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Will regular mask use in public continue beyond the COVID-19 outbreak?

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus (COVID-19), so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Will masks become part of our new normal?

A lot of changes will come out of the pandemic -- the polite handshake will be replaced with a contactless greeting and the use of masks may become more acceptable. In many other countries, the use of masks is extremely common -- in particular as a respectful courtesy to people around you when you might have mild respiratory infection. Nonetheless, it never caught on in the U.S., but attitudes can change.

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Mask use in public is now commonplace, but will mask use be recommended as we move beyond this first wave of COVID-19 infections?

Ordinary masks -- either the paper ones chemotherapy patients might routinely wear or home-made cloth masks -- are really only effective at preventing the person wearing the mask from infecting those around them, they are far less useful at protecting the wearer.

However -- when it comes to SARS-CoV-2 -- until medical science has a clearer understanding of the amount of time someone is infectious -- it will be a good idea for everyone to do their part in public and continue to slow any spread, --and simple masks can help.

Depending on how much of a second wave and how much resurgence there could be in the fall as flu season picks up, ongoing mask use makes sense.

Don’t expect mask use to be required, but as a voluntary courtesy to the people around you. It can help reduce the chances of spreading your germs when you’re sick, but it’s just as important to remember that masks aren’t perfect. They aren’t a shield of invincibility. The protection they offer is modest, but it’s not insignificant either.

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People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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