UNC Health pleads public to mask up with new campaign initiative

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – UNC Health is one of 100 major health systems pleading with the public to mask up.

The Mask Up campaign is putting out full-page ads and messages on social media for everyone to wear a mask, and wear one correctly.

“This is a problem and we all need to work together. We need to make sure that were all holding each other accountable,” said Dr. Linda Butler, UNC Rex’s chief medical officer.

The cry for masking comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state hit record highs.

On Thursday, hospitalizations rose again with 1,538 hospital beds taken up by COVID-19 patients. It made for the fourth straight day of either matched or record in hospitalizations for North Carolina.

“If you feel like you don’t need it to protect yourself, do it to protect your loved one. I think it takes time to change behavior,” said Butler.

According to UNC Health, a public service message will run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times pleading with the public to understand science has not changed and masking works.

The message reads:

“As the top nationally-ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”

Mask Up Campaign

The reminder is going out to health care professionals too. Many are fatigued and may be planning to celebrate the holidays family they haven’t seen in months.

If they don’t keep up with masking, Butler worries, some may become infected.

“They will not be able to come to work while they’re infected with COVID and if you have that happen to a large percentage of your workforce, we would have the perfect storm. You have more people getting hospitalized but you have less people to take care of them,” said. Dr. Butler.

Nationwide, CBS News reported 15 states have seen coronavirus hospitalizations double in the last month. The COVID-19 Tracking Project lists close to 80,000 people hospitalized across the country. Of those, more than 15,000 are in the ICU.

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