The science is solid: masks reduce the spread of infection. The right mask or face covering worn correctly and consistently in public settings has been proven to reduce new COVID-19 infections.
How masks work
The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread through viral particles in the air. This means when you are near a person who is infected – even if they have been vaccinated or do not show symptoms – when they breathe out, they expel microscopic droplets with the virus. These virus particles can enter the body of those nearby through the nose or mouth.
When you wear a quality mask with at least two layers of tightly woven fabric correctly covering both your nose and mouth, the chances of these droplets entering your body are lower. Likewise, if the person who is infected (even if they do not have symptoms) is wearing a mask, the particles are slowed when they leave the person’s body, reducing the number of airborne droplets. This makes it harder for the virus to infect people nearby, especially in indoor settings.
What you don’t see can hurt you
A person infected with the COVID-19 virus will expel thousands of droplets filled with millions of SARS-COV-2 viral particles every time they breathe. Not everyone who has the virus looks sick. This means you cannot tell whether you have been exposed to the virus by standing near a person. You can protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask or face covering in public situations.
How you can help
Wear that mask. We understand it can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but wearing a mask not only protects you and your family from virus transmission, it actually reduces everyone’s risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. This includes all the kids under 12 who are too young to be vaccinated, the person that bags your groceries, your pregnant neighbor, and even the nice lady in the Post Office last Saturday with a pre-existing health condition.
Together, we can reach 90% mask participation long before we a reach 90% vaccination rate, though ultimately both will be necessary to defeat COVID-19 in Guilford County. Evidence has shown that if even 80% of Guilford County residents wear a mask whenever they are in a shared space, the community health effect will be similar to what we saw when in lockdown last year.
Get vaccinated. It matters. Hospitals and healthcare providers are overwhelmed. Emergency room waits are long. As of this writing, 95% of those in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Since August of 2021, approximately 25% of COVID-19 cases being treated in the hospital are kids under the age of 18.
We are already seeing virus variants. If the COVID-19 virus remains unchecked, the more new variants we will see. We must all do our part to end the pandemic before new variants that are even more lethal infect our community. Please, do your part to help.