While many of us are anxious to return to “normal” after sheltering in place and sticking close to home during the early months of the pandemic, the fact of the matter is, this is the time when we need to stay the course and redouble our efforts, because they are making a difference! Think of COVID-19 precautions as your good deeds for the day—something you do for the health and safety of others, including those you love. And in that spirit, here’s what our medical experts say are three of the most important things you can do to help stop the spread of coronavirus … and be a good neighbor.

Face masks: powerful tools in the fight against COVID-19

“The three most important things you can do to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas are to wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing,” says Miguel Benet, MD, Medical City Healthcare’s division chief medical officer. “But one of the most powerful things you can do is wear a mask.”   

According to Sujatha Krishnan, MD, infectious disease medical director at Medical City Lewisville, “Universal masking regardless of symptom status is what the CDC currently recommends, and the standard we follow. Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to prevent those droplets from entering another person's mucus membrane or landing on a surface that someone touches and transfers to their face.”

Dr. Benet says studies show that even those who are asymptomatic for coronavirus can help spread the disease.

“People who may become symptomatic later can help spread the disease before they develop symptoms,” he says. “So, wearing a mask, even though you are well, is an important thing that you can do to help keep your loved ones, neighbors and fellow community members protected as we slow the spread of the disease. Studies have also shown that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to do this”

It’s a simple tactic, Dr. Benet says, that we can employ throughout the community. It’s even more important to wear a mask in public spaces at all times, especially because of the increase in the spread of COVID cases that we’re seeing across North Texas.

Wear a face mask to protect others

A study published in the journal Physics of Fluids shows that droplets from a sneeze or cough can travel up to 12 feet, but masking can potentially curtail the range to just a few inches, depending on the type of mask.

Just as a surgeon wears a mask mainly to protect the patient, Dr. Benet says wearing a mask in public is for the protection of others.

Dr. Krishnan agrees. “The purpose of wearing a mask is to protect others from unintentionally being infected by you,” she says. “Wearing a mask helps protect others around you from you.”

“It’s something you can do to help so that we can keep everyone safe,” says Dr Benet. Those who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are encouraged to avoid going out to public places. 

For more information about COVID-19 and the steps we’re taking to keep North Texans healthy, visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub.