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Coronavirus

Fake face mask ‘exemption cards’ spreading on Facebook

There are many measures that you can take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Frequent handwashing, social distancing, and coughing into your elbow can all prevent transmission of the virus, and these steps are easy enough for anyone to take part in without too much effort.

But out of all the measures individuals can take, wearing a face mask is among the most effective. According to a study from the Colorado School of Public Health, even a simple cloth mask can reduce risks by 30-50%. Tap or click here to see how to make your own maks.

Despite how many people are choosing to wear masks, there remains some skepticism in parts of social media. And on Facebook, a set of “mask exemption cards” have begun to circulate that claim to excuse the cardholder from complying with local mask regulations. But as it turns out, these cards aren’t all they claim to be.

Mask exemption cards: Are these for real?

According to a bulletin posted by the Department of Justice, a set of “mask exemption” cards circulating on social media will not, in fact, prevent you from having to comply with local mask ordinances.

These fully-laminated cards, which include a citation from the Americans with Disabilities Act, do not offer any legal protection for those attempting to use them to bypass regulations. In fact, the DOJ is going as far as to call the cards “fraudulent,” and point out that some even bear an official DOJ seal without authorization to do so.

The cards in question are not associated with any specific legal or health body, and in fact, come from a public Facebook group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency. In its own description, the group claims its mission is to prevent face mask orders “from spreading nationwide and globally.”

The DOJ emphasizes that the Freedom to Breathe Agency is “not a government agency,” and notes that the group is responsible for misappropriating information and symbols. The Facebook group has made several false claims in the past, including that mask-wearing can limit oxygen to the wearer, which is not scientifically accurate.

Tap or click here to see the facts behind several other popular COVID-19 rumors and myths.

If these cards don’t actually work, what should I actually do in regards to mask-wearing?

Despite the debate online, there is hard scientific evidence for the effectiveness of masks in epidemic situations. In fact, mask-wearing is often cited as a reason for the slowdown of the initial SARS virus outbreak in Asia during 2002.

Since then, community mask-wearing is still commonplace in Asian countries during cold and flu seasons, where it’s seen as a way to protect others from illness. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the practice has returned in a major way.

As for whether it’s truly effective in slowing the spread, signs point to a resounding “yes.” Tap or click here to see Kim’s thoughts on why you should wear a mask for your health and the health of your loved ones.

The next time you go out for essential business, keep a mask handy. Not only will you be doing a service for yourself, but you’ll also be giving peace of mind to others around you who may be anxious going out in public.

And if you’d prefer not to wear a mask at all, there’s always this much easier option: Staying home and flattening the curve of infection. Tap or click here to see the best ways to clean and sanitize your online orders.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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