Dr. Sloan’s Story

After working two days in the Emergency Department and seeing many ill patients, including many with respiratory illnesses and some with likely COVID-19 infection, a thought crossed my mind…

“If the ED patients and providers are wearing masks to prevent infection, why aren’t we all wearing masks in all of the settings in which social separation may be insufficient to slow the spread of COVID-19?” 

“After all, many COVID-19 patients remain asymptomatic while they are able to infect others…and some might remain COVID-19 virus positive as their acute illness resolves.”

“In order to limit the spread of this virus and end this pandemic, doesn’t it make sense to wear a mask universally in all social situations in addition to other safety measures? Hasn’t this approach contributed to limiting COVID-19 spread in some Asian countries?”  

(COVID-19 safety measures include: hand washing, social distancing, cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, don’t touch your eyes, mouth or face, clean and disinfect, self-isolate if you are sick, and wear a facemask if you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick.)

“If we all began to safely and effectively wear masks around the world, might not this help to curb COVID-19 spread and end the global pandemic? And if we all began to wear masks, wouldn’t this destigmatize the use of masks in social settings?”

“And wouldn’t it be a good sign of hope and respect (like the yellow ribbon around the old oak tree) to safely wear a mask at all times?”

“Mask wearing by everyone would be a frequent reminder to pray for all of the people who are keeping us safe, fighting the disease, fighting to get well, who are suffering from social, mental, and economic aspects of the pandemic, and who have lost their lives and family support systems as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Edward P. Sloan, MD

Founder MasksUnited.org

Emergency Medicine Physician
Emergency Department Carle Foundation Hospital
Urbana, IL

Medical Director
Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program
Borra College of Health Sciences
Dominican University
River Forest, IL

Professor Emeritus
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine
Chicago, IL