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Could a facemask requirement stop the spread of COVID-19?

U.S. Surgeon General tweeted that face masks are the country’s ticket to freedom, saying they lead to less asymptomatic spread, which leads to more places opening.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As more businesses across the Carolinas reopen and as more people venture out, it should come as no surprise, the Carolinas are seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases.

But could requiring facemasks in public to help slow the spread. 

Sunday, the U.S. Surgeon General tweeted that face masks are the country’s ticket to freedom, saying they lead to less asymptomatic spread, which leads to more places opening, sooner.

The founder of Reopen NC posted a video on Facebook burning a face mask and encouraging others to do the same, saying they will not comply if the Governor mandates wearing one.

Some people in the Charlotte area agree.

“I think it should be a choice. If you want to wear a mask that’s fine if I don't want to wear a mask, fine. I personally don't think the risk of getting coronavirus is great if you're careful and I can be careful without a mask,” said James Hough.

Others think wearing face masks is an important way to keep the community safe. 

“It’s the right thing to do. I think we all should do our due diligence as a community to do what's right and get back to normal. The only way to get back to normal is if we follow what our governor and the health specialists and doctors are recommending,” said Shannon Wallace of Charlotte.

“I think we need to make a decision, we either wear masks or we don't wear masks. The problem is we have mixed messages and it’s made everybody so confused and frustrated and angry,” said Dr. Ana-Maria Temple.

These days, face masks are widely available, including at big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart stores and easily found on online retailers including, Amazon.com. And today, face masks come in all different sizes and colors, from kid patterns to designer prints.

This week, Under Armour’s new “Sportsmask” sold out in less than an hour. The company says the mask is a performance mask, specifically designed for athletes. 

Want to brand a mask with a custom logo? You can now do that too.

“The supply caught up with the demand,” says Leo Friedman, CEO of iPromo, a major U.S. supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE). He says the face mask market is now so flooded, many masks are mis-advertised.

“Or just poor quality, that you’re just wearing as a placebo effect instead of an actual proper piece of protection against Corona,” he says.

So how can you tell if your mask will actually protect you? Friedman says there’s a way to test it.

“You pour the water in the mask,” he says, as he poured water into the mask he was holding. Friedman then raised the mask, showing how no water dripped out.

“If the mask was to let water through that means airborne water particles would be able to get through as well,” he says.

To see how well your mask filters your breath and therefore would filter the particles you breathe, Friedman trying to blow out a candle while wearing your mask. If you cant blow the candle’s flameout, then he says your mask is good quality. Of course, never get your mask too close to the flame that it catches fire.

Not only must the mask be good quality, but doctors say it must also be worn properly to work. 

So, what’s the proper way to wear your face mask? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Wear a face covering to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms.
  • Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public
  • Don’t put the covering around your neck or on your forehead
  • Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands

Doctors say you should also make sure it’s snug and that it never drops below your nose.

And ever wonder why you see people driving with their face mask on? Doctors say you should leave it on until your done with your errands.

Once you take it off, doctors say only touch the strings around your ears, and immediately throw it into your washing machine. They say you should never place it on your counter, the seat of your car or ever drop it into your purse, as it will only spread germs.

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