Masks are effective, if you wear them

I just returned home from necessary trips to Mill Creek’s Lowe’s and Safeway. Most people were wearing masks, as per the requirement, but a significant number were not. This is disappointing. The effectiveness of wearing of masks to help prevent community spread of viral respiratory diseases is well established.

For example, Hong Kong, which has a dense population, has beaten COVID-19 through a combination of masks (about 97 percent participation), social distancing, personal hygiene and school closures. They have done more than bend the curve. A very good paper on Hong Kong and masks may be found by searching: “The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2.

Unless and until we have an effective vaccine, masks and the other measures urged by public health officials are our best defense against rising death tolls and overwhelmed medical systems.

And, for those who are unclear about the point of masks, they are not designed to protect the person wearing the mask. They are designed to protect everyone who comes near you from inadvertent spread of the virus. A large proportion of people who are infected and able to spread the disease do not show symptoms. They believe they are fine and sneer at those who wear masks.

But that is not just nonsense, it is dangerous nonsense. There are many reasons why America is experiencing such a terribly disproportionate economic and medical outbreak. One of the reasons is the continuing deadly ignorance about masks.

They are effective. They are required. Get one and wear it.

Joel Grant

Bothell

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