It’s been five months since the first Coronavirus case was reported in the US. As we enter July, one of the hottest months in Southern California, it may be tempting to ditch the mask or neglect social distancing at some of the newly reopened beaches, bars and restaurants. Here is why you shouldn’t:
Case numbers continue to surge in the US. As of July 3rd, the NYTimes database reported more than 2,791,500 infections in the US and at least 128,100 deaths. In the past week alone, California has averaged 6,534 new cases and 65.7 new deaths a day––a growth rate that is on track to double every 24 days.
Hospitalizations have increased by 51% since California entered “Phase Two”, the reopening of outdoor bars, restaurants, and other “low-risk” industries; Southern California comprises one of the new national epicenters. Areas including Riverside, Imperial, and Kings Counties are suffering from hospital bed shortages, in some cases necessitating moving patients as far as medical centers in San Francisco.
What can we do to “flatten the curve”?
And we never meant here:
Wear a mask. Don't host your big summer celebration BBQ. At this point, it would be unlikely if you hadn’t heard about the necessity of social-distancing and wearing a mask for the prevention of spreading the virus. In the interest of illustrating the rationale behind these measures, we’ve summarized some of the CDC and WHO findings on the effectiveness of masks and social-distancing below:
Coronavirus is predominantly spread through close contact with others (less than six feet), hence the need for social distancing. As a respiratory infection, Covid19 spreads through respiratory droplets (e.g. droplets produced by breathing, talking, sneezing, and coughing). Masks operate as Source Control. They provide a barrier between respiratory droplets traveling through the air which would otherwise risk spreading the infection.
According to the CDC’s epidemiologic data, the first five days of mask mandates across 16 states witnessed a .9% decrease in daily growth of cases compared with the five days prior. After three weeks of the mask mandates, growth rates had slowed by 2% points.
So who should wear a mask now?
As Harlan Krumholz, M.D., professor of medicine at Yale has stated, assume you are a carrier. With coronavirus yielding a particularly high rate of false negatives, coupled with the possibility of asymptomatic carriers, collective mask-wearing is essential.