Doctor recommends people wear masks, says it’s less common in the Carolinas

Doctor recommends people wear masks, says its uncommon in the Carolinas
Doctor recommends people wear masks, says its uncommon in the Carolinas(Adam Mintzer)
Updated: Apr. 19, 2020 at 5:07 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The CDC says masks can slow the spread of the coronavirus. DHEC recommends South Carolinians wear them in public and lawmakers are wearing them around the Statehouse.

But how can a homemade cloth mask slow the spread of a highly contagious coronavirus?

While not required in South Carolina, medical experts say a face mask is less about protecting yourself and more about protecting others from you.

While homemade masks aren’t as effective at preventing the wearer as a surgical mask or an N95 respirator, experts say they are better than nothing at stopping the spread of droplets carrying COVID-19.

According to the CDC Director, 25 percent of people with the novel coronavirus may be asymptomatic. Meaning, they have the virus but aren’t showing any symptoms like a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

“If people are asymptomatic, and they are breathing this stuff out into the atmosphere...then without a mask they will go out to more people,” said longtime ER doctor Kevin Soden.

He said the recent guidance from the CDC came after the organization reviewed new studies highlighting this virus’ high asymptomatic rate. “If you don’t know you’re spreading it then we got to put a mask on you as much as possible to keep other people from getting this or at least reducing their chances,” Soden said. He also noted recent studies have shown people may be more infectious right before they show symptoms.

He recommends wearing a mask indoors or at any time you unable to practice social distancing. And added the people most likely to be spreading this virus are the ones thinking, “I feel pretty good, I’m healthy, I’m strong, I can do whatever I want. Think about other people, please,” he stressed.

However, while important he said he sees a lot of people not wearing masks in public.

“As I look around North and South Carolina people just aren’t doing that at all, and I think that’s really dangerous,” he said.

The CDC has recommendations on how to make a mask, but Soden says making a mask is as simple as covering your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth. To test it, he says, try blowing out a candle while wearing the mask. If you can’t blow it out, it’s a good mask.

Ultimately, Soden says putting on a mask is community service.

“You are really doing to try and help other people, as well, and if enough of us do this it’s going to lessen the infection that spreads around the community,” Soden said.

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