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2 Reasons You Should Keep Wearing a Mask

Masks During COVID-19

August 6, 2020

Scientific Evidence

The CDC explains that COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

That’s where masks come in: “A mask is a barrier between you and the people around you and helps keep your germs — when you exhale or cough or sneeze — from reaching other people. It also helps protect you from germs and particles coming into your mouth and nose,” says Dr. Christina Taylor, Chief Quality Officer at The Iowa Clinic.

In the early days of this virus, it was unclear whether masks would make a difference. As the months progressed and medical and scientific experts learned more about COVID-19, noted its progress and observed results in countries where masks were universally adopted — and ones where they were not — it has become abundantly clear that masks do significantly decrease the spread of the virus. “We now know that masks are beneficial to slowing and stopping this disease,” says Dr. Taylor.

Community Care

“Wearing a mask is a personal protection, but it is also a selfless act and a reflection of our duty to protect others,” says Dr. Taylor. Remember that it’s not just yours or your household’s health at stake. It’s the people you pass in the grocery store, stand behind at the post office or wave hello to when walking your dog. The vulnerable in our communities are counting on us to put their well-being above the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask, and the overall health of our neighborhoods, cities and country is directly impacted by our choice to either help stop the spread, or contribute to it.

Even those of us who are young and healthy must keep in mind that there are people around us for whom the disease would be devastating and potentially lethal. And we may not even know who they are. Individuals over the age of 60, those with heart disease, lung disease, asthma and auto-immune disease are all highly vulnerable. But they’re not alone. Cancer patients and all individuals on immuno-suppressant medications are also at high risk.

“The reality is, you have no idea who is vulnerable or not,” says Dr. Taylor. “That person walking by you may look perfectly young and healthy but have MS or leukemia.”

In the end, it’s simple: wearing a mask demonstrates our care for others, our consideration for medical conditions we may not see or be aware of and our willingness to set an example for our neighbors, our friends, even our children. The more people wear masks, the safer we all are.

For the same reason we get flu shots, we wear masks. Not just for us, but for others.

Find more COVID-19 resources from the Iowa Clinic here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is working with its partners to encourage businesses and community to Mask Up DSM. You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates. See more on COVID-19 here.