Time For a Practical Plan

The plan to mitigate the spread of SARS CoV-2 is not working. The people of Nevada have been doing what they’ve been told. What is going wrong? More mask wear correlates with higher rates of infection. The Governor tells us it’s because of too much interaction between people so, on Veteran’s Day 2020, he proclaimed “Stay at Home 2.0”. But does that address the root cause of spread?

Obviously not because as he implores Nevadans to only leave home for essential work or errands, in the next breath he welcomes tourists to our state. Tourism, gambling, having a drink at a bar, those activities are not “essential” as defined by the Governor. They are, however, essential elements to the overall health of our communities and economy

Here’s the deal: whether 1 meter or 6 feet of separation, 10 people from 2 families or 50 or 250 strangers together indoors, latex gloves, biohazard suits, face shields, respirators, surgical masks, or bandanas; regardless — infection control has an order of operation that cannot be violated. The experts and authorities reiterate the need to wear a mask. At times they even mention to wear your mask properly by covering your nose and mouth completely.

We are still ignoring the order of operation of infection control. That ignorance is a key reason for the increasing spread of the pandemic.

The first step of personal infection control is to never touch around your face until you have washed your hands. Said another way, once you have a mask on your face do not touch it again until you wash your hands.

It sounds too good to be true, but it works when done consistently. The practice is not followed, though. Watch any press conference or Corona Virus update and you will see people fiddle with their masks. Go to any public place and observe people. Monitor your own behaviors, when you wear a mask. Every touch is a contamination, whether the person is self-inoculating or spreading contaminants from the mask to other touch points.

Rational and achievable measures need to be put in place to control this pandemic. Doing more is not better if we skip the first and most important step.

Public Health involves more than stopping disease. It is just as critical to maintain health by supporting our communities where people gather and work and learn and recreate. I urge our policy makers to support what truly matters. Keep our communities open by empowering individuals to do their part. All the stuff being obsessed over now, testing/tracing, masks, distancing, closing public gatherings — that is all icing on the cake that hasn’t been baked yet. Let’s bake the cake and see what progress we can make.

Personal hygiene — proper hand washing first.

(CDC study of those ill with COVID-19: 58% report no close contact with another person within 2 weeks)

(CDC study on the use of face covering or mask: 70% reported always using for 14 days prior to illness)

(CDC statement)“Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching or removing your mask”.

A Preventive Medicine physician, committed to improving the health of his family and community.