Photo of the Covid-19 virus under a microscope with the text, "Covid-19 Why it Matters, What's the Best Mask to Wear?"

Video: COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 11: What type of mask should I wear?

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript – COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 11: What type of mask should I wear?:

Hi, Brian Merkel, Microbiology and Immunology UW-Green Bay.

We are continuing our video series on why COVID-19 matters. If you cannot physically separate yourself social distancing sometimes this is referred to as six feet, you are absolutely strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.

They need to cover both the nose and the mouth. That is critically important. Number two, if you are wearing something that you can reuse because it’s made up of cotton… which seems to be a very good material… it’s important that you wash these face coverings daily. Make sure that you have a supply that can accommodate your needs as you go about your business.

Now in terms of material, cotton that is tightly woven that have more than one layer seems to work very well. In terms of protection that is not recommended at this time, we talk about face shields. There are investigation studies being looked at to determine their value. At this time, we do not recommend them. And neck gaiters… studies are being done with those as well. We don’t have enough information about their utility at this time so, we do not recommend neck gators either.

One other category of face coverings that are not recommended, they’re not masks as much as they are respirators. These are N95 respirators, we reserve these for use in medical by medical personnel that have an absolute need because of the risk that they face for using those. Nor do we recommend any kind of face covering that has an exhaust valve. If you are asymptomatic and infectious and don’t know you’re infectious you are releasing that virus. As you could ultimately infect others, we recommend against their use as well.

We recommend face coverings for individuals two years and older, not younger. We do not recommend face coverings for individuals that have trouble breathing. These are conversations you should have with your health care providers to make sure you get the best guidance for your particular situation. All other individuals are strongly recommended to wear face coverings, especially if you cannot social distance when you’re going to be around individuals and there’s less than six feet of separation from you and the next individual and that’s whether it’s outside or inside. Thank you.

COVID-19 Why it Matters: Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from

Part 2: Two main types of viruses

Part 3: Why is this virus serious?

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask?

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care?

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start?

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask?

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year?

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine?

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

Part 11: What type of mask should I wear?



UW-Green Bay hopes to open green spaces and golf courses, July 1

In a statement to the campus community this week, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander said University leaders hope to open the green spaces and golf courses on July 1:

Dear Campus Community,

Over the past several weeks, we have been asked by many members of the internal and external community when we would begin allowing access to the outdoor public spaces on our Green Bay Campus.  Campus leadership has been debating this for some time.  We are often asked why are the trails and arboretum not open when Gov. Evers lifted restrictions on outdoor recreation areas.  The arboretum trails are part of the campus, they are funded by student fees, grants and sponsorships and gifts.  Different than a municipal, county or state park, the trails are not created for the purpose of public recreation.  They are part of the University and serve the mission of providing educational and research opportunities for our students and faculty.  Of course, during normal times the University is happy to have the public and the campus community use these trails for recreation, but these are not normal times.

A number of things will factor into our decisions to open these spaces.  The top priority is the safety of our employees and visitors.  That said, we are anxious to open our trails, natural areas and golf courses to the public.  It is our intention to work toward opening these areas on July 1, but please be aware that our plans may have to be flexible based on conditions on July 1.  Due to recent flooding and rain, large portions of our arboretum trails on the Green Bay Campus are in disrepair.  Our staff is working as quickly as possible to prepare for the safe use of all of these areas in the coming weeks.  We have many staff members on furlough due to COVID-19 and it is slowing our normal progress to prepare the spaces.  We are also closely monitoring the advice of local health experts on when and how to open.

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to opening these spaces as soon as we can do so in a manner that is safe to the public and our faculty, staff, and students.