Why wearing masks is now necessary

Published 9:12 am Friday, April 10, 2020

It is now being recommended that you should wear a mask over your nose and mouth when out in public.
According to the CDC, this is useful in helping slow the spread of the virus.
“A cloth face covering should be worn whenever you go out in public settings, such as the grocery store or pharmacy, or if you are going to be in close contact (about 6 feet) with other people,” the organization stated in an email. “Even if you do not have symptoms, you can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and may spread the virus to others.”
While some people show symptoms with the virus, there are those who are asymptomatic or have yet to show their symptoms. These individuals can still spread the virus. As a result, both those sick, those who are not and those who do not know if they are, should all wear cloth coverings.
Children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, should not wear these cloth coverings.
While wearing masks is now urged, cloth masks are the recommended covering, usually homemade, rather than medical masks. Medical masks remain needed by medical personnel or other sick persons, and remain in short supply. Medical personnel who have been exposed to the virus are urged to wear homemade masks while at home to prevent spreading the illness when not working.
According to Dr. DavidKirschke, Medical Director of the Northeast Regional Health Office, this recommendation is a tool to assist, rather than a substitute, for social distancing.
“Wearing cloth face coverings when we are in public is not a substitute for other social distancing and prevention measures, but can be another tool to slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “Cloth face coverings are meant to protect others from our respiratory secretions when we talk or cough in the event we are infected and do not know it. Cloth face coverings can be as effective as medical masks at helping us keep our germs to ourselves.”
It remains urged that you stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to be out. Likewise, proper handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds should be practiced frequently, as is staying six feet apart from other people.
New information on COVID-19 is surfacing frequently. During this time, the best resources to find out more remain the CDC and the state health department. You can go to www.cdc.gov/covid-19 or www.tn.gov/covid-19.

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