The power of masks

February 11, 2022 Providence News Team

Two women masked in a flower shop


In this article:

  • COVID-19 is spread through contact with infected droplets that contain the disease.

  • A video shows the dramatic effects of how masks protect you.

  • Providence physician Rich Davis explains why masks and physical distancing work.

Healthcare professionals have worn surgical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for years to protect themselves and their patients from the spread of disease and infection. As the pandemic continues, you have the opportunity to reap the benefits of what caregivers around the world have learned through experience – other than getting vaccinated, wearing a mask is the single most effective way to keep yourself (and others) safe from airborne illnesses like COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Although data on COVID-19 has constantly evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, one data point has remained the same – COVID-19 is most commonly spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air that contains small droplets expelled by an infected person, especially through common behaviors like coughing, talking, singing or sneezing
  • Having these droplets that contain the virus land on eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with hands that have the virus on them

Additionally, these droplets can move throughout an entire room or indoor space (restaurant, store, house, office, etc.) and linger for minutes to hours in some cases. 

So, how do you avoid coming in contact with droplets infected with the COVID-19 virus?

In a word, masks.

Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19

A demonstration by the Microbiology Lab at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital shows how wearing a mask can protect you (and others) in close proximity and even at a safe 6-foot distance from viruses and other pathogens.

Watch the demonstration here that answers the common questions:

  • How effective is masking?
  • Does physical distance matter?

When a local journalist repeated the demonstration alongside Sacred Heart's microbiology director, Dr. Rich Davis, they documented the results as he coughed, sneezed, sang and talked with and without a mask. They also looked at social distancing and found it to be effective at keeping germs contained. 

Watch more here:

Even though vaccination rates are rising, variants may still pose a threat. This makes mask-wearing in certain situations a smart practice for the foreseeable future. Stay up to date on the CDC's recommendations for masking and how to keep yourself as protected as possible from current variants.


Find a doctor

If you’re having symptoms of COVID-19, Providence Express Care Virtual connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to see a doctor in person, you can use our provider directory to find the right Providence physician for you. 

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.


About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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