Cloth face masks, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, are now considered to be protection for the wearer against contracting the disease.
According to Crestwood Medical Center CEO Dr. Pam Hudson, cloth masks are proving to act as a barrier to the virus. It was previously thought only specialized masks such as N95 would protect the wearer.
“Evidence now is even the cloth masks can protect the wearer from 80 percent of the (airborne) particles,’’ she said during Monday’s COVID-19 update at the Huntsville City Council chambers. “Masks reduce the number of particles that get past that barrier and that means 80 percent can’t reach the nose and mouth, which is the way we catch this.
“Having a smaller viral attack rate means your body has a better chance of winning the battle and having a less severe illness. So wear your mask. The life you save may be your own.’’
Hudson’s comments come on the heels of an increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Madison County and statewide. There have been 22 states that have seen daily increases in cases in the past two weeks as the country reopens its economy. At least 12 of those states have reached their highest number of cases since the pandemic started.
As of Monday night, there were 25,892 reported confirmed virus cases with 769 deaths. Madison County has 566 confirmed cases with five deaths. The county has had an increase of 222 positive cases in the past 14 days with a majority in the 24-49 age group. Also, around 50 percent of the cases being confirmed are among blacks.
“Blacks are over-represented in testing positive,’’ Hudson said.
According to WHNT-TV, three Albertville High School football players have tested positive for the virus since students returned for voluntary workouts.
“We’ve had the largest three-day increase since the first case was announced,’’ Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said Monday. “It’s vital to remain mindful of the need to take personal responsibility for your safety as well as those around us.’’
While Hudson and Strong both stressed the tenants of fighting the virus – wearing masks, hand sanitizing and social distancing – Hudson condemned a recent fad: COVID parties. The theory behind these gatherings is to “get it over with’’ and to develop a herd immunity.
This, she said, was popular in the 1950-60s era when parents exposed their children to chicken pox. COVID-19 is not chicken pox, she warned.
“Very few children had serious effects from chicken pox,’’ she said. “COVID is not chickenpox. COVID is a serious illness.’’
Hudson said one of 10 people affected with COVID-19 require hospitalization, 20 percent of those end up on a ventilator and the mortality rate is 30 percent.
“Get it over with is not a good idea,’’ she said.