READING, PA (July 8, 2020) – When we first started to hear reports about COVID-19, we often heard of it referred to as “the novel coronavirus.” Novel means that it is a new, previously unidentified virus. As a result, the public continually received new developments.

There were times when some information had to be adjusted or even retracted. Today, we know so much more than we did in 2019, when the world first began to experience the virus.

One thing that we know today is what we can do individually to reduce transmission of the virus. We know that masks are effective and protect us and the people we encounter. Avoiding large gatherings and practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart are both effective. Washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after touching surfaces, is effective. Using hand sanitizer, when soap and water isn’t available, is effective.

When we do our part and follow those simple guidelines, we are literally helping to save lives.

Issues tend to get politicized, especially during an election year. But the effectiveness of wearing a mask and following health recommendations shouldn’t be subject to politicization during a global health pandemic. Prevention efforts – such as wearing a mask over both the nose and mouth – reduce transmission of COVID-19. Medical and scientific research has reached consensus on that.

We should all do our part to protect ourselves and our community during the pandemic.



Monica Reyes
Health and Human Services Program Officer
Berks County Community Foundation

Science behind masks

Customers and vendors at the Penn Street Market in Reading wear masks.