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Midlands Voices: Coordinated health measures can lessen Nebraska’s virus risk

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Midlands Voices: Coordinated health measures can lessen Nebraska's virus risk

PEXELS.COM Vivekanandan, M.D., is chief of infectious diseases for the Creighton University School of Medicine and CHI Health. Penn, M.D., is medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at Methodist Hospital. Nora, M.D., is medical director of infection prevention/infectious diseases for Bryan Health.

We, along with the directors of infectious diseases from all the major medical systems in across Nebraska and colleagues that include pulmonology and critical care chiefs, have joined together to inform all Nebraska citizens that we are united in our recommendations to limit the spread of this virus. We are at a crucial juncture. We are witnessing rates rise in states all around us, and last week brought the highest one-day totals in Nebraska since May. In a matter of weeks schools are planning to reopen, so we need to act now. To be truly effective we need to work together — not against each other but against this common enemy, SARS-CoV2, if we really want to be victorious in this battle.

Although early in the pandemic the CDC and others did not support the wearing of masks by the public, this was before the extent and ease of transmission, even when individuals are asymptomatic, was known. Months of experience and additional studies have confirmed that masks work. And social distancing works. However, it is the combination of mask-wearing and social distancing together that can truly decrease spread. Neither of these actions alone are as effective as when used jointly. If you add being outdoors, the efficacy jumps even higher.

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Although masks provide protection to the wearer, they are even more effective as source control, that is, in […]

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