Remember in early coronavirus days where the phrase “flatten the curve” showed up in every news article? The point behind social distancing, wearing masks, and shutting down was to curb the number of new cases, so hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed with sick patients. For a time in the spring and early summer, we had flattened the curve. But as things started to re-open, infections merely increased again – exponentially. A lot of us knew that colder weather and flu season could bring a spike in cases, and that’s exactly what happened.
Now, nine months into a pandemic, we’re all weary and tired of wearing masks and we miss seeing each other without them. President-elect Joe Biden has asked Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his presidency. Will such a move make much of a difference, this late in the game?
The short answer is yes. If 80% of us wore a mask when out in public, we wouldn’t have to shelter in place. Other parts of the world that have been diligent about mask wearing (such as Japan or Hong Kong) have not had to shut down to the same extent, and the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 are significantly less than in the U.S.
Recently, hospitals have become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The percentage of hospitalizations from COVID-19 is at its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that wearing a mask everywhere you go is getting old. All the same, case reports have shown that even infected persons wearing a mask can avoid spreading the virus, even if they are in close proximity to others.
With a vaccine on the horizon, now is not the time for complacency. Minimize the risk to yourself and others by washing your hands and socially distancing. Make a commitment with us to wear a mask for 100 days – it won’t be forever – to get us through the last leg of this pandemic.