Fitness Facts: How face masks can make a difference
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
We should wear face masks to fight the COVID outbreak for these reasons:
Other countries that flattened and decreased the curve used masks in public.
A single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets. There are fears the virus also can be spread simply through speaking. Recent studies have shown that thousands of droplets invisible to the naked eye go into the air just by uttering the words “stay healthy.”
Once out of our mouths, many of the larger droplets will quickly settle onto nearby surfaces while smaller ones remain suspended in the air for hours, where they can be breathed in. While the behavior of the virus-filled droplets in rooms with air conditioning and outside environments are less well understood, they are thought to settle on surfaces more quickly in circulated air.
One of the reasons the widespread, public wearing of face masks is so important with COVID-19 has to do with the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers who still can spread the virus to others.
It is estimated that anywhere from 6% to 17% of those infected can carry the virus without developing symptoms. Add to this an incubation period of 5-14 days before symptoms develop, and even those who do go on to show signs of being contagious can spread the virus to a lot of people before they start to fall ill.
Because of these concerns, it makes it particularly difficult to suppress transmission in the community. But if everyone is wearing face masks, including infected and asymptomatic people, it could help to reduce the amount of virus that gets into the environment and potentially causes infections.
Provided enough people wear masks when venturing out in public, it could have a dramatic impact on how quickly the coronavirus starts to spread again, particularly if combined with other measures such as social distancing and handwashing.