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Don’t let COVID-19 follow you this summer; wear a mask, experts say

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Bars are closing in some states like Texas and Florida, as rumors of potential shutdowns circulate again. So, if you’re wondering if you can still go to the beach, or should you wear a mask. Experts say to just be smart.

Sometimes it seems like COVID-19 is a distant dream. We all know it happened, but now things are relatively normal.

“It’s not a theoretical thing. I mean, this disease is still here. It hasn’t gone away, despite us relaxing these social distancing measures,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Augusta University Health.

That’s the reality, and Coule says AU Health’s intensive care unit is actually filling up again.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, the virus is closing bars and restaurants again. But that doesn’t have to be the solution here. In fact, the lockdown was just a way to slow the virus.

“The intent of those measures was to slow down the spread of the disease so that the health care system could catch our breath,” Coule said.

And AU says it has caught up, so we don't need to continue living fully in our homes. But they do say we need to wear a mask, despite the misinformation out there.

“Wearing masks is effective both for the wearer as well as the other person potentially being exposed,” Coule said.

He says we probably don't need to wear one on the beach. But if you're in bars and restaurants or at the grocery store, wear one. And social distance. And just remember your risk and the risk to others.

“For younger people, I think it’s a matter of what risk you are willing to assume, and also realizing that you may put friends or loved ones at risk if you become infected,” Coule said.

With masks, AU says any covering is better than nothing. But a surgical mask is generally more consistent compared to cloth masks with different materials.

AU also says crowded restaurants and bars are probably second, only to a funeral, for risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

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