Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris posted a question on his Facebook page on Tuesday, asking whether people thought it was a good idea to require everyone to wear masks when venturing outside, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“...We are talking about making masks mandatory in Lancaster,” his post said. “What are your thoughts about this idea?”
Some were against it, some were for it, but most wanted to know where the masks would come from. As it stands, masks are in short supply because they are needed by medical professionals treating the infected.
In addition, the word “mandatory” is a loaded one, which implies there will be consequences if you do not obey.
Perhaps this was a question to gauge the community’s response, but we hope Parris will follow federal guidelines when it comes to issuing those types of mandates — and not make anything “mandatory,” especially if he’s not going to provide masks for his community, free of charge.
The topic is something local government officials are talking about.
Los Angeles County Department of Health Director Barbara Ferrer suggested on Wednesday, that wearing something to cover the face might be a good idea because it would keep those who are infected, but have no symptoms, from spreading it to others.
Currently, the World Health Organization is advising that healthy people only need to use a mask when they are caring for a person with suspected COVID-19. They are also advised to wear a mask if they are coughing or sneezing. In addition, masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, according to the WHO website.
There’s more to wearing a mask than just strapping it across your face. According to the WHO website, the following steps must be followed:
• Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
• Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
• Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
• Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not reuse single-use masks.
• To remove the mask; remove it from behind (do not touch the front of the mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
In addition, it’s definitely not a substitute for social distancing. That is still of utmost importance to stop the spread of this disease.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Office is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take another look at whether to advise people to wear masks to prevent transmission of the disease.
Despite the request, Surgeon General Jerome Adams stressed to the American people that wearing masks “can’t be at the expense of social distancing.”
It’s important to take the safety of the community into consideration, but we also believe federal and state guidelines should be followed.