The new study on COVID-19 transmission that can help convince every patient to wear a mask
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
As a healthcare professional, you know the critical importance of face masks for stopping the spread of COVID-19. You no doubt also know that some of your patient population is not in compliance with doing so, which is a very worrisome issue.
However, a brand-new study from researchers Renyi Zhang, Yixin Li, Annie L. Zhang, Yuan Wang, and Mario J. Molina, "Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19," can offer you the informational support your physicians and staff need to communicate the importance of mask-wearing to these patients.
The researchers report that face masks used in Italy reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 from April 6 to May 9, and by over 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9. Face masks were also a powerful tool against transmission in hard-hit China.
The researchers ultimately found that wearing a mask when you're in public is the best and safest way to avoid getting COVID-19 or passing it to other people. Because many of your patients may not understand the specifics of why they need to wear a mask or have heard conflicting messages on the effectiveness of wearing one, informing them about the findings in this study can really clear up the confusion.
For even further clarification, the study also found concrete proof that wearing a mask does not just prevent COVID-19-infected cough droplets from infecting others but will also prevent your uninfected patients from breathing tiny virus particles in aerosol version that come from speaking. Those airborne particles can not only hang in the atmosphere, but can travel tens of feet.
Here's the bottom line: whether it's due to conflicting messages in the media, or simply a careless attitude, many people aren't grasping the concept of the personal protection to themselves that wearing a mask can ensure. Your doctors, however, can do a tremendous amount to mitigate the issue.
How to make it happen? Use this up-to-date, essential info from the Centers for Disease Control to re-emphasize key points of COVID-19 prevention. You can never cover these recommendations too often or clearly enough. Posting it prominently on your website/social media platforms, in your facility, and making it available through email contact with your patients is a must.
Stress these important facts:
1. Everyone should observe the proper social distancing technique, which means staying at least six feet away (two arms’ length) from other people.
2. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. When you can't, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
3. Don't touch your face (eyes, nose or mouth) with unwashed hands.
4. Disinfect commonly touch surfaces on a regular basis throughout your day. To do this correctly: first wipe down tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks with soap and water. Then, follow up by cleaning again with a household disinfectant, such as a wipe or spray.
In addition to communicating these highly effective techniques for stopping COVID-19 transmission, make sure that you and your physician teams also keep up with emerging information on the disease on an ongoing basis as well. You want to be able to pass along additional safeguards along promptly to your patients, always. A concentrated and focused effort will pay off and save lives.
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