JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Across Northeast Florida we see signs stressing the importance of face coverings. We’ve heard medical experts and politicians encourage people to wear masks where social distancing is not possible. We still hearing debates on whether face coverings should be mandated, which more and more communities are doing.
Dr. Mohammed Reza, an infectious disease specialist with CAN Community Health, was pleased when the city of Jacksonville added a mask requirement last Monday.
“That’s a fantastic move by Mayor Curry. That will save lives,” Reza said.
Reza is also in favor of enforcement for those who do not obey the order. Unlike most government mandates, Jacksonville’s rule has no penalty for failing to wear a mask.
“Several studies that have recently come out of Johns Hopkins show that, if I am an asymptomatic carrier and I wear a mask, I can decrease the rate of transmission to another person by 70%. So we have seen this virus increase dramatically and exponentially across Northeast Florida and across Florida,” Reza said. “So we know the warmer weather does decrease transmission and we are seeing it empirically. Everyday data we are seeing diagnosed in NEFL and across Florida. This is exponential, it doesn’t go by 1 to 2, it goes by 1 to 5 to 10 to 20, this virus is going to spread exponentially, and that’s the scary part.”
Reza doesn’t understand why mask-wearing became a polarized issue.
“This is not a political issue,” he said. “I promise you as an infectious disease doctor, it’s about saving lives. It’s about public health.”
What type of face-covering/mask does Reza recommend wearing?
“So it’s really not about what type of mask you’re wearing when you’re in public, it’s some sort of face-covering to decrease those large spit particles that are around us all the time,” Reza said. “When we speak, sing, shout and, especially, when we sneeze and cough,” Reza said. “We know there is community transmission. If we could wear masks it would make such a huge difference.”
Dr. Reza launched COVIDIQ to track and inform communities in real-time about the spread of COVID19. Reza said COVIDIQ.org is hoping to launch an effort for Back to School and Back to Work to help further track and prevent the spread of the virus.