Healthbeat: New campaign encourages Americans to wear masks in public

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For several months, doctors have encouraged us to wear masks in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. But not everyone has been on board with that recommendation.

With national COVID-19 infections topping 8-million, including more than 179,000 in Pennsylvania, prevention is still considered the best way to protect ourselves. A new campaign aims to hammer home the idea of wearing a mask to curb community spread.

It’s called “Mask Up, America” — a PSA partnership of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the AdCouncil. The campaign will appear online and in public gathering spots in states like Pennsylvania where COVID-19 infection rates are surging.

“We really do know that masks work,” Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, a board member with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told Eyewitness News.

Dr. Marrazzo cites two key reasons why masks work: “One of them is just the sheer physical barrier of putting something in front of your face if you are coughing, sneezing, breathing out or even speaking out virus or singing out virus.”

The other reason, Dr. Marrazzo says, is evidence from where mask compliance exists.

“And when that is pulled back, then cases come up again.”

Dr. Marrazzo blames inconsistent messaging and role modeling for people not wearing masks when science shows masks matter.

“You’re not just protecting yourself. You’re protecting other vulnerable people around you, particularly people who might really get sick if they get the virus.”

Eyewitness News went straight to the streets to get thoughts on the importance of mask wearing.

“As necessary as water, as necessary as oxygen. Right now this is what we have to be doing in order to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe,” said Jonathan Hanover of East Stroudsburg.

And for those who doubt that?

“I’d like them to talk to a few of my friends who lost loved ones and it’s not a hoax. It’s not a fraud,” Antoinette Wingert of Hanover Township said.

Dr. Marrazzo points out it’s important your mask covers your nose because the virus can exist there just as much or more as it can in your throat.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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