Fewer people wearing masks in public despite dogged virus threat


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Coronavirus continues to spread across the state and country. Even though Indiana is reopening, health officials are still recommending residents wear a face mask or face covering while out in public.

However, a trip to Promenade Park found few people were wearing a mask. If a person was wearing a mask, it was not properly covering their face. Even less were social distancing and staying 6 feet apart from others.

“It worries me,” Fort Wayne resident Mark Thomas said. “Especially for high risk people like me.”

But it’s not just the masks residents like Thomas are worried about. Though there are signs throughout the park to social distance, people are not staying 6 feet apart.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Jason Row of Parkview Regional reminded residents that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

“We really want to reestablish a since of normalcy,” Dr. Row said. “But maybe we are not being as diligent as we could and should with about masking, distancing and hand hygiene.”

Row says Parkview has seen a rise in COVID-19 hospitalization. In the past three weeks, Parkview has seen twice the number of patients hospitalized with the virus everyday, much higher than back in March and April.

The spike correlates with the state’s reopening, which has lead to less and less social distancing, less people wearing masks and poor hand hygiene. Two misconceptions that Row said he commonly hears is, ‘I don’t need to wear a mask because I’m low risk, I’m not over 65 years old,’ and the other is people saying, ‘I’m not afraid of the virus, bring it on, I’m not going to wear a mask.’

“The message I want to drive home is that when I wear a mask or face covering, this is not to protect me,” Dr. Row said. “I wear a mask to protect you. We know the virus is spread mainly through respiratory droplets when I speak, sing, cough, sneeze. If I’m wearing a mask, that helps to contain those respiratory droplets, which may contain virus particulars.”

Face mask are optional, according to the state’s Back on Track Indiana reopening plan. Health officials including Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box highly recommend residents wear masks in public, though.

Some counties like LaGrange have now required residents to wear face mask in public due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Are you still wearing a mask when your out in public or have you stopped? WANE 15 wants to hear from you. Take the poll below.

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