Importance and real purpose of wearing masks in public

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton on the importance of wearing masks.
2:02 | 06/27/20

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Transcript for Importance and real purpose of wearing masks in public
and medicine. So many questions on that front this morning so let's bring in our chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton. Jen, good morning. Let's just start with the fact that there are as we've been reporting some places with rising numbers. They're imposing mask orders like Philadelphia. Meanwhile the governors of Texas and Florida are leaving it up to individuals. Let's get to the bottom line, though. Remind us of what the real purpose of wearing a mask is in public. Well, remember, Dan, this has evolved over the pandemic over the last several months. The purpose, to be crystal clear, is to block the emission of potentially viral particles when we breathe, when we talk, when we laugh, when we sing. Those particles can travel over 20 feet and people can be infected and not know it. So it is mainly for the protection of those around us, although there is a growing body of data that suggests that it may be beneficial for the person wearing it as well, although that is not definitive yet. What about the argument that we're hearing from some people that if there's enough testing going on, we don't need to wear a mask. Dan, I think the analogy there is that's like saying because we have pregnancy tests we don't need birth control. They're completely different. One is a test, it's for diagnosis which is really important in the containment strategy of this virus and this pandemic, and one is potentially for prevention and to slow the spread. No test is 100% accurate. But it is a critical part of containing this virus. So just to put a fine point on this, as a medical professional, should we be wearing masks in public, yes or no? Absolutely, Dan. We heard that Dr. Fauci implored everyone, it is our individual responsibility, it's our societal responsibility and basically he says you can be part of the problem or we can be part of the solution. Okay, let's wear our masks, everybody. Dr. Jen, thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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