Research has shown that when face coverings are used properly, they reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus. Maintaining physical distance from other people does too.
The latest is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of sailors at the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt which showed that sailors who used a face covering and practiced social distancing had a lower infection rate.
“We now have more scientific evidence that face-coverings prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “When people are in public the risk of exposure is higher so they should wear a face covering, especially when they’re within six feet from others.”
Face coverings are important because they disrupt the trajectory of droplets when people cough or sneeze. Also, people can have COVID-19 and transmit the virus, but not have any symptoms.
In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization is also now recommending that people wear a face covering when in public and close to others.
In San Diego County, about 10% of all the people who tested positive for COVID-19 had no symptoms, which means they could have been unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
Furthermore, adjacent counties and states have seen an increase in cases and no travel restrictions are in place within the United States.
If San Diegans fail to heed the public health advice, the region could experience an increase in cases that would require the County to slow, stop or dial back the reopening of the local economy.
“When you wear a face covering, you protect those around you. When others use a face covering, they protect you,” Wooten said. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and this dangerous virus remains in circulation throughout the community. People should not get complacent and continue heeding the guidance given to protect themselves and others.”
The County’s local Health Officer Order requires San Diegans to wear a face-covering when in public and less than six feet from others, or any time they enter a business, except when its use is prevented by a medical condition.
Face coverings will be required in public until further notice.
“People who choose not to wear face coverings should stay home. They may be cited and denied access to businesses, transit, or recreational areas,” said Wooten, adding that people should also wash their hands properly and regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.