Does a Mask REALLY Help Slow the Coronavirus in Minnesota?
While some businesses and cities are requiring you to wear a mask, maybe you've been wondering if doing so is actually effective in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Several stores I frequent here in southeast Minnesota have required you to wear a mask if you're going to be shopping there (though I still see many people not wearing them who are still shopping). And some cities, like Minneapolis and St. Paul, are requiring you to wear a mask when any time you're in an indoor public space. I'll be the first to admit I don't like wearing a mask when I'm out in public. Wearing one is hot, and often times it makes it tough to see properly.
But, I've been wearing one now for several weeks when I go to the store. (Which is pretty much the only place I go these days, outside of heading into work here at the station.) And, putting the politics of wearing one aside, I wondered if wearing a mask was, in fact, helpful in slowing the spread of the coronavirus or if it was just 'for show.'
Like many of us, I've heard various contradictory studies about wearing masks in public-- several say they're effective, while others say they're not. The Minnesota Department of Health urges you to wear one when you're out in public. But seeing as the world-renowned experts at Mayo Clinic are right here in our backyard, I wondered what their take on wearing a mask. And here's what they had to say.
"Yes, face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the disease," this Mayo Clinic News Network story says. And yes, the story says, that applies to even the homemade, non-surgical, cloth masks-- the kind you and I are most likely to wear.
"Countries that required face masks, testing, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic seem to have had some success slowing the disease's spread," the story continues. "Common sense also suggests that some protection is better than none. But wearing a cloth face mask will lose any value unless it's combined with frequent hand-washing and social distancing," it noted.
So, yeah, I'll still don that uncomfortable mask when I'm out in public-- at least inside, anyway. You can read more about masks and how they relate to the coronavirus from Mayo Clinic HERE.