Like thousands of my fellow physicians who are members of the Indiana State Medical Association, I applaud Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision to order face masks for use by all Hoosiers in public. This mandate is a necessary step to prevent another surge of COVID-19, a disease that spreads whether the sick ever develop symptoms or not.
Many patients are at risk for serious complications if they become infected with COVID-19. But wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience compared to the dangers of the coronavirus no matter what age you are. Young and old alike who test positive have described their symptoms as the worst illness they have ever experienced.
Wearing a mask is one of the only effective ways to prevent COVID-19 in addition to staying at least six feet apart from others and washing hands often. The emerging evidence proves that cloth face coverings reduce the spray of respiratory droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. And studies have shown no significant decrease in oxygen and/or increase in carbon dioxide levels as a result.
Take it from a local doctor with 20 years of medical experience: Masks are effective, safe and necessary to protect Indiana’s public and economic health from the coronavirus. Most importantly, masks save lives – perhaps yours and those of your loved ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
I hope you will mask up yourself and encourage others to do the same.
Angela Wagner, DO
Trustee, Indiana State Medical Association
Past President, Indiana Osteopathic Association