With the number of coronavirus cases soaring, health care workers are teaming up and begging people to wear face masks.
Sharp, Scripps, UCSD and Kaiser Permanente have partnered with 100 health centers to get out their message. It’s a simple message paired with powerful images.
“I have seen in my own eyes how people have struggled," said Dr. Hai Shao of Sharp Chula Vista.
Shao, an infectious-disease specialist, has taken care of hundreds of COVID-19 patients.
"Sometimes multiple family members struggle in the ICU, and eventually, multiple family members die,” Shao said. "We had a husband and a wife die on the same day.”
Since the start of the pandemic, 952 San Diegans have lost their lives to COVID-19. Many of those deaths, Shao said, could have been prevented by taking the necessary precautions.
“Science does not lie,” Shao said. “We have facts. From the get-go, we have facts -- not just about COVID but other respiratory viruses -- that prove that wearing a mask significantly decreases the transmission of the virus.”
According to Shao, wearing a mask and socially distancing will reduce 98.5% of transmission risk.
While there are many people who choose not to wear a mask, Shao said that in San Diego, he's seeing an increase of people abiding by the rules.
And for those who continue to not wear a mask, Shao had a grim warning for you.
“You may get away this time without hurting people, but if you do it enough, chances are there will be people hurt, including yourself,” Shao said.
Shao also said that masks are only effective when they are worn correctly, meaning that they fully cover the nose and mouth.