Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there has been debate about whether face masks can help prevent the spread of the virus. In some affected countries, face masks have been the norm, while in other places, like in the U.S., officials hesitated to recommend them for everyone.
However, as of April 3, the CDC now “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.”
The reason for their new recommendation? Recent studies show:
“a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”
Watch surgeon general, Jerome Adams, show you How To Make Your Own Face Covering on YouTube.
Although not foolproof, evidence shows that any mask, even a cloth mask, decreases the distance the virus can travel from the nose and mouth of an infected person. We’ve heard that six feet is the magic distance for social distancing. But some pesky viruses may travel further, and the mask is another line of protection.
And masks can help healthy people avoid infection by making it more difficult to touch your face, nose and mouth. In fact, the CDC goes on to say, “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
So, yes, the evidence is now pretty clear. When you go out, wear a face mask. You’ll be protecting yourself and, maybe more importantly, others around you.
- This article by the CDC, Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19, explains how to wear and maintain a mask and shows you how to make one, with or without sewing.
- NPR answers your Coronavirus FAQs: Is A Homemade Mask Effective? And What’s The Best Way To Wear One?
- And the USA Today article, Coronavirus might spread much farther than 6 feet in the air. CDC says wear a mask in public. explains the science of how coronavirus travels through the air in droplets.
If you have questions about your health or you’re not feeling well, contact your healthcare provider by phone or visit their website to determine whether you should be seen in-person.
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