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Wear a mask for each other

Wear a mask for each other

The wearing of masks to help prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 has become a controversial issue. There are several reasons for this: national health care experts were initially asking that the public not wear masks, due in part to ensure there was an adequate supply of masks for healthcare providers. During the early months of the pandemic there was a nationwide, in fact, a worldwide shortage of protective equipment. There have been also statements from health authorities that wearing a mask did not protect one from getting COVID-19 or prevent one from spreading COVID-19. Like so many things in life, there is no absolute statement to be made regarding this.

I have read many medical and scientific articles regarding the wearing of masks and the spreading of this virus and other viruses. In my opinion, it is clear is that:

  • Wearing a mask of any kind does help protect someone from getting COVID-19. This is by no means absolute or perfect, but it does help.
  • Wearing a mask of any kind does help limit the spread of the virus from someone who has the virus. Unfortunately, we can be asymptomatic and feel great, have no problems, yet still be infected, and still be able to spread the virus. Wearing a mask does help limit that spread. Again, it is not perfect but it does help.
  • Wearing a mask is critically important when one is inside a building. When we are in close proximity to each other wearing a mask helps protect all of us.

The experience of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 showed that cities in America that controlled the spread of that virus the best had the fastest and most robust economic return to normal. Some cities quarantined themselves, and in those cities the economies recovered very quickly. Wearing masks was often a key part of those communities’ actions to limit the spread of the Spanish flu.

In addition to helping the economy recover and help businesses stay open, limiting the spread of the virus is important to the health of our community and its citizens. There have been times here in our community when one-half of the beds in our medical surgical and intensive care units have been filled with patients with COVID-19. Many of the hospitals that we often refer patients to the larger medical centers in our region have been full and unable to take transfers of patients who need advanced care that we cannot provide.

So far, 22% of the people who have died from COVID-19 in the US have been under 65 years old, and many of those people did not have pre-existing conditions.

While wearing a mask can help protect you from getting this infection, the major reason to wear a mask is to help protect others. In my opinion, this is an act of kindness and respect for the other person’s life, and an act of love for each other.

Nicholas J. Stamato, MD, FACC, sees patients in the Cardiology Clinic located on the third floor of Campbell County Memorial Hospital. He is also the 2019-20 Chief of Staff.

If you think you have COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider first before coming to the hospital or a clinic. If you don’t have a doctor, get in line at the Walk-In Clinic. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. If you are in crisis and need to talk with a counselor please call 307-688-5555.

Get more information at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.cchwyo.org/covid19.