BEAUMONT, Texas — In the first few weeks of the pandemic, the CDC didn't recommend face masks. Experts eventually changed that recommendation. One Southeast Texas doctor is happy masks are now required in Jefferson County.
Beaumont doctor Msonthi Levine says we're in this for the long haul.
"When it comes to infections, we're all in this together," Levine said. "The frustrating thing for me as a physician, is that we're making harder than it has to be in our country, quite honestly."
That's why Dr. Levine believes the mask mandate in Jefferson County was necessary.
"From I would say the beginning of May until now, let's be honest, the community wasn't taking it seriously collectively," Levine said.
Getting everyone on the same page is one of the biggest struggle health officials encounter.
"We just get this compliance issue, this resistance from the general public, when really they have to understand that this is one thing that we have to come together and do," Levine said.
The CDC says wear a face covering when you're out in public, especially when social distancing isn't possible. Wearing it correctly makes all the difference.
The CDC says your mask should fully cover your mouth and nose. Make sure there are no gaps on the sides of your face.
Try not to touch the mask too much when you're out and about.
Dr. Levine says think of it as an extra layer of protection.
"The distance, the mask, wash your hands, don't touch your face. All these things work in conjunction, it's not just one or the other, just like everything else," Levine said.
With reopenings across the state, Dr. Levine says now is not the time to let our guard down, and wants us to remember those extra measures are just part of our new norm for a while.
"We all have to buy into it for it to work effectively, and if we're not all into it then expect this pandemic to continue to last in our country," Levine said.
The CDC does recognize that for some people masks may pose a medical or mental health threat. For those people, it's especially important to stay home as much as possible.