Is It Still Important To Wear A Face Mask? Health Officials Say ‘Yes’

Paul Murnane
May 29, 2020 - 1:13 pm

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Wearing a face mask continues to be the one constant piece of advice given to people to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

But, as we move further from the peak, is wearing a mask necessary still?

Dr. David Hirsh, of Northwell Health, tells WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane about the importance of continuing to use safety precautions. 

Q: What kind do you recommend?

A: The recommendation really is just for the community to wear cloth masks. If there's a couple of layers to them, I think that's great, but really just a way to cover the mouth and the nose to contain respiratory droplets that may be expelled.

Q: Some people think you have to seal off everything around there but I've seen people with just tying a bandanna around and the bottom is loose and the air can flow up there. Is that just as effective, a bandanna?

A: Yeah, I think that it really to keep the nose and the mouth covered, really is the main thing. I think that these are not masks that are gonna be sealed. This is not a health care environment that we're talking about where more secure types of masks would be necessary. This is, again, a way to keep respiratory droplets contained to protect other individuals who potentially infectious people may become exposed to.

Q: I can tell you in my house we wear the mask once, I come in, my wife grabs it, she throws it in the laundry because we have these cloth masks that we that we bought. How often can you wear a mask would you say? Are you getting that question for people?

A: I think, you know, it really depends upon the exposures that are in existence. Somebody who's out there and may be in some bad weather or sweating a lot, then it seems reasonable, of course, to wash those and use them after they're washed and dried. But, you know, the masks otherwise can be re-used and so long as the integrity of the material is intact, I don't know that there's really any requirement of continuous washing of them.

Q: Chris Rock was with the governor yesterday and says he gives the side eye to people in Brooklyn when he sees when they're not wearing a mask. I give that to people when I see the masks just around the mouth and the nose is uncovered. Are you seeing that? 

A: To cover the nose and the mouth is the most important thing, I think that I when I walk around in my own community and I see most people really doing a very good job wearing them, it can be uncomfortable for people to wear it for a long time, especially as the weather changes, it does become a little bit more challenging to wear it. 

But, the goal of course is to try to keep both the nose and the mouth covered and as I said, I think that overall, people are doing a good job and I think we all need to, as a community. You need to do that especially as we get further away from the peak in this region and as the weather starts to change, we need to continue to adhere.

Murnane: Yeah we've become used to never leaving the house without our phone, we just have to make that habit now with the face mask.

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