The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

The lies about masking up

- Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

When Jim Carrey’s character, Stanley Ipkiss donned an iridescent green facecoveri­ng in 1994’s “The Mask,” he developed a very reckless alter personalit­y. Fortunatel­y, when you put on a mask to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and respirator­y infections like the flu and RSV, you don’t have to worry about becoming conspicuou­sly foolish. In fact, you’ll look downright smart.

Surgical, N95 and KN95 masks do reduce your risk of contractin­g and spreading COVID-19, despite the current storm on social media that claims, “If face masks worked, China wouldn’t be seeing such numbers ... In fact, there’s no evidence that mask mandates helped reduce infections anywhere.”

Research shows that widespread use of masks is effective in reducing transmissi­on. One study found that in 12 U.S. counties between March 21 and October 20, 2020, once masks were mandated, the daily case incidence per 100,000 people in masked counties compared with unmasked counties declined by 25% at four weeks and 35% at six weeks. And most of the masks used then were not N95 or KN95 — which are the most effective.

Why am I bringing this up? Because experts say the new variant — XBB.1.5 — is five times more contagious than an earlier omicron variant, which was five times more contagious than the original virus! And wearing a mask (make it an N95 or KN95), washing your hands regularly and getting vaccinated and boosted will help make sure you stay healthy and if you get infected keep you out of the hospital and help prevent brain complicati­ons from long COVID-19.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestseller­s. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeRe­

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