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Why wear a mask? Let’s count the reasons | READER COMMENTARY

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper puts on his mask after speaking about the new COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state employees, during a press briefing at the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C. (Casey Toth/The News & Observer via AP)
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper puts on his mask after speaking about the new COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state employees, during a press briefing at the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C. (Casey Toth/The News & Observer via AP) (Casey Toth/AP)

Jonah Goldberg’s column, “New mask requirement would be a bridge too far” (Aug. 2), misses some very salient points. As one who worked in infectious disease research for several years, there are several things the general public may not know.

First, coronaviruses are prone to mutation. And the SARS-CoV-2 (virus causing COVID-19) is no different.

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Second, every human being infected with this virus who becomes a host to the virus presents another opportunity for the virus to mutate again.

Third, any mutation could prove more virulent or more deadly than the current delta variant. And anyone, vaccinated or not, may become a host to the SARS-CoV-2 and its delta variant and show no symptoms of the COVID-19 disease.

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Fourth, the vaccination is designed to boost a human being’s response to the virus and prevent that vaccinated person from becoming seriously ill, possibly dying.

Fifth, vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 does not prevent you from becoming infected, meaning a new host to the virus.

Sixth, any person who is infected may then transmit it to others, vaccinated or not.

Wearing a mask when you are around others does limit the chance that you will inhale virus particles exhaled by others. If you are infected with the virus, it also limits the chance that you will exhale any of the virus into the path of others you may encounter. Asking everyone to wear a mask is certainly more preferable than some of the alternatives, isn’t it?

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Sarah A. Riley, Timonium

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