SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called on Utahns Friday to “do better” about wearing face masks in public.
While wearing a face covering in public isn’t mandatory in the state, officials have continually asked the public to wear one in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Herbert noted many Utahns have been following the state’s social distancing and face mask guidelines but said in a statement issued Friday that everyone “can still all help one another to do better.”
Science behind the request
Some have questioned the science behind wearing a mask and why it plays such an important part of reopening, Herbert said.
COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets from the nose and mouth, like when someone sneezes or coughs. Some may even spread the disease asymptomatically without knowing they have it.
Wearing a face mask doesn’t necessarily help prevent the wearer from inhaling the droplets. However, it will help slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing droplets from spreading to others.
“During the coming days and months, it will remain critical for everyone to wear masks,” Herbert wrote. “Of course, the habit of wearing a face mask when out in public is not always easy to remember, and all of us are still working to remember to implement these best practices. We hope that all Utahns understand the importance of wearing a mask, and will be diligent in their efforts to wear one.”
COVID-19 cases on the rise
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the state has been on the rise recently, with Utah breaking its record number of new cases reported in a single day multiple times last week.
As of Friday, there were 13,577 total confirmed cases in the state with 988 total hospitalizations and 139 total deaths.
How to get a mask
The state implemented an initiative in April in an effort to make sure everyone has access to a mask.
“A mask for every Utahn” produced 2 million masks to be provided free of charge to Utahns at coronavirus.utah.gov/mask.