To Mask Or Not To Mask?

May 22, 2020

WEARING MASKS - As more people get out in public, health officials have encouraged wearing face masks to help prevent Covid-19 spread.
Credit Courtesy: NPR via Getty Images

WEARING MASKS -  As more businesses and facilities reopen in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, people getting out in public more may or may not choose to wear face masks unless the facility or store they visit requires it.  There are all kinds of opinions on the matter and although mask-wearing is not enforceable in Louisiana,  Governor John Bel Edwards recently shared his thoughts on the matter at a Covid-19 update last week. 

"Some people will assert well I have a liberty interest, I shouldn't have to wear a mask if I don't want to," Edwards said. "And the question there is think not so much on what you have a right to do,  think more about what is the right thing to do."

Dr. G.E. Ghali is Chancellor for LSU-Health Shreveport, he says Masks do offer some protection from Covid-19 infection for both the wearer and people nearby.

Dr. G. E. Ghali, Chancellor - LSU Health Shreveport
Credit Courtesy: LSU-Health Shreveport

"So if you're covering  the nose and the mouth then two of the largest portals of how this virus can get in are then blocked," Ghali explained. "So there is truly a significant amount of protection that's imparted by wearing masks."

"When there's a disease process going on, what would be wrong with helping do the neighborly thing and protecting others?" Dr. G.E. Ghali, Chancellor - LSU Health Shreveport

Some estimates are anywhere from 10% to 25% of the population could be infected with the coronavirus.  And not everyone who you may encounter and has the coronavirus is equal in terms infection others,  Dr. Ghali says there are what are called “Super Shredders” – folks who spread  more Coronavirus  than others.  For example: a man who was asymptomatic without any signs of the disease tested at LSU-Health in Shreveport had more then 20 Billion Coronavirus particles in a nasal swab.

"So this guy had 20 billion (coronavirus cell particles) so you can imagine how many millions of people he could infect if he were to get in to a contained area and start sneezing or coughing or even just talking," explained Ghali.

And as for protection, Dr. Ghali says that while not perfect, wearing facemasks while out in public does provide some defense against getting infected with Covid-19 and at the very least it’s considerate to others.

Ghali asked "When there's a disease process going on, what would be wrong with helping do the neighborly thing and protecting others?"