(INDIANAPOLIS) – It’s been a century since the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross last called on Hoosiers to “mask-up” to slow the spread of an infectious disease. Given the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout Indiana, the organization is once again asking Hoosiers to wear face coverings when in public places.
“We’ve been supporting the health and safety of Hoosiers for over 105 years, and we’re continuing that tradition by doing our part now to promote evidence-base public health measures such as the wearing of cloth face coverings when in public” said Chad Priest, regional CEO of the American Red Cross–Indiana Region.
The local Red Cross last called on Hoosiers to “mask-up” during the 1918 influenza pandemic. The messaging from 1918, including advertising by the Red Cross, is remarkably similar to the messaging today.
In addition to calling on Hoosiers to wear face coverings when in close proximity with others in public, the Red Cross will:
- Distribute 70,000 face coverings to non-profit organizations created by Red Cross volunteers who answered the organization’s July call on crafters;
- Provide sewing machines and instructions for specific areas in greatest need;
- Develop (and translate into other languages) educational materials explaining the health benefits of face coverings for both online and paper dissemination;
- Continue the organization’s #DoingMyPart campaign launched in May highlighting ways that Hoosiers can help each other through the pandemic.
“Masks are an essential part of slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Priest said. “There is robust scientific evidence that indicates mask wearing reduces viral transmission, especially among those who aren’t exhibiting symptoms but may be carrying the virus.”
For examples of studies regarding the effectiveness of wearing masks, Priest referenced July guidance from the Centers for Disease Control published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and another that discusses case studies showing a decrease in the spread of the virus when cloth masks were worn.