VUMC doctor says mixed messages on masks from health care workers poses risk

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Posted at 9:21 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 22:21:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As people continue to debate over masks, local doctors say some health care workers are spreading mixed messages that could put people at risk.

They say those mixed messages are giving people the wrong idea that maybe they shouldn’t take coronavirus more seriously.

Dr. David Aronoff of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been an advocate for masks, long before they were ever made mandatory anywhere.

He’s heard all the opposing arguments, but lately has heard people attributing those arguments to health care professionals.

“All of our best knowledge right now is that this is a respiratory illness that is contagious and goes from one person to another through our breath,” said Dr. Aronoff.

Opponents of masks have countered with the notion that breathing through a mask will then only make matters worse, since you’re now inhaling the carbon dioxide you’ve exhaled.

As Dr. Aronoff explains, the carbon dioxide you exhale and the oxygen you inhale are “very tiny gasses that have no problem getting through the fabric of a cloth mask.”

The point of the mask of course is not to make it tougher to breathe but to limit the spread of the virus if you have contracted COVID-19.

If you will, imagine waking up every morning with the assumption that you’ve already contracted COVID-19. That means keeping your distance from others, washing your hands more regularly and limiting travel to what’s absolutely necessary.

The backlash against masks doesn’t surprise Dr. Aronoff who says we should think back to when seat belts were first made mandatory.

Back in 1968, there were people who felt that having to install a seat belt would create more of a risk than leaving things the way they were.

Today, it’s second nature and even mandatory to not just have the seat belt but to use it.

There’s still a lot of gray area with how mask mandates will be enforced, but Dr. Aronoff says we may be headed in the same direction as the seat belt. With the understanding that masks have shown their effectiveness in limiting the spread of the virus. Whether or not all health care professionals believe in the science to support it.