In a significant development, the CDC reports wearing a mask can prevent you from getting COVID-19.

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For months the CDC has stated wearing a mask avoids people spreading COVID-19 to others. This week, the CDC announced studies show wearing a mask also protects the person wearing a face covering from contracting the virus from others. That means the CDC now believes wearing a mask prevents both outgoing and incoming transmission.

"The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer. The relationship between source control and personal protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use," the CDC stated in new guidance.

This news is important because COVID-19 numbers are surging in New York and the Hudson Valley. On Thursday, Hudson Valley Post reported the region is recording COVID-19 numbers not seen since the spring. On Wednesday, New York State recorded the most COVID-19 infections in one day since April. Hospitalizations in the state are up 300 percent in just over two months.

"Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions.1,2 Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer," the CDC added. "The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly."

On Thursday, the Ulster County Executive announced this a "make or break moment" for Hudson Valley as the second wave of COVID-19 has arrived. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan urged residents to adhere to health precautions like social distancing and wearing a mask.

"Multi-layer cloth masks block release of exhaled respiratory particles into the environment, along with the microorganisms these particles carry. Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles. Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured. Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets, with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control," the CDC stated.

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