The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services [MDHHS] is launching an initiative to inform Michiganders to mask up, and to mask right.
“The science is now settled: Masks protect others from COVID – and they protect the wearer,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “It’s important to wear the right mask and wear it the right way. We want all Michiganders to Mask Up, Mask Right as we continue to battle the virus in our state.”
Masking correctly includes wearing one of three options of masks that provide stronger protection: three-layered washable cloth face coverings, medical-grade disposable masks or approved KN95 masks. It also includes wearing the approved mask correctly and having it secured over the nose and face and tightly fitting without gaps, according to a press release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has recommended the use of masks to protect the community by reducing the emission of the virus and to protect the wearer by reducing inhalation, according to the website. CDC cites a number of studies showing that masks have been effective. For example, one study showed that use of masks onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was associated with a 70% reduced risk of COVID; another showed that, in a contact tracing investigation, those who reported wearing masks had a 70% lower risk of infection than those who did not. Published research by Beaumont Hospital in Southeast Michigan also showed that mask wearing was associated with lower levels of infection by COVID and, among those infected, lower levels of symptoms.
Bandanas, gaiters and face shields without masks do not provide enough protection for the wearer or others and are not recommended.
“The delivery of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan means there will be an end to this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in the press release. “However, it will take several months before we are able to have enough vaccine to widely distribute it to all Michiganders. Until then, and even for individuals who receive the vaccine, we should all be doing our part to slow the spread of this virus by wearing masks correctly, avoiding large gatherings, and washing hands.”
Residents in need of masks can pick one up from partner sites across the state, which includes most MDHHS local offices and Community Action Agencies. Find a distribution site at Michigan.gov/MaskUpMichigan or call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136.