SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –Businesses including Target, Planet Fitness and Walmart are now requiring face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whether it’s in a purse or a pocket, most of us aren’t leaving home anymore without a mask.
Infectious disease physician Dr. Wendell Hoffman says while a mask is just one part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, it plays a big role.

“So masks are effective when used with other mitigating strategies. What I call blocking and tackling with the two blockers being social distancing and masks and tackling being hand hygiene and, environmental cleaning,” Dr. Wendell Hoffman.

The CDC recently highlighted two studies showing that masks are in fact effective against COVID-19, especially when used as a community wide effort.

Hoffman says the best proof of their effectiveness is the historical use of masks in health care.

“We know that just with regular talking, coughing, sneezing, that these organisms are projected forth. And so any face covering therefore will, will help. Masks are not perfect. But we do believe that they are important,” Hoffmain said.

And while not always comfortable, Hoffman says comfort has nothing to do with it.

“I don’t necessarily like wearing a mask either for eight to 10 hours a day. But I do it because I believe that I’m protecting my patient. I’m protecting myself and then protecting my coworker,” Hoffman said.

Even when you don’t feel sick, he says the silent transmission of the virus is one more reason to mask up.

“It is spread asymptomatically. And so you’re not going to know who is shedding the virus and who is not,” Hoffman said.

While putting on a mask has come with some push back from some, Hoffman hopes everyone can come together to keep each other safe.

“Even if we were to use masks 80 to 90% of the time, that would really be good. And so there’s an old phrase. Don’t let perfect stand in the way of the good,” Hoffman said.

To read more about the recent studies on the effectiveness of masks from the CDC, click here.