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Why We Should Be Wearing Masks

Face masks have become a new accessory we put on each day, just like jewelry or a hat. At this point Brazoria County and some of the surrounding counties (e.g., Harris County) have initiated a facial covering mandate for all people when entering places of business. However, despite these recent mask requirements, many of us are unsure why mask wearing is no longer optional.

We might be less hesitant to fight against these new requirements if we better understood how COVID-19 spreads. For starter, the virus is basically air-borne. In other words, when an infected person coughs or speaks a simple sentence, thousands of aersols (i.e., tiny droplets) are sent into the air. While these larger droplets will land on a surface quickly, the smaller ones linger in the air for a period. The longer these aerosols remain in the air, the more likely people are to be infected with COVID-19 after the initial infected person has left the vicinity.  Facial coverings protect people from not only protect people when they are around the infected person, these coverings also protect us from the droplets lingering in the air.

Another thing to consider is the “silent shedders.” These are infected individuals who have not begun to display symptoms of COVID-19 but are still highly contagious. In fact, by the time symptoms occur, these individuals have likely transmitted the virus without knowing. Since asymptomatic individuals are responsible for a high transmission of this virus, it is imperative we continue to wear masks when we are in public places.

Because we still know little about the production and airborne behavior of these infectious respiratory droplets, it is difficult to define a safe distance for social distancing. Therefore, facial coverings are one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, and a good defense against the “silent shedders.” These coverings give us a to combat feelings of isolation, by providing a safe way to engage in some life events.

NAMI GC is here for you and wants to continue providing COVID-19 updates as these become available. Please visit our website to obtain resources and support for navigating this time of social distancing.;