Show you care—#MaskUp

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Let’s keep it up—let’s all #MaskUp. 
 
This is the slogan of a new campaign The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is participating in, along with hundreds of top hospitals and health care systems nationwide. This campaign is so much more than a catchy phrase—it’s about saving lives and helping slow the spread of COVID-19. The reality is that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the country, and right now one of our best lines of defense is to have every American wear a mask. 
 
Yes, hope is on the horizon with the news that COVID vaccines currently in development are showing promising results, but we’re not there yet. The sheer number of infections and deaths in the United States is downright frightening. We recently added 1 million new cases in a single week, and the number of deaths is over a quarter of a million. 
 
As a nation, we’ve got to change the dangerous course we’re on before it’s too late. We’re already seeing pockets of the country where health care facilities are overwhelmed by shortages of healthy caregivers, just as we did at the beginning of the pandemic so many months ago. Meanwhile, the COVID-positive patients keep streaming into our hospitals seeking medical help. As always, we’re there for them, and now we’re asking the public to be there for us. 

Learn more about The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s collaboration with the nation’s top hospitals for all Americans to #MaskUp at EveryMaskUp.com

Our ask is simple but powerful—wear a mask. That means when you dart into a convenience store, pop over to chat to a neighbor or walk around your workplace. Stay 6 feet apart, limit unnecessary in-person interactions and wash your hands at least 20 seconds. While there’s still much to learn about this nasty virus, the science shows these measures are effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19. 
 
The next few months are going to be crucial as colder temperatures and holiday celebrations force more people indoors. We’re all weary of this pandemic but now is not the time to let our guard down. Now is the time to show you care by wearing a mask. The science is there—recent studies show facemasks successfully limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Facemasks protect you from inhaling harmful pathogens and particulates as well as prevent exposure of those around you. 
 
Lead by example and #MaskUp today. The lives of so many Americans rely on this unified effort. 
 
Iahn Gonsenhauser is the chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor in the Ohio State College of Medicine.