BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As coronavirus cases surge across the country, state leaders are begging people to take one simple step that could turn things around: wear a mask.

Across the U.S., the map is dotted with record-setting coronavirus cases: 136,000 new infections were recorded in just one day.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with new research that found that not only do masks protect the wearer but also the people around them.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins, said everyone needs to wear a mask because people who have COVID-19 and don’t know it could be spreading it.

“This is about protecting each other, caring for each other, protecting the vulnerable people out there,” Beyrer said.

A sign at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore encourages Marylanders to “Wear the damn masks,” which Gov. Larry Hogan said during a COVID-19 news conference on November 6, 2020. WJZ file photo.

“Please wear a mask, a damn mask, if you have one,” Dr. Ted Deldridge, of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services and Systems, said Tuesday, referencing a comment Gov. Larry Hogan made during a news conference last week in which the governor urged people to”just wear a damn mask.”

Hogan and others have seized on that message, with the Senator Theatre in Baltimore riffing on his quip on its message board.

But masking up has become a hot button issue.

Over the weekend in Anne Arundel County, a manager at a local Cold Stone Creamery said a customer attacked her and an employee when she asked them to put on a mask.

She said they were left with broken bones.

“I got punched in the face and that’s all I really remember,” Nathia Davis said. “It was like a daze.”

READ MORE: Search Continues For Suspects Accused Of Assaulting Cold Stone Creamery Employees After Refusing To Wear Masks

Experts believe about 40% of COVID patients show no symptoms, but if everyone wears a mask, that number doubles to 80% percent.

Milder cases of the virus would mean fewer people are dying.

“We’re just not there yet, so we need to do the mask-wearing,” Beyrer said. “We need to do the social distancing, we need to keep the handwashing going.”

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett

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