This is why masks work even better than you thought

This is why masks work even better than you thought

It’s been clear for months that masks are a critical tool in stopping the spread of coronavirus because they keep you from spreading the virus to other people.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control reports that wearing a mask also protects the person wearing it.

In some ways, the basic guidance on masks hasn’t changed, Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention at Advocate Aurora Health, told ABC-7 Chicago on Thursday.

You should wear a mask because it slows the spread of COVID-19.

The difference is that scientists now know you get some benefit yourself, aside from protecting others.

“This is like gravy,” Dr. Citronberg said. “Not only are you protecting others from you, you can also achieve some benefit yourself by wearing a mask.”

Some masks are better than others, he said. Thicker, multi-layered masks that fit well work best.

The news comes as the number of COVID-19 cases continues a troubling and unrelenting rise in both Illinois and Wisconsin, with both states setting daily records for cases every day and hospitals becoming increasingly stressed.

Masks are a critical tool to stop the virus. But you also need to keep your distance from others and wash your hands regularly. The more people in the community that have active cases of COVID-19, the more likely it is you’ll catch the virus when you’re out and about.

“Everything you do, every contact that you have with a person who doesn’t live in your household is a risk,” Dr. Citronberg said.

Not sure if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms? Use our symptom checker to check your symptoms and find the care you need.

Related Posts



  1. Why does the picture show a person wearing gloves? The CDC does not recommend a person wearing gloves while out running errands. This picture sends the wrong message.

  2. The article doesn”t specifically explain how wearing a mask benefits the wearer. Is it Covid-19 related or something else?

    • Martín Anderson November 17, 2020 at 2:54 pm · Reply

      I agree José. The article needs to share specific information on how the mask also protects the person wearing it.

      However I do appreciate any piece from medical professionals that advocate for the wearing of masks.

  3. What I find just amazing is our societies’ rapid technological developments in masks. I mean the mask mentioned above that we’re wearing today (everything expect an N95 in the hands a trained healthcare worker) are obviously not the same ones that mere months ago only just slightly helped reduced transmission of the virus, or the same ones that mere months before that (almost a year I guess now) that most medical experts in the US would have told you provide no benefit to the wearer or those around the wearer in preventing any respiratory virus transmission. It seems in these 9 months more scientific study and advancement has been made in the wearing of fabric materials over ones face, then all the previous decades of infectious disease and control literature had to offer. Not only do masks work, they work beyond literally anyone’s possible imagination. Just imagine if this research had been done during normal times or during troubling flu epidemics. I assume we were just needlessly killing tens of thousands of our seniors and at risk populations every year by holding back on this vital corner stone of medical research and technology. I, for one, will boldly say masks are not enough. Why haven’t we made greater strides in helmet technology!? We could surely protect ourselves better from this virus and just everyday accidents if we all wore completely enclosed helmets. They’d have hepa filters, and defoggers, and shaded visors to protect transmission through the eyes. And surely helmets are more comfortable than masks or visors combined. And just think of all the reduced head injuries! Until the medical professional community comes out in support of full mandated helmet wearing for all Americans then no one can say we are saving as many lives as we could be saving. Call your representatives and tell them you support helmet mandates!

About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.