MARSHALL (KMHL) – The battle against COVID-19 is not over. That was the message yesterday from Avera Marshall Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Meister.

He says with schools starting to re-open and people getting back out and about, the need to wear masks now is very important.

“It doesn’t cure the virus, but it stops and mitigates the spread,” said Meister. “Instead of coughing and spraying the virus out 35 feet, your talking, you cough, you cover the cough, it’s going to catch in that mask. So mask wear is important.”

Meister anticipates that people will need to wear the face coverings for the foreseeable future and he compares wearing the mask to wearing a seat belt in a car.

“It mitigates the risk, [a seat belt] dramatically decreases the risk of dying in a car accident,” said Meister. “Everything in life is risk over benefit, and the benefits of wearing a mask at this point in time, believe it or not, outweigh the risks of wearing a mask.”

He points to CDC guidance and says evidence is showing the masks are effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.