As cases of coronavirus continue to increase, more and more Americans are choosing to cover their noses and mouths with makeshift masks, including headscarves, scarves, or other wraps, when they venture into the public eye.
While the science behind whether masks can prevent a person from catching the coronavirus has not changed (a mask does not help a healthy person avoid infections), public leadership can shift.
Officially the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Wearing a mask isn’t necessary for healthy individuals, but it appears that the agency is considering changing these recommendations.
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The potential change, which is being discussed internally at the CDC, according to an official, would involve do-it-yourself types of face fabrics, not the types of masks used by healthcare providers. The theory goes that the homemade masks would help reduce the risk of unwittingly spreading the virus through coughing, sneezing, even yawning or just talking.
The corona virus spreads primarily through large breath droplets, which are believed to move about two meters through the air.
There is no scientific evidence that wearing facewear would have a measurable impact on the flattening of the coronavirus curve. And whether it would have any impact is still up for debate.
On the one hand, experts say that people who cover their faces may be more likely to follow other health guidelines, such as: B. proper hand washing, social distancing and disinfection of surfaces.
In addition, a mask is “a visible, physical aid to memory and behavior so as not to touch the eyes, nose and mouth without disinfecting or washing the hands,” says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease expert and director of vaccine research for the Mayo Clinic Group in Rochester, Minnesota, said.
And giving something tangible to the public could be a strengthening during a pandemic with many unknowns and uncertainties.
However, some experts say that a mask can give the user a false sense of security. And the eyes – an important way for the virus to infect a person – remain exposed even though the mouth and nose are covered.
General surgeon Jerome Adams has spoken out publicly against healthy people wearing masks or other blankets.
“”@WHO @CDCgov and my office has consistently recommended that the public wear masks because there is little or contradictory evidence that they benefit individual wearers in a meaningful way, “Adams wrote on Twitter.
Face coverings also need to be changed and washed frequently. And if a mask gets wet, even if a person releases moisture when exhaling, the substance may be more likely to transmit the virus.
“Once the mask gets wet, you don’t want to touch your face or the mask because you have to assume that it is contaminated,” Poland said. Handmade masks can be adequately washed in normal household washing machines, he added.
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Perhaps the biggest concern with changing face covering guidelines is that the public could stock up on masks for the sick and healthcare workers. Adams also tweeted and wrote about it earlier, “Serious People – STOP BUYING MASKS! If healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it will endanger them and our communities.”
To be clear, the guidelines would not apply to surgical or N95 masks that are in short supply in the US, and should be “reserved for frontline people, doctors, nurses, and vans who are there to save our lives.” . “Dr. Thomas Frieden, former head of the CDC, told MSNBC on Tuesday.
In fact, some healthcare providers say they have had to ration the few medical masks they have.
The federal coronavirus task force is reportedly due to discuss changes in public recommendations for face coverings late Tuesday.