NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Coronavirus cases are soaring in parts of the South and West.

Meanwhile, in much of the Northeast where COVID-19 cases first skyrocketed, the curve has flattened to early pandemic numbers. Public health experts say the evidence is clear, the difference is primarily social distancing and wearing masks in public. Yet there are people who still refuse to wear masks, claiming a medical exemption.

You’ve probably seen the videos of people who will not wear a mask, supposedly for medical reasons. They are putting everyone around them at risk of contracting COVID-19.

For his latest Max Minute report, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez spoke with two expert pulmonologists about whether or not people should be medically exempt from wearing masks.

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The two expert pulmonologists at NYU and Mount Sinai Hospital told Dr. Gomez on Monday that in essence there are basically no medical conditions that should prevent you from wearing a paper mask or cloth face cover, and that includes asthma.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Small studies have compared a person’s blood, oxygen and CO2 levels with and without a mask and found no significant differences. Some people with advanced heart or lung disease may have a problem, but they should probably not be out in order to avoid being exposed to the virus.

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Medical professionals, some with asthma, often wear tight-fitting N95 masks for eight or more hours a day without issues and tuberculosis patients also wear masks for hours a day.

Yes, wearing a mask can be uncomfortable, but you are protecting yourself and others in society from a potentially lethal disease.

For the top questions people have been asking about the coronavirus, visit cbsnewyork.com/max, and go to facebook.com/cbsnewyork to submit your question.

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