I know we have been hearing about coronavirus for two years now. We are tired of hearing about it. We are all covid weary. The fact remains that the pandemic is a fluid crisis as new information is continually being announced. The details, infection rates, rules and safety procedures change so frequently, it’s almost impossible to know what the current rules are. But some facts remain true. We know the most effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is properly wearing a mask!
Currently, Irene’s requires everyone to wear a mask. The following masks are acceptable at Irene’s: N95 or KN95, Three Layer Surgical; Two Layer Cloth Masks; and Single Layer Pleated Masks.
The following masks are not acceptable at Irene’s: Exhalation Valves, Bandanas, Neck Fleece or Gaiters. If anyone arrives at the school wearing one of these masks, they will be given a disposable surgical mask to wear.
Not all masks are created equal. Here’s the deets on preventing droplets from spreading-
- N95 and KN95 masks are most effective and prevent droplets from coming in
- Three layer surgical masks are second best
- Two layer cloth masks are third in terms of effectiveness
- Single layer pleated masks are OK-ish
- Masks with exhalation valves protect the wearer but don’t prevent spreading droplets
- Bandanas with an opening at the bottom allow droplets to simply fall out
- Gaiters and neck fleece make spreading worse actually spread droplets even more than not wearing one! Allow me to explain. The thin knit material actually breaks a droplet into multiple smaller droplets. Smaller droplets are more dangerous because they float in the air longer and can make it through a person’s respiratory track easier.
I am going to be frank here. I don’t I need to tell you that wearing a mask under one’s nose is useless. Taking off a mask so people can hear you is stupid. Saying a mask is uncomfortable is not a reason not to wear one.
Masks work best if worn consistently and appropriately. Unlike 2020, N95 masks are now readily available. Experts are recommending layering masks. In other words, wearing a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it. Some masks have a space inside where a separate filter can be inserted. I have these and I find them comfortable. Make sure your mask fits over your nose and mouth without openings. It should stay in place during talking and moving, so it can be worn without slipping and so it does not require you to touch it frequently. Masks with a bendable strip to pinch on the nose helps prevent fogging glasses. A mask that is frequently pulled down to breathe or talk, or is worn under the nose, is not effective. The mask is comfortable enough to wear without adjusting it for the amount of time you need to keep it on.
Protect yourself and protect others by wearing a properly fitted effective mask. Covid-19 is spiking, the infection rate in Michigan continues to be one of the worst in the country. Our hospitals are overwhelmed to the point that the Feds had to send in teams of health care workers to help. We are all tired of the damn pandemic. As cases spike and new variants emerge, it is crucial to avoid spreading of the disease as much as possible. Properly wearing a good mask is the is or best line of defense in preventing the spread of the virus.
I am still asking anyone eligible to get vaccinated to do so. Although vaccines do not entirely prevent one from getting the virus, it reduces the chances. For vaccinated individuals who do contract covid, their symptoms are far milder and hospitalization is rarely needed. Vaccinated people are not the ones dying from covid. Vaccination is the safest choice in terms of dealing with this disease.
Vaccines are still FREE.
Ascension Urgent Care is giving free Pfizer vaccines in Southfield.
This story is from Tuesday’s Detroit Free Press
The new year is off to a rocky start as the omicron coronavirus is “spreading like wildfire” in Michigan, the nation and across the world, Michigan’s top doctor told the Free Press on Monday.
It’s driving case rates to new pandemic highs, and is pushing up hospitalizations just as Michigan began to come down from its months long delta wave, said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
On Monday, the state health department reported 61,235 new coronavirus cases from the long holiday weekend and 298 deaths. That amounts to an average of 12,247 new cases per day over the five-day reporting period from Thursday to Monday.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19, which had started to dip in mid-December, are trending upward yet again. Nearly 4,000 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus statewide Monday — including 96 children.
“Our percent positivity continues to rise. (It had reached 28.37% on Dec. 28, the highest point since mid-April of 2020.) Our hospitals continue to be overburdened.
“We’ve had a slow rise in cases since the beginning of the K-12 school year, followed by a more rapid rise when the weather got colder and people came inside. All of that was our delta wave and now we’re being hit with omicron on top of delta.
“So how we got here, I think, was really people not complying with public health guidance. And we now have a more transmissible variant that is coming at a time that really couldn’t be worse in Michigan.
“The weather is still cold. People are still gathering indoors and our hospitals are really struggling.”
“When we look at our vaccination rates, that’s where I become particularly concerned because our vaccination rates are lagging behind the rest of the country. Our vaccination rates are lagging overall, particularly when we look at younger age groups and particularly when we look at certain demographics.
“What we are seeing is this inequity in terms of vaccine uptake that is predominantly affecting some communities that are socially vulnerable, and affecting minorities, especially younger age groups.
“It really worries me because when we have that sort of inequity it’s leaving … socially vulnerable communities at much higher risk as we face omicron.
“My last thoughts are to any readers out there who have been on the fence about receiving your vaccine or thinking that you’re in a younger age group and so perhaps you don’t need to get vaccinated, we really need to use all of the tools we have and we need to start thinking (of the larger community).
“So perhaps you yourself are not someone who’s in a high-risk group, but there are people around you who are. If we can get vaccinated to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, I think it is really our civic responsibility to do so.”