Today, there are over 400,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in California, and 8,000 confirmed cases in San Joaquin County alone. As scientists and medical professionals work to develop a vaccine to combat the virus, local and state governments are encouraging and implementing safety guidelines in efforts to slow the spread of the highly infectious disease. The guidelines include social distancing, limiting gatherings to small groups, and wearing face masks or face coverings in public settings.
Why Should We Wear Face Masks?
Before 2020, we weren’t used to seeing people outside of the medical community regularly wearing masks. Today, face masks are common and oftentimes even required to enter indoor public spaces.
Some may question the effectiveness of face masks in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Maggie Park, MD, the Public Health Officer for San Joaquin County Public Health Services, addresses these concerns. She states, “I do believe the science at this point supports the use of facial coverings, and that even cloth facial coverings can be effective if worn by a majority of people in the community.” She recommends that, “people wear facial coverings or masks if they have them whenever they are out and about and they’re going to be within 6 feet of other people.”
Do Face Masks Help Us or the People Around Us?
COVID-19 is highly infectious and spreads from person to person though exposure to respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even talking. Wearing a face covering can block these droplets from entering your nose and mouth. In fact, several case reports suggest that masks can prevent transmission of the virus in high-risk situations. For instance, a man on a flight with a dry cough later tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, none of the 25 people closest to him on the flight tested positive because he wore a mask during the flight.
There is also enough evidence to suggest that wearing a mask can protect the wearer from contracting COVID-19. This is because masks can prevent larger droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that can travel farther, essentially serving as “source control.” In summary, face masks and face coverings are beneficial both to the people wearing them and the people around them.
Whether they’re blue, green, patterned, or fashioned out of an old scarf, it’s important that we remember to stay safe and mask up when visiting public spaces. Living through a pandemic can be tough, but we’re all in this together.
Visit Stockton’s Stockton Healthy Pledge
The Stockton Healthy Pledge is a pledge that local businesses can take to show their commitment in doing everything in their power to provide and maintain clean and healthy conditions for their employees and visitors. Taking the Stockton Healthy Pledge means the business pledges to:
- Abide by all orders and directives issued by governmental and public health officials
- Enhance employee protocols including increased regular education, hand washing, sanitation efforts and social distancing
- Clean and disinfect high-tough surfaces frequently, per CDC and Local Health Officials
- Require and/or encourage the use of face coverings by staff and customers
- Reduce occupancy in common spaces to ensure compliance with CDC and State social distancing guidelines
- Encourage customer hand sanitizing and hand-washing, as available
Take the Stockton Healthy Pledge here.