Gov. Greg Abbott’s order recommended the usage of face masks, but it didn’t necessarily require it. Now, people have the option to decide whether they want to wear masks in public — minus Dallas County restaurants, where it is required to wear masks until Friday.
So, should we still be wearing masks in public? The CDC says yes:
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at a low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
The past few weeks, fewer people around the United States have been wearing masks in public. The New York Times had an interesting observation on why people aren’t wearing masks: “The decision not to wear a mask has, for some, become a rebellion against what they regard as an incursion on their personal liberties. For many others, the choice is a casual one more about convenience than politics. The choice can also be a reflection of vanity or of not understanding when or where to wear one. Some people said they found masks uncomfortable, and thus a nuisance they were unwilling to tolerate. Others were skeptical how much difference they made outside on a sunny day.”
Political or social opinions aside, the usage of masks has been proven to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
“I don’t think there are reliable numbers on how much protection a face mask provides,” Shelley Payne, director of the LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease at the University of Texas at Austin, told BoomLive. But “the probability of spread is highest if the carrier or case is not wearing a mask and lowest if both the carrier and contact are masked.”
The CDC also provides other helpful info, such as how to properly wear a face covering and information on disinfecting masks:
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