Despite the early disinformation game regarding the use of masks in public, recent studies have shown they’re more important to stopping the spread of the virus than any other actions we can take. Including lockdowns. The question is are we using them? Nationally the answer is generally yes. In an average of national accredited surveys, about 80% of adults have worn a mask in public at some point since the pandemic began. Based on the most recent survey’s most continue to do so. The average of currently accredited polling shows about 70% of Americans do wear masks in public all or at least most of the time and intend to continue to do so until the threat of the pandemic passes. This is close to the 80% target researchers have found to be more effective than lockdowns in stopping the spread of the virus. But if you’ve looked around town you might have noticed it’s a bit of a mixed bag in South Florida. In my own observations, I’ve noticed groups in which all are wearing masks and groups where no one is wearing a mask. My wife Ashley told me one store she went to last week handed out masks to those who didn’t have them but many of the customers ignored them anyway. Beyond our own observations, what’s really happening?
According to a Florida Trend poll, only 44% of Floridians are wearing masks all of the time while in public, however, 68% are wearing them at least most of the time. That leaves Florida just below the national average. Given our demographics (the oldest, most vulnerable large state population), it’s less than ideal. The better news is that only 22% of Floridians are resistant to wearing them, which puts us at least close to where studies have shown we should be to stop the spread while reopening the state. The more important thing is just to do so when we’re in a group setting or in closed spaces in public.
On one hand, we’ve made significant progress with reducing the spread of the virus across the state while having all of the state in some stage of reopening. On the other hand, we’re still averaging over 600 new cases daily in Florida with most of those happening in South Florida. No one wants to be or expects to be the next person to contract the virus but it’s still happening. And based on all we know it’s likely the result of the people most resistant to wearing masks in public. While people ignoring public officials regarding the advisories of masks could potentially put others at risk, the biggest risk is without a doubt to them and their families. We all want the economy completely reopen and to put the threat of the virus behind us as quickly as possible. Based on all we currently know, wearing masks when needed is the quickest way to get there.
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