By Alan Gionet


DENVER (CBS4) – Federal health experts are considering the idea of asking all of us to wear masks while we’re out or at work, and many people are already doing that. People across Colorado are already making masks, as the supply is low.

(credit: Meghan Doyle)

But should we be wearing masks? CBS4’s Alan Gionet turned to an expert for some answers, Dr. Michelle Barron, an infectious disease specialist with UCHealth Hospital.

“I have a lot of questions about masks, like a lot of people do,” Gionet told Barron.

“I think if you’re sick, obviously, that’s helpful in that it contains anything that you would potentially be coughing,” Barron responded.

(credit YouTube Video: How to Significantly Slow Coronavirus?)

A viral video out of the Czech Republic called attention to mask wearing as a way to protect yourself as well as other people from spreading the coronavirus. The video states there are fewer cases there. The Czech Republic is about twice Colorado’s population but it has a similar number of positive cases.

“If people are wearing masks do we lose our fear of getting close to one another?” Gionet asked Barron.

“That’s one of the things I worry about a little bit. The other thing that I really worry about is that it gives you a false sense of protection. So you have the mask on, but guess what! Your hands are not protected. And I’m not telling you to wear gloves, because then you’re just adding to the, ‘I’ve touched all this stuff and then my eye itches.’” Barron said while demonstrating how dirty hands can be a problem.

CBS4’s Alan Gionet speaks with Dr. Michelle Barron of UC Health Hospital (credit CBS)

A mask is only as good as it’s fit on the face. Barron says that for it to work it has to cover the nose, make a tight fit around the cheeks, and come up under the chin.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

“And I think, the reality is it’s not so comfortable to wear that fashion for long periods of time,” Barron added.

“And so other than in a health care setting, you’re not wearing a mask around?” Gionet asked.

“No. I go to the grocery store, my one time a week, and I don’t wear a mask. I make sure I have my hand sanitizer, that’s probably what I’m more paranoid about having on me, at all times. And then I just do my best at maintaining social distancing,” Barron said. “You do have to have some degree of time with someone. It’s not like if I passed you in the apple aisle, that suddenly now you and I are both now contaminated with each other. You have to have at least 5 minutes of interaction and in close proximity.”

If you have a Good Question for CBS4’s Alan Gionet, you can e-mail it to goodquestion@cbsdenver.com. He will try to report on as many as he can.

Alan Gionet

Comments (5)
  1. jpgreen33 says:

    Alan Gionet, shame on you for posting this irrational, damaging story.
    Fact: Droplets expelled from the mouth and nose spread the virus.
    Fact: Due to the continued deplorable lack of testing to support early diagnosis, isolation and contact tracing, no one really knows if they are infected.
    Fact: Any physical barrier in front of the face reduces the dispersion of droplets, and thus would reduce the spread of the virus.

    Wearing a physical barrier on the face when out in public, especially when in contact with those courageously serving the public by continuing to work at essential businesses, shows respect for those workers and reduces their chances of getting sick. If we had a more competent federal government, every worker would be wearing an N95 mask on the job.

  2. mildmannered says:

    If you’re going to be making masks, esp for first responders, they ask if you can use buttons instead of elastic. Elastic hurts after a while.
    Thank you.

  3. Marvin Warren says:

    You have to interact with someone for five whole minutes to contract Covid-19? No offense intended here, but that statement is false. The moment you inhale the infectious material i.e. cough spray, sneezes etc. than you will most definitely be infected whether unknowingly or otherwise. Please, unless you have some concrete evidence or a direct quote from one of the individuals handling this pandemic such as Anthony Fauci and or Dr. Birx, than perhaps you should not publicly speak such speculatory nonsense. This would be a false hope and there is already way TOO MUCH false information circulating online and in the media as is. I work in the hotel industry and I too risk my life every day out here risking infection from those who would claim Covid-19 is not such a big deal. However some people may feel about it, the REALITY is people are dying. I know its less than 10 percent of infected but any life lost is a tragedy and these are things to consider when making a statement like that. Sincerely, an American Citizen Marvin Warren.

  4. R. G. says:

    If we could be contagious and not showing signs for up to 14 days, wouldn’t it make sense for all to wear a mask. We could all be spreading the virus and not know it until it is too late. No wonder this virus has spread so fast & far.

    1. Marvin Warren says:

      You are right. We here in the US should take note from Italy and china wherein ALL of there people are either home or masked and they are doing better then we are. Wonder why? Masks actually make an impact in slowing this down. Why aren’t we doing it ? Our government will not enforce it, they simply SUGGEST we do this or that and hence given an option a lot of skeptics choose not to wash there hands, cover there mouths, or even use any type of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment. I see acts of carelessness EVERY DAY. This is what terrifies me is knowing how many wreckless people aren’t being safe and causing this to spread even further and faster with no one to stop it. I think Covid-19 will last a lot longer than just this year or the next. I wish they would make it a crime to act this way but seeing how this has all played out, I am not very optimistic. Be safe, please everyone. This is very serious.

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