Masks, social distancing crucial to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Masks, social distancing crucial to avoiding another COVID-19 lockdown

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in Mississippi, with the seven-day average for new cases at an all-time high.

“If we don’t make an intervention, a strong intervention now, the epidemiologists are predicting that we would reach 200,000 deaths in America by September,” said Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh of Hattiesburg Clinic.

Rouhbakhsh said the rise in new cases began around Memorial Day.

“It was about that time that people said they were done with this and the risk is not worth the reward,” Rouhbakhsh said.

Without serious action, the path we’re heading toward could be devastating.

“So, this will be the number one killer of Americans in 2020 if we stay on this trajectory,” Rouhbakhsh said.

There are ways to change that trajectory.

“From a policy standpoint, if you’re asking my opinion from a physician standpoint, we have to have a uniform mask law throughout the country,” Rouhbakhsh said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks when in public around others, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.

With proper mask usage and social distancing, the outcome can change.

“If we do this at an 80 to 90% clip, this thing could be over in two months,” Rouhbakhsh said. “I mean like over, over.”

Rouhbakhsh said masks are crucial to stopping the rise in cases.

“We have really good evidence that masks work. I mean really good evidence that they work very, very well,” Rouhbakhsh said.

According to the CDC, recent studies show that cloth face coverings can reduce the spray of respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth, droplets that transmit COVID-19 from one person to another.

Rouhbakhsh said that it is irresponsible to not wear a mask during a pandemic.

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