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CDC alters stance on importance of masks

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:40 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new information on the effectiveness of masks. Recent studies show they not only protect everyone else from getting sick, but it also helps keep the mask wearer from catching the virus.

A CDC statement said:

“Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearer’s exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns.”

“Wearing masks, at minimum we know that protects those that may be at-risk to become infected, so I think the push for mask wearing certainly in close quarters is an important one,” said Pulmonologist Dr. Douglas Moore of CHI Health Creighton.

The Central District Health Department said it’s essential for people to wear their masks right now. There are 50% of people in the hospital with COVID-19 in the district and across the state. In this week alone, there have been about 300 reported cases in the Central District.

“Every day our numbers are going up exponentially," CDHD Health Director Teresa Anderson said. "We’re at a very serious juncture with the virus, and if you’re keeping score, I think you can say the virus is winning right now.”

The health department urges everyone to wear masks to protect themselves, their loved ones and because it’s the right thing to do.

“The virus isn’t going away unless we all do those measures that we talked about," Anderson said. "Masks are very important. Remember you are contagious if you have the virus 48 hours before you have symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to stay home if you’re starting to get ill.”

In order for cloth masks to be effective, they need to have multiple layers. It will prevent 50% to 70% of tiny respiratory particles from getting into the air.

“When you have a mask on and you do get the virus into your system, because you wore the mask the dose of the virus might be lesser, so that you would have lesser symptoms and recover more quickly,” Anderson said.

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