On August 12, the Virginia State Health Commissioner initiated a Public Health Order that requires all people in K-12 schools to wear masks. I believe that proper mask-wearing is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 within our community.
Many studies have proven the efficacy of masks. Nature Medicine conducted a study to determine “the potential efficacy of surgical face masks to prevent respiratory virus transmission.” They found that “surgical masks can efficiently reduce the emission of influenza virus particles into the environment in respiratory droplets, but not in aerosols.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that “COVID is primarily transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.” This proves that surgical masks reduce the spread of respiratory droplets, it only makes sense to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Surgical masks and cloth coverings can reduce viral transmission by 70 percent if everyone wears them and wears them correctly over their nose and mouth,” said allergist Purvi Parikh to Health. With cases of the Delta variant rising, the CDC has recommended that all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, continue to wear masks.
With the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant, reducing transmission is of the utmost importance. Wearing masks, and wearing them properly, is an important step towards lowering the spread of COVID. “I see many people who just cover their mouth, and they don’t cover their nose, and that is just not going to be as effective in terms of protecting themselves,” said ob-gyn resident at Danbury Hospital Dr. Pratistha Koirala, M.D.
Vice President of Medical Quality at Hackensack Meridian Health Thomas Bader, M.,D., said that wearing masks protects the mask-wearers and others around them. “Fully vaccinated people may unwittingly spread the Delta variant to unvaccinated people whom they come in contact with, not realizing that they are carrying and spreading the virus. Wearing a mask helps to limit this type of spread,” said Bader.
Evidence proving that masks are effective allows me to believe that mask-wearing is crucial in slowing the spread of COVID and keeping students in school five days a week. We all know how hard online school can be, so shouldn’t we do everything we can to stay in person?
Virginia has 11,872 documented deaths due to COVID according to The New York Times. I have experienced this loss firsthand, as my uncle passed away last fall from this horrible virus. To prevent more people from dying at the hands of COVID, we all need to work together to keep each other safe.