The best way not to catch COVID-19? Community Medical Centers says it’s when we all wear face masks and stay at least 6 feet apart from each other.
CMC has released a graphic showing how the risk of infection is diminished with the use of face masks and social distancing.
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The graphic cautions, however, that different masks offer different levels of protection. (Proper use of face coverings also is important — make sure to cover both mouth and nose.)
According to the graphic, if a person who is infected with the coronavirus and a healthy person remain 6 feet apart and both wear masks, the healthy person has “non-exposure” to the virus.
When neither wears a mask and are closer than 6 feet, there’s a “high risk” of exposure to COVID-19, which is highly contagious and has already killed nearly 126,000 Americans and nearly 503,000 people worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center.
No Symptoms Doesn’t Mean No COVID-19
Health officials are recommending the use of face masks because many people don’t show symptoms of COVID-19 after they are infected and could infect other people.
Mary Lisa Russell, spokeswoman for Community Medical Centers, said on May 30 the graphic was developed based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and local infection control officials.
On June 18, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit, or seeking medical care.
The governor’s order came after growing concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases has been caused by residents failing to voluntarily take that precaution.
However, enforcement of the order varies throughout the state. Several sheriffs, including Fresno County’s Margaret Mims, say they aren’t enforcing the order.
On Sunday, Newsom ordered bars that have opened in seven California counties, including Fresno and three other Valley counties, to immediately close and urged bars in eight other counties to do the same. The governor said that the coronavirus was rapidly spreading in those parts of the state and bar settings create a higher risk of transmission.
Los Angeles is the most populous county affected by the mandatory bar closure order. The other counties are San Joaquin, Kings, Kern, Imperial, and Tulare.
State officials asked eight other counties — Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Stanislaus — to issue local health orders closing bars.
Face mask use was initially deemed unnecessary by the CDC, which later reversed itself and recommended face masks for all when it became apparent that people could be asymptomatic and unknowingly spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or even speaking.
(This is an update of a story published on May 30, 2020.)