UW News

May 18, 2020

Soundbites: UW dean of public health gives advice on where and how (and how not) to wear masks 

UW News


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Beginning May 18, King County is directing residents to wear a face covering when in an indoor or outdoor public space where you may come within 6 feet of someone who does not live with you. The county’s new directive follows CDC recommendations regarding the use of cloth face coverings.

In this video, Hilary Godwin, dean of the UW School of Public Health and professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, offers some practical information about using masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The new directive and CDC guidelines reflect the knowledge that people can have COVID-19 and have no symptoms. Masks are primarily to help protect those around you in the event you have COVID-19 and don’t know it. By covering your nose and mouth, they limit the spread of droplets from coughs and sneezes.

“Walking down the street, you can circumvent people because it’s not too crowded,” Godwin said, “But when you go into the grocery store where you are going to be coming across people in constrained spaces, that’s when you definitely need to be wearing a mask. And if you’re going to a crowded location outside or you can’t avoid coming within 6 feet of people, you’d want to be wearing a face mask there as well.”

For more information on making and wearing masks, visit the state of Washington’s coronavirus response site.

Public information officer Jake Ellison: jbe3@uw.edu or 206-543-1969
Video producer Kiyomi Taguchi: ktaguchi@uw.edu or 206-685-2716