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Smile behind that mask


I live and practice in Georgia (although I can see South Carolina from the back door of my practice). Like many healthcare facilities, masks and temperature checks (why didn’t I invent the forehead thermometer?) are mandatory for those who enter the building. I bought a bunch of masks and am giving one to anyone who doesn’t have one. We have given out about 2 dozen thus far, and, thankfully I have gotten pushback from only 1 patient.

Related: NIH launches clinical trials network: COVID-19 vaccine underway

Our mayor in Augusta issued an order mandating the wearing of masks while out in public. However, current state law says that a local government cannot mandate anything that goes above and beyond state orders. On a state level, we are not mandated to wear masks in public, although our governor strongly encourages it. Just like in many other areas, there are varying opinions on whether or not one should wear a mask.

I am a staunch proponent of masks to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. I wear one of a few N95s when I’m in clinic. When I’m out in public, I wear a cloth mask. Do I like my mask? No. In fact, I hate it. It makes my whole body sweat. Oh, and did I mention it gets a little hot in Augusta in the summer even without a global pandemic? I do hate my mask, but I would hate getting COVID-19 even more, and I would hate being an asymptomatic carrier and giving the virus to someone else even more than getting it. Are masks and social distancing perfect? Of course not. Are they a sensible approach for getting a handle on a virus which has killed many, affected many for life, and wreaked havoc on our economy, our educational system, and our general welfare? Of course.

Related: 5 common ocular problems seen during the pandemic

I’m urging all Americans to please mask up in an effort to beat COVID-19. This is one of a handful of times in the history of our nation that we have needed everyone on the same page. None of us wants this to go on for a longer period of time.

In the meantime, for all you ODs out there, when you greet your patients try to smile so big that they can see it in your eyes. As you can see, I’m still working on mine.

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