Thursday, November 26, 2020

In Support of Mask Mandate

Letter to the Editor

We are reaching out to you to express our medical opinion about the importance of masks to prevent the continual spread of COVID19 in our community. As primary care doctors working on Marco Island for the last 15 years, we firmly believe that Marco Island should “opt-in” to the Collier County mask mandate that was passed on Tuesday, July 21st. The science firmly supports the use of masks to prevent the spread. There is NO evidence to show that masks do not work, nor harm to the wearer. With our older population, we are obligated to protect them. Mask wearing should be considered patriotic and a show of support for everyone in the community. When we all wear masks, we all have more freedom to live, even when COVID19 is still with us. 

Masks are now required in 28 states. States that currently have lower numbers than Florida. Marco Island has the strength, the intelligence and compassion to also mandate masks. As for the concern that masks will disrupt visitors and the economy, your other choice is a shutdown, which no one wants.  

As for enforcement, there are many laws that people do not comply with, but yet we still enforce them. For instance, drivers still exceed the speed limits, but we still have set speed limits in place. Most small businesses are in favor of the mandate, so that they do not have to fight with customers in order to protect themselves and their staff. Our valuable workers in all of our stores need to be protected. You can protect them with a mask mandate.  

Marco Island needs to “opt-in” to the mask mandate of Collier County. 

As members of Marco Island, and caring for the people of Marco Island, we are here to help the city any way we can. Please feel free to reach out to us for any help in regard to this matter.  

Sincerely, 

Robert Poling, MD and Patricia Poling, MD 

Marco Island 

One response to “In Support of Mask Mandate”

  1. Coastal Breeze News Staff says:

    Please NOTE an update from the New England Journal of Medicine pertaining to the previous comment:

    TO THE EDITOR:
    We understand that some people are citing our Perspective article (published on April 1 at NEJM.org)1 as support for discrediting widespread masking. In truth, the intent of our article was to push for more masking, not less. It is apparent that many people with SARS-CoV-2 infection are asymptomatic or presymptomatic yet highly contagious and that these people account for a substantial fraction of all transmissions.2,3 Universal masking helps to prevent such people from spreading virus-laden secretions, whether they recognize that they are infected or not.4
    We did state in the article that “wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection,” but as the rest of the paragraph makes clear, we intended this statement to apply to passing encounters in public spaces, not sustained interactions within closed environments. A growing body of research shows that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is strongly correlated with the duration and intensity of contact: the risk of transmission among household members can be as high as 40%, whereas the risk of transmission from less intense and less sustained encounters is below 5%.5-7 This finding is also borne out by recent research associating mask wearing with less transmission of SARS-CoV-2, particularly in closed settings.8 We therefore strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods.
    Michael Klompas, M.D., M.P.H.
    Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    Charles A. Morris, M.D., M.P.H.
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
    Erica S. Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D.
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
    Since publication of their article, the authors report no further potential conflict of interest.
    This letter was published on June 3, 2020, at NEJM.org.

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