As the country’s cases of COVID-19 continue to surge upward in what some are calling our “second spike,” and the state of Arkansas gets labeled as a hot spot for its growing footprint in that increase, many are pushing harder for face masks to curb the growing health risk.
Here at home, the cities of Fayetteville and Little Rock have each enacted some fashion of a masking ordinance, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been more candid in his remarks as pro-mask over the past month, wearing one into nearly every daily press briefing lately.
Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas’ health secretary, views the necessity of masks just as imperatively. But despite numerous studies showing the effectiveness of large scale face coverings in preventing the spread of COVID-19, it continues to be a polarizing activity. In an article featured in the July issue of our sister publication, AY About You magazine, Smith spoke about that hot topic and placed some of the blame on federal leaders.
“We’ve not had very good leadership nationally on that,” Smith said. “Gov. Hutchinson has been very careful about wearing masks in public. I have tried to do the same when I’m not in a situation where there is a 6-foot distance between me and others. But you hardly see our national leaders wearing masks, even in settings where it’s expected and recommended.”
Smith also noted that some of the anti-mask behavior could be attributed to comfortability, citing poor mask design and the heat of summer.
Around the world, countries with more successful masking campaigns than the United States have, for the most part, been able to return back to a closer sense of normalcy, as transmission elsewhere continues to decline. But as the daily case counts continue to rise here, some states are beginning to move backward — closing down areas of commerce that had just recently been reopened.
While restrictions may limit transmission, shutdowns have an adverse effect on the economy. Whereas, as Smith noted, face masks actually have more of an impact on transmission without any economic repercussions.
Read the full article in AY here.