Also remind residents of proper hand hygiene and social distancing
LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. and other medical professionals in Michigan have joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in advising that everyone wear face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The recommendation is based on new findings about COVID-19 transmission.
“It is better to be cautious and cover your nose and mouth with a non-synthetic cloth material, like cotton fabric, than going out without anything covering your face,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “This practice would at least offer some protection against infection and unknowingly spreading the virus if you are asymptomatic.
“Masks and face coverings are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water.”
Until recently, COVID-19 was believed to spread primarily from person to person, between people who are within about six feet of each other and through droplets from a sick person’s cough or sneeze, according to the CDC.
U.S. public-health experts and policymakers have urged social distancing to reduce the disease’s spread. However, some recent research suggests that tiny virus-bearing droplets of all sizes from exhalations can become airborne for varying amounts of time depending on different factors, potentially infecting others or contaminating surfaces.
“We join the Centers for Disease Control in advising citizens to cover their mouth and nose but leave N95 and other medical grade masks available for health care workers,” said Craig Glines, D.O., president of the Michigan Osteopathic Association. “The number of infections across the U.S. has greatly increased mask shortages across the country for frontline medical personnel.”
Bizon said it is important to cleanse your hands before covering your face and before removing your mouth covering.
“Once your face covering becomes moist you will also want to switch it out for a fresh one,” said Bizon, who is a former president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “The material used to cover your nose and mouth should be washable, comfortable to wear and breathable.”
He also said if your hands are not clean, do not touch the mask or reach under the mask to touch your face.
“While it should in no way supplant diligent handwashing and social distancing practices, Michigan’s physician community does support the use of cloth or handmade masks while in public as an added precaution in protecting others from COVID-19,” said Mohammed Arsiwala, M.D., president of the Michigan State Medical Society.