GEE AND URSULA

UW pandemic expert: Should we all be wearing masks during coronavirus?

Apr 1, 2020, 2:59 PM
Coronavirus masks, mask...
Production of protective masks has ramped up across the globe. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

An ongoing issue during the coronavirus outbreak is whether people should be wearing masks to protect themselves and others against the spread of the virus.

A recent report by the Washington Post found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering a plan to urge Americans to cover their faces if they go out to slow the spread.

While initially the CDC said masks should be preserved for caregivers, should everyone now be wearing them when they go out? Dr. Peter Rabinowitz is the Director of the MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness & Global Health at the University of Washington, and joined the Gee and Ursula Show.

“First of all, just to reinforce that we have to prioritize masks for the health care workers and the first responders, people at the front lines who absolutely need the best protection. We don’t want to do anything to interfere with them getting the protection they need,” he said.

11-year-old Natalie is spreading kindness with chalk in Snohomish County

“We previously didn’t push masks a lot because we said the risk is low in the general population, there’s not much transmission going on,” Rabinowitz said. “Now, we have a sense that there’s a much more substantial amount of community transmission going on, and so that I think we should reevaluate masks. I think that if somebody feels like they want to wear a mask, it is probably not providing a great amount of protection. But it may provide some, and that’s a good thing.”

Rabinowitz noted that if more people started wearing masks, there would be less of a stigma for those who are wearing them already, since there’s often a mistaken assumption that those wearing masks are sick.

“But if more people wore a mask, then there wouldn’t be that stigma, which is great. And so I think because of getting possible protection from even a homemade mask, or just one that doesn’t interfere with the health care supply, you might be giving yourself some protection, and you’re reducing stigma, and that’s a good thing.”

Be the best version of yourself now and after this outbreak

That said, he hopes that if people do start wearing masks, they don’t give themselves a false sense of security, and still maintain the regular protections.

“The thing that you’ve got to be careful with is that if you’re touching your face all the time, you may be really negating the effect of the mask,” he said. “You don’t want to give yourself a false sense of security and wear a mask and then just go up and get really close to a whole bunch of people and interfere with the social distancing measures.”

“So there’s there’s some downsides you’ve got to be aware of. But on balance, I think there’s growing thinking that there could be some advantages to just making it a more common thing to see people on the street with masks.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
3 days ago
grocery...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
4 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
5 days ago
kent police...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Apology for handling of Kent police officer who posted Nazi emblem fixes little

The Kent mayor and police chief apologized for the separation delay of an officer alleged to have displayed a Nazi emblem, only after public outcry.
6 days ago
COVID vaccine...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine

Could the COVID vaccine join the list of requirements for children to attend school in Washington? State Superintendent Chris Reykdal believes it will.
8 days ago
outdoor lunch, kirkland...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

State superintendent: Kirkland school’s outdoor lunch rule ‘not the best choice’

Parents at Lakeview Elementary expressed outrage after finding out that the school would be mandating outdoor lunch in cold temperatures.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
UW pandemic expert: Should we all be wearing masks during coronavirus?