As COVID-19 cases rise, UChicago physician says: ‘Stop fussing and put your mask on’

As holidays near, UChicago Medicine’s Emily Landon highlights risk of indoor gatherings

Mask-wearing wasn’t widespread in the United States back in March, when many parts of the country first began shutting down to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But as COVID-19 cases rise again, medical experts now agree that face masks are one of the best ways to help protect public health.

“When everyone wears a mask, it’s better for all of us,” Assoc. Prof. Emily Landon of the University of Chicago Medicine said during an Oct. 29 news conference with Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “No matter what you hear, masks are important and masks are safe. Construction workers, health care workers, artists—all kinds of people have been wearing masks for ages without complications.

“So stop your fussing and put your mask on, especially now that the weather is getting colder.”

An infectious diseases expert and hospital epidemiologist, Landon became one of the state’s leading authorities on the spread of COVID-19 in March, when her impassioned speech arguing for the importance of social distancing made national headlines.

In her most recent appearance, she emphasized the importance of continuing to avoid high-risk behaviors—noting that super-spreader events are most often tied to unmasked contact in a crowded, enclosed space.

Even if you don’t feel sick, the risk of infection rises if cases grow in your community. And risky indoor interactions aren’t limited to bars and restaurants—they also include smaller gatherings of families and friends in our homes.

“As our cases go up, our bubble needs to get smaller,” Landon said. “It’s the only way to stop the spread. ... Unfortunately, a Halloween party this weekend could become a super-spreader event. And Thanksgiving could be a prologue to a tragedy for your family. We’ve already had more than enough tragedies already.

“I know you miss your family and your friends, and some days you probably don’t even care if you get COVID. But you do care. We all care.”

—Read a full transcript of Landon’s comments at the University of Chicago Medicine website.