There is continued debate about the impact that masks have to mitigate the transfer of COVID-19. We began this pandemic with little or no recommendations for masks. Some have suggested that we were protecting the PPE for our healthcare workers. However there was little research at the early phases of this pandemic to suggest how important masks were to its contagion.
I have spoken with pastors, organizational leaders, state officials, medical staff, educators and others who have had varied opinions. It is clear that our society is divided on this issue. Some are fearing that our rights are being violated by being asked to wear masks and others feel that we are not protecting our citizens if we do not require masks. It has been and continues to be a confusing and controversial issue.
It appears the latest research that is being published by CDC and other sources are strongly suggesting that masks are the most effective preventative measure we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This has been researched with high speed cameras in the laboratory and with the public spread at large. Here is a link to this recent research.
In our professional world there is something called “Best Practices.” This term is defined as: a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption. The term has been used in many different professions to set procedure and protocol that is practiced because of the standardization of research particularly with regard to safety. In fact, many of our common practices that promote safety are because of best practices research. Whether it be procedures for surgical sterilization, the use of seat belts, building code issues, fire protection or even organizational procedures, these issues are often codified by best practices. The other reality is that if the research suggests otherwise at any given time, the criteria for best practices is subject to change depending on the quantitative and qualitative conclusions of that research.
It appears to me that if we were to apply the best practices principle to masks it would make sense for the safety of our society that masks should be utilized at all public gatherings. Until there is other research that would indicate otherwise, it appears we should all join best practices in mask wearing as a society. All of us who are attempting to provide safe and healthful environments for schools and other public places are working diligently to protect children and families. If our communities do not assist us by washing hands, keeping social distance and most importantly wearing masks, then our job will be all the more difficult.
It is my hope that we will all join in the best practices standards for wearing masks. It has been stated that if we do so we can get ahead of the rapid spread of COVID-19 and maybe halt its horrific impact. It is not as much whether we agree or disagree. It is to assess and practice what is best practice for mask wearing so as to protect those we encounter each day.