SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Wear a mask.
It’s something we’re being told to do a lot more lately here in the Carolinas, but not everyone is sold.
7News looked into the latest research on face coverings and the potential economic impact if more people don’t cover up.
The countries that have been most successful in lowering the spread of COVID 19 have one thing in common: mask wearing.
But here at home it depends you who ask.
“I do not think that it should be mandated to wear a mask,” said Alaap Bhatt from Charlotte.
“If it’s a small thing we can do to help others I think wearing a mask is the right thing to do,” said Nick Baxton from Greenville.
Dr. Christian Montagano at Emergency MD urges people to look at the science. He says masks catch not just the larger droplets from coughing and sneezing that spread the virus, but the tinier particles called aerosols that come from talking and breathing which are often more worrisome because they linger in the air for hours.
“They’re hanging out much longer especially within a confined space, you’re in an office building with air conditioning constantly circulating that these particles are hanging around a lot longer you know causing the risk of infection to go up,” said Dr. Montagano.
That’s why some of the Upstate’s largest employers like Michelin require mask wearing, social distancing and temperature checks for all employees.
Mark Patterson, the head of Environmental Health and Safety for Michelin for Michelin’s America’s timezone, says he’s alarmed by the rising COVID-19 rates in South Carolina. With Greenville being a hot spot he’s urging everyone to make change, if not for your health, for the economy.
“Beyond the health of it, if it were to spread and have an impact on manufacturing as a whole if you look at Manufacturing in SC it’s almost 17% of the economic output, so there’s a significant percentage of our economy that could be impacted if we’re not vigilant in the communities and bringing it into the manufacturing sites, not just Michelin but all of them,” said Patterson.
In the beginning of the Pandemic, surgical masks were scarce, but nowadays you can find these breathable disposable ones pretty much anywhere. A pack of 50 runs about $29 and with the increased supply you won’t be shortchanging healthcare professionals.
Surgical masks also have a slight static charge that attracts small particals making them more effective.
And while we should continue to save the N95s for medical professionals, even cloth masks can be nearly 70 percent effective in blocking particles you breath in which means even if you do get COVID 19 reducing the amount of exposure could lead to a milder case or no symptoms at all.