennessee and Kansas City, Missouri.
That’s when new face mask mandates go into effect as residents for their respective cities are advised to wear face coverings in public at all times with exemptions for eating and drinking at restaurants or while engaging in certain outdoor activity. The news follows similar mandates announced late last week in Anchorage, Alaska, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and across North Carolina with mandatory mask requirements being implemented as countrywide infections rates and the number of hospitalizations continue to climb from a second wave of the Coronavirus.
With masks and face coverings acting as a physical barrier against respiratory droplets going from one person to another, the benefits of wearing a mask in public to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus is impactful for those wearing a mask and in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
As over 125,000 COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed across the United States - more than in any other country — the seriousness and reasons for consistently wearing a mask or face covering in public is also at an all-time high.
Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus
Nina Bai from UC San Francisco spoke with epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, and infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong MD, about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversal on mask-wearing, the current science on how masks work, and what to consider when choosing a mask.
“I think the biggest thing with COVID now that shapes all of this guidance on masks is that we can’t tell who’s infected,” said Dr. Chin-Hong. “You can’t look in a crowd and say, oh, that person should wear mask. There’s a lot of asymptomatic infection, so everybody has to wear a mask.”
Travelers Irked By Inconsistent Face Mask Use Aboard Aircraft
Anne Snabes at the Indianapolis Star writes about how many airlines require wearing masks, but not all are. Airlines for America (an Airline trade association) says its members, including Southwest, Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines, require passengers and customer-facing employees to wear face coverings, according to a press release. A press release from American and Delta say that the airlines may deny future travel for customers who decline to wear a facial covering.
“The face covering requirement is just one of many steps U.S. airlines are taking to help protect the wellbeing of all travelers,” Airlines for America communications director Katherine Estep said in a statement. “U.S. airlines have implemented intensive cleaning protocols, in some cases to include electrostatic cleaning and fogging procedures."
Are Face Mask Requirements Legal?
Over at NPR, Lulu Garcia-Navarro breaks down the topic and question if there is a legal basis for mandatory mask wearing as State and local governments utilize their broad authority.
“The message that wearing a mask protects other people isn't really getting through for some folks. So we're seeing a lot of rhetoric about how it should be a personal choice to decide to take a risk instead of focusing on how we don't know who's infected and could be spreading the virus to others,” Garcia-Navarro writes.
Don't Fall For These 3 Myths About Face Masks
Erin Schumaker with ABC News reports on Dr. Jennifer Ashton debunking three common myths about face masks and particularly those reasons people use for not wearing them in public: medical conditions that prevent wearing a mask, masks cutting off oxygen, and how wearing a mask eliminates social distancing. All of these myths point to a popular trend in society of coming up with reasons to not wear a mask or face covering in public, instead of taking steps to proactively protect people from the spread of the Coronavirus.
"Let's try to keep it to fact, not fiction,” said Dr. Ashton.