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Letter to the Editor

Masks really do work

To the editor: We’re all tired of this.

Exhausted, honestly. Weary of reading about this virus in the media, being told what to do by a government that seems clueless, and watching the numbers quickly rise in our city. We all want to go back to normal — to have a day where we can be ourselves and just … breathe.

From day one, even scientists have sent mixed messages, adding to the confusion. I should know, I’m one of them. I’ll admit there is plenty we still don’t know about the disease, but over the last several weeks, two facts have become very clear:

• The main route of transmission is respiratory droplets and aerosols, a little less than half of it coming from those who show no symptoms.

• Masks work at containing them. Really, really well in fact — but only if we all wear them.

A recent study in a rigorous scientific journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, drives the point home: Two symptomatic hairdressers in Missouri, who later tested positive, saw 139 clients over 10 days. In addition to social distancing measures required by the salon, they and 98% of their clients wore masks the whole time (2% just part of the time).

None of the clients got sick.

So how do we return to normal?

• We all wear masks (even cloth masks) any time we’re around others, indoors or out.

• We support local businesses that require their employees and customers to wear them.

• We encourage our friends and neighbors to wear them — without shaming.

• We continue to follow other guidance, including maintaining at least 6 feet distance, avoiding crowded spaces (especially indoor spaces with poor air circulation), and washing our hands frequently.

Us Fairbanksans love our neighbors — even when we disagree — and we all want this to end. None of us wants to end up like California, which is why we should all do everything in our power to protect and support one another right now.

That starts with wearing a mask.

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