Well being consultants stress significance of masks to forestall extra COVID-19 mutations

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – With masks becoming our new normal for the time being, health experts say wearing masks can have a huge impact on whether we see more variations.

The new mask mandate requires face coverings for everyone in Clark County while indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Local doctors say wearing one is extremely important right now, maybe more than ever.

They say the measure will help prevent further mutations of COVID-19 that could cause some serious problems.

“By wearing masks, we will prevent the transmission of viruses between people,” said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, Dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.

Kahn says the more time a virus spends in a population, the more mutations, like the highly transmissible Delta variant, are likely to occur.

But masks can also help for fully vaccinated people.

Dr. Marc J. Kahn, Dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV

“To get to the point where this virus is not so widespread in our community, we have to reduce the amount of the virus,” explained Kahn, “and we all have to wear masks to do that.”

However, if everyone doesn’t adhere to the mask requirement and stop getting vaccinated, Kahn worries about how effective our current vaccines will be.

“We worry that we might get mutations that are resistant to vaccines,” said Kahn.

So how long until then?

Dr. Manas Mandal of the College of Pharmacy at Roseman University of Health Sciences says some research suggests this could be relatively soon.

Dr. Manas Mandal, College of Pharmacy at Roseman University of Health Science

“There is a calculation that shows that it may be three to six months at the current pace,” revealed Mandal.

But there is some promising news.

“Pfizer and Moderna are already in the process of conducting clinical research and developing a variant-specific vaccine formulation,” Mandal told 8 News Now.

To avoid this situation completely, there are two simple steps you can take, according to health experts.

“It is crucial to wear a mask,” emphasized Mandal.

Kahn adds: “Get vaccinated to help others.”

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