The COVID mask. To wear or not to wear? Not only does everyone seem to have an opinion on the matter, they are strongly held opinions. How could such a little piece of cloth cause such a big storm?

But what is the truth of the matter?

Medical professionals have had differing opinions on whether they are essential or not. A video of Dr. Anthony Fauci on 60 Minutes has been getting a good deal of attention this week. He says bluntly, “Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.”

However, that “right now” is not actually right now. He said that the first week of March 2020. That’s not a long time ago in the normal scheme of things, but seemingly “ages” in the drama of this global crisis. Things changed shortly after that interview.

Today Dr. Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control, along with the White House, strongly recommend using facial masks while out in public under certain circumstances.

Dr. Fauci explained more recently, “Some mask-like facial covering, I think for the time being, should be a very regular part of how we prevent the spread of infection.”

In fact, Fauci stated this week, “I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make [facial masks] be a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.” He acknowledged masks aren’t absolute protection, few things are, but they are a “valuable safeguard” and part of “respect for another person” during this crisis.

Dr. Jerome Adams, President Donald Trump’s Surgeon General, encourages Americans to wear a face mask when coming into close contact with others in public places. He says his own motivations is quite simple: “I wear my face covering to protect you and you wear yours to protect me.”  

The CDC’s recommendation is quite simple:

“Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

  • Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
  • Cloth face coverings can be made from household items.”

It’s really as simple as this,

When Are Masks Not Necessary?

A mask is not necessary when you are isolated or appropriately and consistently distanced at least 6 feet from others in public. In situations where you might come into close proximity with others, wearing a mask to cover your nose and face is highly recommended. Health experts says it is not necessary when you are by yourself or in open spaces and practicing consistent social distancing of 6 feet or more.

Focus on the Family has a Physicians Resource Council made up of leading doctors from across the U.S. and Canada that guides the ministry on medical issues relating to the family. They recommend the CDC guidelines of consistent social distancing, wearing a mask when going into crowds and regular hand washing with soapy warm water.

Love of Neighbor

As both Dr. Fauci and the Surgeon General explain, wearing cloth face masks is a service and consideration to our neighbors, caring for them as we do ourselves. David Davis, Focus on the Family’s Medical Research Analyst, explains, “masks are not recommended to keep someone from getting the virus, but to keep infected people from spreading it.”

Some might think they don’t need to wear masks around others because they are not infected or don’t have the typical symptoms. But this is short-sighted. Davis explains “people can sometimes have no COVID-19 symptoms and yet still carry and spread the virus via droplets in a cough or sneeze.” Thus, “wearing a mask is a sign of responsibility and respect.” Davis contends the use of masks in crowded areas is a “love of neighbor” action:

It’s me telling you, “Even though the likelihood of my being infected is very, very tiny, I respect you enough to wear a mask so that I don’t spread the virus to you.”

When employees at Focus on the Family return to physically working together at our headquarters in June, we will be following the CDC guidelines carefully in order to protect our fellow employees and their families. Jennifer Scheck, our Vice President for Human Resources explains,

Throughout the pandemic, Focus’ executive team has communicated that caring for our staff in these uncertain times is essential. Maintaining a safe and healthy work environment is a key part of that commitment.

Focus on the Family provides a whole host of helpful resources for families as we all struggle to make it safely and sanely through the global COVID crisis. They can be found here.

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