Why this infection expert says wearing a mask is the best way to prevent COVID-19 spread

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website that offers guidance on COVID-19 has changed a little. The page titled "How COVID-19 Spreads" now has the heading "Person-to-person spread" front and center.

More and more experts are saying they agree that transmission between humans is the main way the virus spreads.

"It is very contagious when you are up close to people," said Jessica Dixon, an infection preventions specialist at WakeMed. "If you look, some of the biggest transmission areas are in places where people have to be up close to each other, households, prisons, some of the meat packing plants and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities."

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Dixon said that's even more evidence that wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from those outside our households is the best way to avoid the virus.

"The goal is to keep the things that come out of your nose and mouth up close to your face and not in other people's faces," Dixon said. "And that's really why the recommendation is there now to wear masks."

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The CDC website notes two things Dixon said should really get your attention: there is mounting evidence that people can spread the virus even before they feel sick and they don't have to sneeze or cough to put respiratory droplets in the air.
"There's been a lot of talk about asymptomatic transmission in COVID. And if you're not coughing or sneezing, how do you asymptomatically transmit it? I think part of that is talking," Dixon said.

Talking is now also listed on the CDC website as a possible means of transmission.

However, Dixon said transmission via surfaces is still possible.

She recommended that you should wash your hands thoroughly and often and clean surfaces regularly.

"For surface cleaning, you want to make sure that things that are high-touch objects are disinfected," she said.

She said you can't be too safe because we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19.

What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here

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