RoundTable reader Dr. Greg Denenberg of Orchard Medical Group says, "Wear a mask!" RoundTable photo

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The RoundTable will continue to feature a ‘Masked Person of the Day’ for the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris administration.

A barrage of sometimes confusing information about COVID-19 is a reflection of the need for science to catch up with an evolving virus.

One message remains consistent: It is more important than ever to use the measures that are known to reduce the spread of COVID-19, like masking.

“A mask should be part of our uniform, like you would wear shoes,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer and professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division at the University of Michigan, in an interview with American Medical Association senior news writer Sara Berg.

In a Feb 17 overview of the status of the pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “The science is clear. Consistently and correctly wearing a mask is one of the most effective tools we have to stop the spread of COVID-19. For reasons supported by science, comfort, cost and practicality, the CDC does not recommend routine use of N95 respirators for protection against COVID-19 by the general public.

“Abundant scientific laboratory data, epidemiologic investigations and large population level analyses demonstrate that masks now available to the general public are effective and are working. There is little evidence that, when worn properly, well-fitting medical cloth masks fail in disease transmission.

“CDC continues to recommend use of masks that have two or more layers, that completely cover your nose and mouth, and that fit snugly and comfortably over your nose and the side of your face.”

Dr. Wolensky said that COVID-19 cases have been declining for five weeks. Similarly, hospital admissions have been declining since early January. However, the daily number of reported deaths continues to fluctuate. The latest data indicate deaths declined by 0.6% to an average of 3,076 deaths per day, from Feb. 9 to Feb. 15.

“These numbers are a painful reminder of all those we have lost and continue to lose – our family members, our friends, our neighbors and our co-workers to this pandemic. While cases and hospitalizations continue to move in the right direction, we remain in the midst of a very serious pandemic and we continue to have more cases than we did even during last summer’s peak.

“The continued spread of variants that are transmissible could jeopardize the progress we have made in the last month if we let our guard down,” said Dr. Walensky.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.