It has nearly been a year since COVID-19 encouraged masking and social distancing. As the virus has evolved, thoughts on precautions, such as masking, have evolved too.
On Feb. 2, the CDC published information regarding three of the multiple new strands of COVID-19 which are circulating. The ones mentioned come out of the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Although more information is needed on these variants the CDC said these spread more quickly and easily than the main variant the world has been dealing with.
This has prompted the idea of double masking to limit the spread.
“The idea behind masking, in general, is to catch the respiratory droplets that transport the virus from someone who is infected,” Kathryn Wall, public health information administrator for the Springfield Greene County Health Department, said. “The theory is that double-masking might catch and protect against more of the virus in those droplets.”
This idea has not been officially recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; however, a recent study by the CDC, published on Feb. 10, suggests two masks limit the exposures by nearly 95%.
The Springfield Greene County Health Department will not recommend double masking until “we see compelling evidence of the need or value of double masking,” Wall said.
David Hall, director of Missouri State University safety, said Missouri State University will not change its recommendations until the CDC makes a new recommendation official.
“If the CDC makes a recommendation, it will go to MSU masking workgroup and then the core executive team. They will make the final decision on whether to recommend students to double mask,” Hall said.
According to Hall, at this time it is unknown if the university will require double masking, as that would be a hard policy to enforce. He said MSU likes to have policies that are easily enforced.
Until then, Hall recommends students mask and those who can get vaccinated.
To get vaccinated, Hall said students need to sign up for a vaccine. Whenever their tier is able to get vaccinated they will be notified. They may get the vaccine from MSU or other healthcare providers.
“Students are going to play an important role on if fall 2021 is going to be a more normal semester,” Hall said. “It is easy to think when you are 18-22 years old that COVID-19 is not a big deal. But, we know that what happened with college students can bleed over to those faculty, staff or other students with higher risk. It is important to get that protection built in to stop the spread of the disease.”
Follow Desiree Nixon on Twitter, @DesireeNixon17
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