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Should You Cover Face? Top South Coast Health Official Now Says It Could Help In Coronavirus Fight


To mask, or not to mask: THAT is the question. Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says based on new research, he’s changed his mind about the issue, but not for the reason you might think.

First, to mask or not to mask isn’t really the exact question. Officials on the Central and South Coasts say masks like the N-95 masks, which are in short supply, should be reserved for health care workers.

What about homemade masks, or coverings? Dr. Levin says that’s where new research comes into play on the question. Dr. Levin says it now appears we can be contagious two days before we know we have coronavirus. So, while he used to oppose the use of face coverings by the public, he now thinks it’s a good idea.  But he says you need to realize that it’s really less about protecting yourself than protecting others. He says wearing the covering can help you prevent spreading the virus to others.

The Ventura County Public Health official there’s no question we’ll see many more cases in our region before the crisis ends. He reminds us that we play the key role in easing the crisis, by taking stay at home and social distancing orders seriously.

Is it enough? Will authorities need to put even tough restrictions in place to keep people at home? Levin admits he’s hopeful, but there is simply no way to know at this point.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.