To the editor, 

Let’s say you needed surgery, and when the surgeon came in your pre-op room she was sneezing into a tissue. Then when you go into the operating room just before you go under, you see the surgeon come in not wearing a mask. If you end up developing a wound infection from the surgery, you might suspect that this variation from normal was malpractice.

My point is doctors wear masks during surgery to prevent the patient from getting ill from them. This is also why we should wear masks to prevent others from getting COVID-19.

Two recent studies have shown that masks make a big difference. One in Kansas showed that people from counties that tended to follow mask mandates had less than half of the risk of getting COVID-19 than folks who came from counties that ignored mask mandates.

The second study was from Tennessee, and it showed municipalities that tended to wear masks had less than half of the likelihood of needing to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

It is essential to be wearing masks when out in public. It is also important to try to stay over 6 feet from each other even when wearing masks. People often cheat on the 6 feet when wearing a mask which is a mistake. The slight inconvenience of wearing a mask is minimal considering the benefit.  

With the holidays coming, please consider not having large gatherings this year. We will surely see a big surge of COVID-19 if we have a lot of large family get togethers at Thanksgiving. I know these are important to people, but we need to protect our loved ones. 

We are seeing a big surge in cases locally and across the USA now. Every day we see many patients with COVID-19.  The nurses, all the support personnel and providers are working hard to care for everyone. Many medical personnel nationwide are getting burned out from the stress of being overwhelmed.

Waiting for this concept of “herd immunity” to happen without a vaccine is likely to result in millions of new cases, hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S., and our health care system will not be able to handle the burden.

Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Please avoid large gatherings. If we don’t, many of us will get sick, and some will pay with their lives.

Terry Johnson, MD


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