Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated in a CNN interview that a nationwide face mask mandate may be warranted.
In the first weeks of the pandemic, the CDC and the White House — along with Dr. Fauci — stated that mask wearing wasn’t necessary for people who weren’t in healthcare. At that time, their position was based on two factors. The first factor was that very little was known about COVID at the time, and research showed that the virus passed from person to person through droplets and did not travel far through the air.
The second factor was the severe PPE (personal protective equipment) shortage for healthcare personnel. At the time — just as it is now — it was imperative to keep healthcare personnel healthy enough to care for the rest of the population through the pandemic.
Fast forward to the fall of 2020. Scientists have gained knowledge about the virus, there’s currently a viable vaccine (or two), and the entire country is seeing an epic surge in coronavirus cases. Public health officials are imploring the public to remain physically distant (six to 10 feet apart) and wear a mask. As of mid-November 2020, a quarter of a million people in America have died of COVID-19. Many of those that have sadly passed away were elderly or with pre-existing conditions. However, COVID-19 has also claimed enough young and healthy people for everyone to be wary of.
As with the start of the pandemic, the nation is back to square one due to the surge in the pandemic. As a country, we are worrying again about PPE, lockdowns, and testing. You would think that, during these trying times, the nation would agree on one thing — to mask or not to mask.
As the coronavirus sweeps through America, the nation remains divided regarding mask wearing. For some people, masks are unnecessary and impose on their freedoms. For others, masks are an effective evidence-based intervention in the fight against a very real pandemic. Unfortunately, the safety of everyone requires the participation of many — not just half of the population.
Is Dr. Fauci’s assessment accurate? Should we all be mandated to wear a mask? Is it, sadly, too late for a mandate?
8. Face Masks Keep Viruses from Spreading to Others
A Nature Medicine study found that even surgical masks, which don’t fit as tightly as N95 masks, block almost all contagious droplets that the mask wearers expelled. By wearing masks, wearers prevent other people around them from getting their germs when they breath and talk.
7. No Improvement in Mask Wearing Practices Mean More Deaths
According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 49% of Americans wear face masks, which is not enough. Even when combined with social distancing measures, computer models project a half million deaths from COVID by February 2021.