Masks: Helpful or hurtful?

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.(KELO) — There is a lot of controversy whether or not to wear a mask and if they can cause harm to you. An image has been circulating social media expressing the harm masks can cause to you.

KELOLAND News talked to Dr. Wendell Hoffman an Infectious Disease Specialist about whether masks are helpful or harmful and if there was truth in the photo above.

Hoffman reviewed the list from above and explained how each so-called, ‘fact’ is fictitious.

Dr. Hoffman elaborated on the importance of wearing masks and why they are so beneficial.

“This virus is spread through respiratory emissions, and so it’s being around that person who is infected and who projects those infected respiratory droplets out in front of them and into the space around them. So, we know that masks, just by common sense, would limit that,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Some doubts still surface when it comes to the research regarding masks.

Hoffman said that after learning more and more about the virus, he believes the data concerning wearing a mask is solid and all lead towards why you should continue to wear one.

“The data regarding masks I don’t think is very mixed anymore. I think the data regarding masks use particularly indoors, particularly in those close settings, because remember we do believe this virus in fact is spread asymptomatically, and there are multiple observational studies that show patients who are infected with this virus can be infected and have either no symptoms or very minimal symptoms. So, I don’t think the science is very mixed anymore. And, I think there’s enough evidence for us to suggest that mask use in these indoor settings in particularly is going to be an effective strategy. There are studies that clearly show that those states who exerted more pressure on the population to wear masks were able to dampen down the transmission of the virus more so than in another setting,” Dr. Hoffman said.

He said when healthcare workers didn’t wear masks the transmission of the virus to them skyrocketed.

“The argument that masks don’t work I don’t think is fair. I would go back to the primary premise of where did the use of masks show prevention and that’s within the healthcare settings themselves, where once we started using aggressive personal protective equipment, including masks, the transmission to healthcare workers plummeted. We therefore know from our own experience that masks are part of that strategy. And so, there’s no mixture there. We would never walk into a COVID unit without wearing masks and wearing other protective equipment,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Even with masks, Dr. Hoffman said you need to practice other health procedures to lower the spread of this virus.

“We fully anticipate that this is going to be here to stay. Therefore, we can’t wait for a vaccine, and even a vaccine does come we don’t know the kind of immune response we can expect, and that we’re going to need to continue to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Yes, the virus has a very low mortality in otherwise younger people, younger age groups, but those are exactly the people we need to step up to help us,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Masks can be a pain, but according to Hoffman, they’re well worth wearing.

“We’re not used to being told, ‘hey you need to cover your face,’ I get it. I’m not really crazy about having to wear a mask eight to ten hours a day either, but I do it because I believe that I can protect other people from me because I may be shedding the virus myself asymptomatically,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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