BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The City of Birmingham has extended its face covering ordinance, but is it actually working to help stop the spread of COVID-19?
Chasity Maxie spoke with Jefferson County’s top doc Tuesday afternoon, and he said while there’s no tangible evidence just yet to support the claim that face masks are working, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council voted to extend an ordinance requiring people to wear face coverings through July 3rd.
The measure, which was approved by a 7 to 1 vote, aims to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
It’s the third time the ordinance has been extended since it was initially approved May 1st, but is it really helping?
“I think it’s going to be hard to definitively prove whether or not a face mask ordinance has made a difference, but again, I think it’s very important for us to err on the side of caution and do what we reasonably can to avoid the spread of disease,” said Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Mark Wilson.
The Alabama Department of Public Health reports more than 2,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County, and over 100 confirmed deaths as a result of the virus, the third highest in the state.
Dr. Wilson said we all need to do our part to help stop that spread, so wearing a face covering shouldn’t be thought of as an inconvenience.
“You know, there’s very little harm in wearing face masks. There’s a lot of harm in getting COVID-19 and ending up in the hospital or dying,” Dr. Wilson explained.
Dr. Wilson said part of the problem with COVID-19 is that we’re learning new information about it with each passing day.
He said wearing a face covering is a prudent action, and the CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson agrees.
“Now that people are going out in public, I have a greater responsibility to wear a mask. I have a greater responsibility to make sure that there’s 6 feet of distance. I have a greater responsibility to wash my hands because now it’s on me to control the epidemic. The state’s taken their action now it is up to me to minimize my risk of getting infected and certainly to prevent spreading it to other people,” Dr. Williamson said.