How masks work, and why you should wear one

Dr. Jay Wolfson believes facemasks can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, they have their drawbacks. 

“Wearing these things is uncomfortable sometimes,” admitted the senior associate dean of USF’s medical school. 

And, if you look around, you’ll probably see people wearing masks incorrectly.

“I’ve seen it underneath their nose in grocery stores,” said FOX 13’s Dr. Joette Giovinco. “It’s not going to help if it doesn’t cover your nose and your mouth.”

Except for medical respirator masks, like N95’s, masks are worn to protect others from the virus you may carry and project outward in droplets when you speak or sneeze.

“This thing can be a part of you and you don’t even know it,” Wolfson said of COVID-19. “You can be asymptomatic, which means you have no symptoms whatsoever, but you’re still infectious.”

While several local governments in the Tampa Bay area have passed mask ordinances or are considering them, none specify what type of mask is required.

Experts say as long as a mask prevents droplets from being projected toward others, it’s doing its job. 

It can be made of paper or cloth. Just keep it clean, and wash your hands before removing your mask and putting it back on. 

Giovinco says the newest studies show masks clearly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“If you wear a mask and we later find out it wasn’t useful -- you wore a mask, what’s the harm?” she added.