Dr. Fauci Says You'll Need to Do This—Even After Vaccine
A COVID-19 vaccine is likely just around the corner. However, even once the jab is readily available to the world, it doesn't mean that coronavirus is going to simply disappear. In fact, practicing prevention measures—including the wearing of face masks—will be as important as ever. In a viewpoint published on Monday on JAMA Network, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others explain how these "low-tech" tools will be crucial in saving lives. Read on for more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
What Did Dr. Fauci Advise?
"As countries around the world seek to safely reopen businesses, schools, and other facets of society, mask use in the community to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, in conjunction with other low-cost, low-tech, commonsense public health practices, is and will remain critical," writes Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Andrea M. Lerner, MD, and Gregory K. Folkers, MS, MPD. "Return to normalcy will require the widespread acceptance and adoption of mask wearing and other inexpensive and effective interventions as part of the COVID-19 prevention toolbox."
They continued to emphasize the importance of "low-tech" tools, writing that "these interventions will still be needed after a vaccine is initially available."
Masks Prevented Hundreds of Thousands of Cases
In the document, they also point out that mask mandates likely prevented more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 by May 22, 2020 and explain in detail how they work. "To understand the rationale for mask wearing to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, it is helpful to understand how the virus spreads from person to person," write Fauci, Lerner and Folkers. "The epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 indicates that most infections are likely spread through exposure to an infected individual at close range, within about 6 feet. However, recent reports indicate that aerosols remaining in the air over longer distances or times also have been involved in SARS-CoV-2 transmission in certain circumstances, often in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces and associated with behaviors such as singing, shouting, or breathing heavily during exercise."
"Respiratory droplets are produced not only by coughing and sneezing, but also when speaking and simply breathing," they continue. "Light-scattering experiments indicate that 1 minute of loud speaking potentially can generate more than 1000 virion-containing aerosols that may linger in the air in a closed, stagnant environment. These particles may accumulate in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, especially when individuals are singing, shouting, or breathing heavily (eg, with physical exercise). Therefore, the commonly observed practice of individuals removing their mask when speaking is not advisable."
How to Not Catch COVID-19
In addition to mask wearing, hand hygiene, social distancing, "prompt testing (along with isolation and contact tracing), and limits on crowds and gatherings," are other effective tools, according to the group. "If a vaccine has only moderate efficacy, or if vaccine uptake is low, these other modalities will be even more critical," they point out. So follow the fundamentals, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.