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Mask or no mask? Some local residents ditch the gear despite recommendation



AUGUSTA, Ga. — When the coronavirus first surfaced — China estimated that nearly 80 percent of people had minimal or no symptoms. Now, Augusta University estimates that number could be much higher.

It’s why the CDC now recommends everyone wear masks while in public.

If you step outside, you’ll probably see a lot of people wearing masks, but we noticed even more people not wearing them.

“I think the public has been confused by some of the messaging and also been confused by some of the data. As have we,” Dr. Phillip Coule, Chief Medical Officer of AU Health, said.

The reason why? Mixed messaging, or claustrophobia, foggy glasses, or maybe even embarrassment.

But the CDC’s latest guidance suggests all to wear them in public to protect others, more so than yourself.

“You can transmit COVID-19 before you know you have it,” Coule explained.

It has to do with asymptomatic and presymptomatic carriers — meaning people who might have the virus and not even know it yet.

“It may be more than 90 percent of people have minimal or no symptoms,” Coule said.

But it’s important to stress while wearing masks — to keep in mind — they are not a replacement for social distancing, rather just another tool to stop the spread.

“There is data to say that if you wear a mask, you’re more likely to stand closer to someone, and violate that 6-foot rule, while may increase your risk,” Coule said.

It’s also important to note: masks are only effective when worn properly. They should go around your mouth and nose, and you shouldn’t touch it once it’s on your face.

Wearing a face mask incorrectly or moving it once it’s on your face can allow germs to spread.