GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There are still a lot of questions surrounding wearing a mask, especially after Governor Gretchen Whitmer's latest executive order that requires masks inside all public places.
So, we verified some common mask myths.
We spoke with Kent County Health Department's Supervising Epidemiologist Brian Hartl as our expert.
Do you need to wear a mask when you are not feeling well?
"There's been evidence that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus to other people," said Hartl, "They feel perfectly fine, but they may be infected with the virus and they can spread it. That's one of the real big reasons why we recommend the use of face coverings in public."
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention verifies on their website 40 percent of transmissions occur prior to the feeling symptoms.
We can verify yes, you can spread COVID-19 even if you do not feel sick.
Can you spread covid-19 by talking?
"Yes, you can," said Hartl, "This is a virus that is transmitted through respiratory droplets. Anything that provides the potential for those respiratory droplets to come out of your mouth protect potential for the spread. So, we typically think about coughing and sneezing and things like that of sick people. But talking and singing, and those types of things, also can project those droplets out of your mouth and can transmit the virus."
So we can verify yes. You can spread COVID-19 by talking.
Is there a correct way to wear a traditional blue and white medical face mask?
"With the surgical mask, you want the blue side to be out," said Hartl, "and then they all have a kind of small and thin wire that goes across a bridge of your nose. You want to kind of form that to your face once you put that on."
Hartl said also to make sure the mask covers both your nose and mouth completely, regardless of type of mask.
We can verify, yes, there is a correct way to wear a medical mask, the blue side out.
Do certain masks work better than others?
"The cloth face covering is more to protect others from individuals who may be infected with the virus," said Hartl, "to stop the spread of those respiratory droplets. They can protect you somewhat from other people with the virus. The more protective masks or the surgical mask or the N95 masks that can actually filter out particles from you breathing them."
So yes, we can verify some masks work better than others. However, Hartl said wearing any type of mask will help slow the overall spread of the virus.
Is there a hard and fast rule for exercising with a mask while outdoors?
"I think if you can tolerate it," said Hartl, "I think it's a case-by-case basis. We don't recommend mass use for people who have a hard time breathing or if they're wearing a mask and they find themselves having labored breathing. We don't recommend that. So, if you can tolerate it, I think it's okay to wear masks while exercising. I think as much as possible try to find a place to exercise that you're by yourself and not near other people."
So we can verify there is not a hard and fast rule for exercising with a mask while outdoors.
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