BREAKING NEWS:

Atlanta to mandate face masks to contain coronavirus.

On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Chance of T-storms
H 86° L 70°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Chance of T-storms. H 86° L 70°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    86°
    Today
    Chance of T-storms. H 86° L 70°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    88°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of T-storms. H 88° L 72°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Simply wearing a mask could mean thousands of fewer deaths in Georgia, researcher says

Channel 2 Action News went through the numbers put together by medical experts from the University of Washington which showed in the short term, from right now through Aug. 1, less people will die if 95 percent of people wore masks.

Instead of a daily death toll averaging 550 deaths a day by Aug. 1, masks would bring that number down to 225 deaths a day -- that's half the number of people dying.

[Deaths from COVID-19 in Georgia could hit 10K by October]

Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez took a deeper look at this study and focused on Georgia with doctor Ali Mokdad from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHM, the group that has been releasing studies that have gotten lots of attention. 

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp issued a new executive order extending the state’s public health emergency over COVID-19.

The Georgia Department of Public Health updates its website every day at 3 p.m.

Here’s our conversation with Dr. Mokdad:

Estevez: There is a significant drop in deaths, Dr. Mokdad, if people wear a mask. Let’s talk about the numbers that you found.

Dr. Mokdad: So, if 95 percent of Americans wear a mask when they go out, we will see a reduction of 33,000 deaths between now and Oct. 1. And in Georgia, that’s about 3,400 in the reductions in mortality.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

Estevez: Let’s talk about, first of all before we get to Georgia, how did you find this study to be, what did you use to come up with 33,000 less deaths?

Dr. Mokdad: So, we have reviewed all the literature and all the studies about the protective effect of masks, and we have a 34 percent reduction in transmission, which is the lowest one from using a cloth mask. Any mask will work if you cover your mouth and nose.

Estevez: Let’s deviate to that before we even get to Georgia, because that is fascinating. You and I were talking offline here, we’re not talking the big N-95 masks, that increases it even more? We’re talking just a simple face covering.

Dr. Mokdad: Exactly. That’s a simple face cover that you cover your face and nose when you go out. And not a N-95.

Estevez: N-95′s save how many more lives?

Dr. Mokdad: It goes to 50 percent in reduction of transmission of the virus. Now we are at 34 precent with a cloth mask.

Estevez: Georgia, there’s a savings of a few thousand lives. Explain that.

Dr. Mokdad: In Georgia, we see about 2,400 life savings. That’s a function of the people in Georgia. We don’t see a high use of the masks in Georgia. Come on Georgia, you can do better, please help us to control this virus.

