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'It’s not just to protect you:' Local experts tout recent mask study

Local researchers tout study urging mask-wearing amid pandemic
Posted at 9:07 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 00:30:22-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A study out of the University of Hong Kong says that wearing face masks reduces the transmission rate of COVID-19 by 75 percent.

Two Texas A&M-Corpus Christi researchers say the study is strong evidence that every person should wear a mask regardless of whether they have the novel coronavirus.

“Really, it’s not just to protect you," said Laura Monahan, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Women, Children and Family Health Sciences at A&M-Corpus Christi. "It’s to protect that vulnerable population that you may not know how sick they are."

Vulnerable populations such as the elderly, and people with pre-existing medical conditions, are at greater risk of dying if they contract the coronavirus.

It's possible to have COVID-19, not know it, and infect others. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 35 percent of all coronavirus patients don't have symptoms, and therefore may not be aware of their condition.

It's why the A&M-Corpus researchers urge everyone to wear masks.

“COVID-19 is a very serious problem, so we have to take it very seriously," said Meng Zhao, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Population Health & Health Systems Leadership at A&M-Corpus Christi. "We need to take every measure we can to protect ourselves and protect the public.”

Both researchers trust the results of the study because the test subjects were hamsters, which have enzyme receptors that are similar to those in humans.