AUSTIN (KXAN) — Should you wear a mask?

It’s one of the most controversial questions that’s emerged since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

To give you an idea of just how split we are on masks, a new poll from Ipsos found exactly 50% of Americans say they always wear masks outside of the house. Just as many only sometimes do, or rarely or never do.

So why not?

Myth # 1: Masks Don’t Work

Not true, according to researchers at Texas A&M.

A recent study found people wearing masks prevented 66,000 people in New York City from getting infected in less than a month.

It concluded, “wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with simultaneous social distancing, quarantine, and contact tracing, represents the most likely fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Myth #2: Wearing a Mask Doesn’t Help Me

This is also not true.

While the CDC is still actively studying just how much face masks help prevent the person wearing them from contracting the virus, it does help some according to Dr. Elizabeth Matsui, the Director of Clinical and Translational Research at Dell Medical School.

“It actually does help you,” she said. “It helps you a little bit less than it helps other people around you if you’re infectious, but it does help you some.”

Myth #3: Social Distancing Isn’t Needed When Wearing a Mask

That’s false.

Dr. Matsui weighed in on this one as well.

“Masking, while it does provide some protection to you, it doesn’t provide enough protection in order for you to be safe if you come into closer proximity to somebody,” Matsui said.

Bottom Line

Both health experts and politicians are encouraging people to wear masks.

“All of us have a collective responsibility to educate the public that wearing a mask is the best thing to do,” said Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference Tuesday.

“You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci told CNN.

Regardless of whether or not you want to wear one, you may no longer have a choice in some parts of Central Texas.

New orders in both Travis and Hays Counties are requiring masks for customers and employees at businesses that interact with the public.