While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that almost all healthy adults and children over the age of two wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are many reasons some people may not wear a face mask in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Some may believe they are immune and will not contract COVID-19. Others may not be worried about potential symptoms if they do contract the virus. And some simply do not like being forced to do anything by any large organization, especially by the government. These reasons center around the individual person, and experts warn there is much more at stake than one’s own health when deciding to wear a face mask or not.
One of the primary reasons to wear a face mask is to prevent asymptomatic spread and to protect those around us. The CDC has estimated that 50% of COVID-19 transmissions occur prior to any development of symptoms and face masks can help prevent the wearer from infecting others when asymptomatic, making the practice just as important as washing your hands.
Surgical masks and cloth coverings can reduce viral transmission by 70% if everyone wears them and wears them correctly over [the] nose and mouth,” notes Purvi Parikh, an allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network and clinical assistant professor at the Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
By wearing a face mask, you are doing your part to protect your loved ones, your community and the broader population. If you are not concerned with protecting yourself, wear a face mask and do your part to protect others.