Boston, MA. June 17, 2020 Offered at fifty statewide sites June 17 and 18th, Massachusetts Public Health officials along with hospitals across the Commonwealth opened and have publicized free COVID-19 testing to any person who has participated in the recent mass demonstrations, which have attracted many out of school young participants, and idled workers frustrated by having to comply with months-long, stay-at-home virus prevention regulations.
Using social media platforms such as Twitter, the colorful, multi-lingual advertisements have been posted for several weeks. “The Commonwealth is urging anyone who has attended a large gathering in the past two weeks to get tested for COVID-19…Some people do not have symptoms but may have the virus and could spread the virus to others. If you participated in a large gathering, you should get tested,” is the message of the ad campaign, in which hospitals, public health departments and community health organizations are collaborating.
Not included in this particular ad, but prominently displayed in conjunction with other virus prevention messages are warnings that discourage the use of face masks with valves. This particular face covering is widely popular because it permits air to escape providing ventilation to the wearer. However, along with escape of the wearer’s expelled air ” the valve allows droplets to escape that can potentially infect others. [emphasis in original] The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily by person-to-person contact via droplets. Exposure to these droplets can occur when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and those droplets land in the eyes, nose, mouth or lungs of people nearby. The valve allows the release of droplets, making it ineffective at its primary purpose – slowing the transmission of the virus,” warn health department advertisements.
Such valved face coverings are banned from being worn in the hospital setting by patients, visitors and hospital staff. Warnings to this effect are posted in hospitals, housing projects, restaurants, hospitals, on buses and at MBTA sites to discourage use of face masks with valves.