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Health expert weighs in on discussion about wearing a face mask

Professor Fritz Allhoff of Western Michigan University discusses wearing a face mask.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The debate over wearing face masks continues across the nation and here in West Michigan.

The discussion has intensified in the past couple weeks but experts like Professor Fritz Allhoff believes the focus should remain on public health. Allhoff is a professor in the Department of Philosophy and a Community Professor in the Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine’s program in Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law at Western Michigan University. 

"The disease is spread through respiratory droplets and having a mask on is going to block the transmission of any virus you might carry. And it will also block the absorption of virus that others around you might have," says Allhoff.

Experts recommend keeping the mask on in urban areas like downtown Grand Rapids but they say in other parts of West Michigan like more rural areas wearing a mask is not always necessary.

"In certain counties within Michigan, there have been very few confirmed cases in more rural communities where there is more social distancing and people live on larger lots as opposed to apartment buildings. And so within those communities there is more general push back," says Allhoff.

Allhoff also says there is a political divide on the issue between conservatives and liberals but his greatest concern is the upcoming summer months.

"People are in a hurry to get outside and see their friends, they want to go to the beach and so I'm just worried people are going to make decisions based on boredom," says Allhoff.

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