One of the most significant issues when dealing with COVID-19 has been the constant use of a face mask in public places. Many people have stopped using a mask, and the general precautions to prevent the spreading of the disease have gone down.
As of right now, in the US alone, there are over 20 million cases of COVID, and almost half a million people have died from this disease. Despite this reality, many people still refuse to wear a mask in public.
Back in December 2020, the elected president, Joe Biden, said he would call for 100 days of wearing masks as one of his firsts responses against the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just 100 days to mask. Not forever. One hundred days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction,” president Joe Biden told CNN during an interview.
3. What Would 100 Days of Wearing Masks Do for the US?
Although it may not seem like much, over three months of wearing a mask could reduce the threat of coronavirus in the US significantly.
We’ve already seen the power that wearing masks and following the health guidelines has. A great example is New Zealand, a country that, over the course of the pandemic, has had a little over 2000 cases of COVID-19. That’s mostly because of how the country as a whole followed the health guidelines, like social distancing and wearing a mask.
The US could see similar results with 100 days of wearing a face mask. Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told TODAY how wearing masks could have a major impact on reducing community transmission.
“We have ongoing high levels of community transmission all over this country. With that rate of community transmission, with the infectiousness of this virus and with the weather that we’re dealing with, that really consistent mask-wearing could have a major impact on reducing community transmission,” said Beyrer.
“Lower case numbers could allow us to deal with the current huge challenge, which is that, once again, our hospitals are full, our emergency rooms are full, and our ICU beds and the staff to manage those ICU beds are really wearing thin,” continued Beyrer. “The Army Corps of Nurses has been moving nurses around the country and trying to cover the hotspots, but there are so many that mask-wearing could make a big difference.”
Community transmission occurs when there isn’t a clear source for an infection in any given community. This makes it impossible to know who’s the person that’s infecting everyone else, and it’s even more common since many people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms. Asymptomatic people, that is, individuals who have COVID-19 but don’t show any symptoms, are responsible for 24% of transmission of the coronavirus.
Robert Hecht, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, also sees positive effects on wearing masks for 100 days, saying that it could flatten the curve to less than 100,000 new cases per day.
“That 100,000 would no longer be affecting the elderly people with serious comorbidities and things like that. We might only see 50, or 100, or a few hundred deaths a day because we would have these infections in people that are much less likely to develop the serious disease and die,” said Hecht.
2. The COVID Vaccine Isn’t Enough
Even though the COVID vaccine is already in circulation and many people have taken it already, that’s not enough to help lower the transmission of the coronavirus. Robert Hecht explains that we still need to use other non-pharmaceutical interventions, or NPIs, like face masks. Of course, there are other essentials that are worth stocking up during this pandemic.
As of right now, it’s still uncertain how long will the COVID vaccine protect every individual. Plus, there have been many new variants of coronavirus around the world that haven’t been anticipated.
Not only that, but right now, not everyone has access to the COVID vaccine, and some people still have to wait to get their doses. That makes it impossible to rely only on the vaccine to help stop the virus across the US, and how wearing a mask for 100 could have great results for the people.