Currently, Nebraska continues to have high numbers of infections and a high test positivity rate of 9%. Colorado instituted a mask mandate on July 17. On Aug. 16, Colorado, with a population five times greater than Nebraska, had only 153 cases in comparison to Nebraska’s 191. This highlights the ability of masks to mitigate disease.
COVID19 is an invisible, insidious and dangerous disease. Masks are essential in preventing spread by infected individuals, many of whom are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates that 66,000 lives would be saved by Dec. 1 if 95% of people in the U.S. would wear a mask when leaving their home. In Nebraska, alone an estimated 437 lives would be saved by Dec. 1. Masks saves lives.
As mothers, grandmothers, daughters and sisters, we send our children off to dormitories, schools or work. In any year, this is bittersweet. However, if our children are going to environments where other people are wearing masks, we can be more at ease. In so many of these places, close contact will be unavoidable because school and work environments are busy and bustling places.
Recent data suggests that the increase in cases is being driven by the 10- to 30-year-old group. Children under 10 appear to be less likely to transmit this disease to their elders, but anyone over 10 years old can spread the disease to adults as easily as adults pass it on to each other.
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