Infectious disease doctor talks face masks
COLUMBIA - Emotions over mask-wearing mandates are high. KOMU spoke to MU Health Care infectious disease doctor, Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, about current scientific recommendations for masks.
In the early weeks of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was not recommending the general public wear face masks. However, the CDC and other medical experts are urging people to wear masks now and states and cities across the country are mandating them.
Columbia City Council will be voting Monday night on whether to impose a mask mandate for the city.
Ilboudo said the discovery that asymptomatic people can spread the virus led to the change in mask recommendations.
"There's been a shift in some of the recommendations that we made over time because we realized that there was this pool of individuals who have no symptoms at all," Ilboudo said. "Typically younger, in their 20s, 30s healthy individuals that you know, would have no symptoms and pass it on. And then the other reason why there's been a change is because in order to open the economy, people have to go out. And so initially we said, just stay home, you don't need the mask, just stay home, but now with everything reopening and economical issues that it's important for people to go out."
She also emphasized that social distancing plays an important factor in stopping the spread and recommends people to do both.
When asked if masks were effective enough to constitute a mask mandate in Columbia, she said yes.
"I believe so, Ilboudo said. We do have evidence, multiple papers that have shown that yes, the cloth mask or the face coverings do help decrease exposure that we would present to other people."
For people who may feel uncomfortable in a mask or have a hard time breathing in them, Dr. Ilboudo has the following advice.
"I recommend trying it out at home, Ilboudo. "I do that with my kids. Try the mask on, adjust it for yourself. See how you can place it, so you can breathe, but not have it fall under your nose. So definitely trying out a mask is what I recommend."
For those who may have asthma or allergies that may already have difficulty breathing, she said to check with your doctor about personal mask usage.
Overall, Dr. Ilboudo says when it comes to fighting COVID-19, people need to look out for another and they can do that by wearing a mask.
"We have to think as a collective and I think that, as Americans we have less tendency thinking as a community, Ilboudo said." "And this is one of those instances where we really want to work as a community to help decrease the cases so that we can go back to some sort of normalcy. And so if this is what it's going to take, then why not. And that's the way that I see it. We really should comply, try it, see what it does to our rates because our rates are still going up. And if me wearing a mask is going to allow business to stay open and allow kids to go back to school because our cases are going to be lower and potentially prevent some people from getting hospitalized, then by all means, I would do it."