Read More

News

  • We know staying home has been the main way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but which activities are safe and which are the riskiest? Can you still run to the store, have a barbecue or attend a celebration? Doctors with the Texas Medical Association have developed a chart that ranks the risks involved in various outings. The lowest risk according to the medical professionals is opening the mail. The highest risk -- going to a bar. The group said the rankings were compiled by experts from the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force and the group’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, with the assumption that people who are participating are wearing a mask. Fourteen doctors were on the committee that made the list, KTVT reported. It was developed to help put the information that was available into one easy-to-understand presentation, KEYE reported. “People will have to decide what risk they think is reasonable for themselves and their families to take in order to live life,” Dr. Erica Swegler, a member of the taskforce, told KEYE. While the chart may be handy to gauge risk, the medical association said the best thing to do is, “stay home if possible, wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance when they have to go out, and practice safe hand hygiene,” KXAN reported.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are bucking the trend of considering a name change. The NFL’s Redskins and the MLB’s Indians have both announced that they will consider changing the teams’ names and logos to something more culturally appropriate. But the Blackhawks will not. The name and image of a Native American warrior will be staying but the team’s officials said they will be “raising the bar even higher” to raise awareness of Native American culture. “The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in a statement according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Team officials said they have worked with Native American groups “by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue.” While the team won’t be changing its name, it does not discount the decisions of other professional sports teams to reevaluate their names and logos, The Associated Press reported. “We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation,” the team said. The hockey team honors Native Americans with pregame and intermission events, the Sun-Times reported. But there have been some Native American groups that have said the name and logo continue racist stereotypes. The Blackhawks, known as the Black Hawks, joined the NHL in March 1926 and was named by the owner Frederic McLaughlin after the unit he served with in World War I – the Blackhawk Division of the 86th Infantry, WMAQ reported. The NHL season has been suspended due to coronavirus, but training camps are set to start July 13 with games resuming Aug. 1, the NHL announced Monday.
  • A Texas boy is recovering after he was struck by gunfire twice in two separate drive-by shootings that happened just days apart. According to WOAI-TV, the shootings occurred late Saturday and early Tuesday at the same home on West Viola Avenue in Yakima, authorities said. In the first shooting, an 11-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, Yakima police said in a news release. In the second, the same boy was shot in the leg once, while his 9-year-old sister was shot in the leg twice, according to the release. The children were taken to a nearby hospital and released after receiving treatment, authorities said. In a statement, Yakima police Chief Matt Murray called the incidents 'heart-wrenching and alarming.' “The Police Department’s top priority is the reduction of violent crime – and these incidents are a glaring example of why,” Murray said. “But this is a community issue, and we need the community’s help to solve it and prevent further violence.” Authorities have not announced any arrests in the case. If you have information about the shootings, you can submit a tip anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-248-9980. Read more here or here.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp has asked the federal government to send more resources to expand COVID-19 testing in Gwinnett County and to renew funds needed to keep the National Guard staffing testing sites around the state. Kemp on Tuesday asked for help getting personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for the state’s first responders and essential workers and an extension in funding for the Georgia National Guard, which has been performing COVID-19 testing and sanitizing long-term care homes during the pandemic. In addition to sustaining the ongoing federal coronavirus assistance, Kemp is seeking additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to increase Gwinnett’s testing infrastructure, a spokesman said. Gwinnett has seen a surge in positive COVID-19 tests since mid-May, with 9,666 total as of July 6, according to the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. Members of a federal COVID-19 response team visited Gwinnett County last week and are expected to compile a report detailing how spread could be further prevented. That report will be given to local health officials. >>Read MORE on AJC.com.
  • A driver died Wednesday morning after a fiery crash on a major interstate in Gwinnett County.  The wreck, which involved a truck and an SUV, happened about 1:30 a.m. on I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera.  The truck caught fire after the crash, and the driver had to be freed from the vehicle, she said.  A Gwinnett police officer was injured during the rescue effort, according to Pihera. The officer was checked out at a hospital and released.  One driver died on the way to a hospital, Pihera said. It is not clear which vehicle that person was driving.  No details were released about the second driver’s condition. — Return HERE for updates from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • About a dozen American flags lined up along Highland Avenue in Needham, Massachusetts, were burned Sunday night, according to police. A dozen more flags set on the lawn near the Exchange Club were found destroyed, as well. According to Boston's WFXT, the flags have been replaced, but the ashes are still scattered along the grass. Longtime Needham resident Kate Robey takes it upon herself to display the flags on Highland Avenue during patriotic holidays. “I think everyone appreciates it. I get honks and the waves and the thank-yous,” Robey said. But this Fourth of July, the flags were vandalized. “Dedicated people put those out and to just burn them, nonchalantly, it’s hurtful,” said Robey. Robey has been working with the Needham VFW for years and has displayed these flags in the same parts of town for almost a decade now. She’s left confused and wondering why someone would vandalize her tribute to the men and women serving the country. “As I do the flags, I think of the veterans, fallen brave and the military out there fighting for our freedom now,” Robey said. Robey said about a dozen were burned by Memorial Park and a dozen more burned outside the Needham Exchange Club, where 500 flags were displayed in lieu of a scaled-back Fourth of July celebration. “I don’t mind what you do at your home with your flags, but these flags are my flags, and it’s vandalism,” Robey said. Police said they are investigating the matter.