Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | Health Topics | Trump Administration | face | masks | pandemic

CDC Might Advise Everyone to Wear Cloth Masks in Public


By    |   Thursday, 02 April 2020 07:41 PM

A change in U.S. recommendations on wearing masks in public might be coming, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is going to advise everyone to wear a cloth mask or other face covering in public, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The coronavirus task force will be "coming out with regulations" on mask wearing, but they still will be recommendations and voluntary, President Donald Trump told the daily press briefing Thursday.

"If people want to wear them, they can," Trump said, reiterating a CDC advisory a scarf is thicker in material and potentially even better protection.

To date, CDC's official U.S. protocol during the global coronavirus pandemic has been to advise all sick individuals to wear a mask in public to keep from spreading viruses to others. Also, anyone who is caring for the sick or elderly should wear a mask.

A federal official told the Times the CDC will strengthen guidelines to recommend everyone wear face coverings in public, particularly in popular places like pharmacies and grocery stores.

"When the advisory comes out, it will be an additive – if it comes out – rather than saying this is a substitute for" six feet of social distancing, washing hands, and not touching your face, according to task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Thursday.

The previous guidelines advising against everyone to wear a mask were designed to reserve invaluable personal protective equipment resources for healthcare workers and facilities, especially emergency centers, hospitals, and nursing homes.

The White House coronavirus task force has been pointing to the CDC policy as a guide for Americans, including the president saying "wear a scarf" instead of going out and buying an N95 mask, which hospitals have been fearing being short of.

Asymptomatic spread – a healthy person unwittinly carrying COVID-19 – has been cited as a reason for potential change in U.S. policy.

The CDC policy has mirrored the World Health Organization advisory that masks are first for the sick and those that treat them.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has talked this week about official policy, "being critically re-reviewed, to see if there's potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected," according to the report.

"Don't get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected, because there are other ways you can get infected," Birx said Thursday, pointing to the fact a mask does not cover the eyes and the hands touching your eyes, nose, and face are still the No. 1 way to transmit the infection into your body.

"This worries us, and that's why the debate's continuing about the mask," she added. "We don't want – when we're trying to send a signal when every single person in this country needs to stay six feet away from everybody, that needs to be washing their hands constantly and know where their hands are – to send a signal that we think a mask is equivalent to those pieces."

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A change in U.S. recommendations on wearing masks in public is coming, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is going to advise wearing a cloth mask or other face coverings in public, The New York Times reported Thursday.
face, masks, pandemic, public, cdc, social distancing
Thursday, 02 April 2020 07:41 PM
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