As COVID-19 cases drop in Michigan, doctors urge residents to stay vigilant

DETROIT – With coronavirus case numbers down in Michigan, health officials are stressing the need to stay vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks in order to to maintain the downward trend.

June 18, 2020 update: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 60,618; Death toll now at 5,818

How much can social distancing, wearing a mask and eye protection help?

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A recent paper published in the medical journal “The Lancet” looked at 172 previous studies for the evidence behind physical distancing, face masks and eye protection to prevent spread of coronavirus in both healthcare settings and the community.

Social distancing has become a catch phrase of the pandemic, but we’re really referring to physical distancing. The recommended distance of six feet apart was based on older data on the distance droplets could travel. The new study suggests staying about a meter or three feet apart cuts the risk of infection to 3 percent.

General mask use reduces the risk of infection to 3 percent too. When it came to N-95 masks, the risk reduction was even more significant.

When it came to eye protection, the risk was dropped to 6 percent.

Since each layer adds to reducing the spread, combining multiple measures can help minimize risk.

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The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that looked at the protective fit of 3M Dome Masks and the Kimberly Clark Duckbill Masks. The study suggests 70 percent of duckbill masks failed after multiple days of reuse, while 27 percent of the dome masks failed. Fit test failures correlated with increased number of hours worn, number of days used and number of times put on and taken off.

The bottom line is dome masks work better but we simply need more PPE.

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