Experts say if everyone wears masks we could save 58,000

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the city adds 884 new coronavirus cases to its total count on Monday, patients infected with the virus continue to fill Houston hospitals. But there's one thing doctors want you to consistently keep adding to your daily routine.

"We still have an enormous number of COVID patients citywide," said Dr. Linda Yancey, an infectious disease expert at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Doctors say one thing that can bring cases down is wearing a face mask.

READ MORE: Here's what happens to oxygen levels when you wear a mask

Just over two weeks ago, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask order. Although it can take up to three weeks to see results, things are improving, according to Dr. Yancey.

"We're still seeing more new cases every day, but it looks like we may be heading towards potentially leveling off in the next week or so, which completely fits with the timing. Generally, it's two to three weeks after mitigation, like generalized masking, before you start to see the benefit," Yancey said.

She said the benefits of masking are huge.

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In fact, projections show wearing a mask could save thousands of lives.

"The projections that we're looking at show that nationwide, if everybody wore a mask between now and the 1st of November, we could save 58,000 lives," Yancey said.

She said one of the biggest benefits is that it keeps asymptomatic people from spreading the virus.

"This is the single most important thing anybody can do to protect themselves and their community. It's to wear a mask right now," said Yancey.

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