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TRANG CHÍNH Kiến Thức Sức Khỏe LETTER TO CDC - RE: Mask Up To Save Lives!

LETTER TO CDC - RE: Mask Up To Save Lives!

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To: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal agency
March 31, 2020

To whom it may concern,

Upon the urgency to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the community, I wrote an article in an attempt to explain the benefit of wearing face masks if people have to go outside the house. To make this issue more effective, I hope that you will read it and consider to mandate people to wear masks when coming out to public. There are more and more articles from doctors, scientists, researchers writing in favor of wearing masks in public lately. Again, these are masks that can be made at home, so it will not interfere with the shortage of masks for our medical personnels.

If CDC acts quickly on this issues, it is not only to save people's lives, but also to reduce the burden that our medical personnels are facing with the shortage of medical supplies in the U.S right now when the number of patients administered into the hospitals declined. I am including the article in the attachment below.

I strongly hope that you can help our public in this matter. Thank you very much for your consideration and time to read this article.

Sincerely yours,
Dr. Anthony H. Cao

Mask Up To Save Lives!

by Anthony Hung Cao, D.D.S

As the number of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to increase every day according to the reports from the US government agencies such as the CDC, the US government must pass out a resolution to mandate people (note "mandate", not "encourage") to wear face masks if they need to go outside their homes to public places. Being a dentist who has been practicing for more than 20 years and has been wearing protective equipment such as face masks every day to treat patients, I have some background experience to share with you about the importance of face masks.

In the past few weeks, states after states in the U.S. have passed out announcements to encourage people to stay at home with "shelter-in-place" or "stay-at-home" orders. Nevertheless, we know that these solutions are not "forceful" or "mandated" because people are still allowed to go outside to buy groceries or to work at jobs which are deemed "essential". While the number of people leaving their houses may be decreasing, you can just look outside and see how crowded the streets and grocery stores still are. This means that the risks of spreading the infectious disease are still very high as seen by the ever-growing COVID-19 cases.

It is not a coincidence when we look at the statistical number of patients infected by COVID-19 in countries where people have been wearing protective masks such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, or recently Japan where the number of COVID-19 cases has declined compared to previous reports (1). Meanwhile, if we look at the cases from some European countries such as France, Germany, and England or here in the U.S. where the people are not wearing masks, the number of patients with COVID-19 are continuously increasing with each day that passes.


Furthermore, for those currently infected with COVID-19, the use of a face mask will help prevent the spread and transmission of the virus from coughing or sneezing. Following instructions such as using napkins or covering your mouth with an elbow is not as effective compared to wearing a protective face mask. For example, if you happen to walk by a place where someone with COVID-19 just coughed or sneezed a few minutes ago, your chance to be infected would be higher if that person was not wearing a mask. For those who are healthy, the use of proper face masks can be very effective as they can help protect and shield you away from the saliva of those infected with COVID-19 from entering your mouth or nose where the virus can then continue to invade your body and wreak havoc on your lungs.

According to a new study researched by scientists from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel” (2). Imagine if a supermarket employee or a restaurant worker who is unaware of being infected with the virus (as it may take weeks to develop symptoms), and if they cough or sneeze, the virus can latch on to whatever the consumer can touch later. From the food-to-go packaging to groceries, everything is a potential place for the virus to occupy. However, if everyone wears face masks, the chance of transferring the virus from those carrying the disease will be significantly less, and the ultimate spread of COVID-19 will be significantly reduced.

Now the question is why are European and American people not wearing face masks? It has been a surprise for some people, especially those who are from Asian countries when they see Europeans or Americans continue to ignore wearing masks in public. According to some articles, it could be a matter of a difference in cultural customs. Europeans or Americans may have the mentality that wearing a face mask is only reserved for sick people, and by not wearing a mask it proves to others that they are healthy (3). With the increasing spread of COVID-19 cases, I hope everyone stops the negative correlation of wearing face masks to only sick people. One of the most effective ways can be resolved with a mandate that people must wear face masks if they have to go outside their house to public places. When everyone starts wearing masks, there will likely be no more discrimination for those who wears masks in public.

Office workers wearing masks carry take-out lunch orders while walking towards in Admiralty, Hong Kong, on Mar. 2, 2020.

Office workers wearing masks carry take-out lunch orders while walking towards in Admiralty, Hong Kong, on Mar. 2, 2020.

Paul Yeung—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Remember, COVID-19 will knock on everyone's doors, regardless of your ethnicity, gender or age. If the coronavirus can be transmitted through human saliva, the use of a protective face mask is crucial to protect and save your life and others by preventing the spread of the infectious disease. Wearing a protective face mask will give us our best chance not to be infected in this current situation.

As a result of the present shortage of face masks, I already shared some information and YouTube links with instructions on how to make a face mask at home with 100% cotton fabric material or simple materials that anyone can buy from any fabric stores (4). Of course, these homemade masks will not be as effective as the ones that the doctors and nurses, especially regarding those who are treating patients with COVID-19 right now, however, wearing a face mask will help significantly with preventing the spread of coronavirus infection.

It is still better to wear any type of face mask than no mask at all.

Perhaps you have heard the warning from some doctors that wearing face masks in a wrong way can cause more harm than good. I disagree with this opinion because wearing masks is a simple thing that even young kids can do with instructions from adults. The benefit of wearing a face mask is far more than any risk that a face mask could cause.

If you are really concerned about your own health, about your loved ones and for everyone else in the current emergency state of increasing spread of coronavirus, I strongly urge you to "mask up" and share this article to your friends and loved ones. If you know any state or federal elected officials in your area, please call or send an email to them to explain and convince them to pass a resolution to mandate people to wear face masks to go to public places. Most importantly, please wear masks when you go outside.

Hopefully, the number of COVID-19 cases as well as the number of deaths correlated to the virus will significantly decrease when people start wearing masks. It is also a way to reduce the burden that our doctors and medical personnels are facing with the shortage of medical supplies due to the overwhelming number of patients administered to hospitals with every passing hour.

Mask up to save lives!

Dr. Anthony H. Cao, D.D.S. (Cao Minh Hung)

1. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research

2. New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces…/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-…

3. Why Wearing a Face Mask Is Encouraged in Asia, but Shunned in the U.S.

4. Joann - Information about mask and how to make it at home

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