No, the CDC is Not Recommending That All Americans Wear Face Masks in Everyday Life

On Saturday, a tweet saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned to advise all Americans to wear face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic went viral. It's not true.

On Saturday, a tweet saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned to advise all Americans to wear face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic went viral. It’s not true.
Photo: Eva Hambach (AFP via Getty Images)

Even though social media companies are fighting to contain wrong information about the website Covid-19 pandemic, there are inevitably some and unfortunate and alarming messages that manage to circulate far and wide on the platforms. The last viral rumor states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expected to wear masks to Americans within a few days of everyday life. It’s not true.

The message was published on Twitter on Saturday by Dr. Matt McCarthy, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and a staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In the tweet, McCarthy stated that the CDC would change its guidelines for face masks and extend them to the entire population. The CDC currently only advises that people who are ill or have sick care wear face masks in addition to health workers.

A few hours later, the CDC replied directly to Twitter on McCarthy, telling him it had no intention of doing what he suggested. It also pointed out a link to current face mask guidelines.

“CDC has not planned any updated guidelines to come out on this topic,” the agency replied.

Nevertheless, the damage was done. As of Sunday afternoon, McCarthy’s tweet was still on the platform retweeted over 20,000 times and liked over 50,000 times. The CDC’s answer, in comparison, was only retweeted about 2,100 times and liked 6,500 times.

Multiple people on Twitter, including Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, told McCarthy to delete the tweet since the CDC said it was not true.

“Now that CDC has declined this report, you should delete your tweet to avoid a rush on masks that will further endanger the lives of medical professionals,” Shaub wrote.

Twitter told Gizmodo that it had reviewed McCarthy’s tweet and it did not violate its policy against Covid-19 misinformation.

This one decision is confusing, especially given that of Twitter Policy around Covid-19 content states that it would require people to, inter alia, “remove specific and unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or widespread disorder”.

I don’t know, saying that the CDC is going to advise everyone to wear face masks, it certainly sounds like a way to get a lot of people to buy face masks. It is also not difficult to imagine that this message ccould cause “widespread panic” if people believe it and canDo not get facial masks.

Since there is a shortage of face masks in the United States, some doctors say they have been there alone given to use a mask indefinitelythe idea that people are going out to buy the few that are left is worrying.

This isn’t the first questionable decision Twitter has made about covid-19 content on its platform. It was like this earlier this month refused to delete Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet alleging that children are ‘essentially immune’ to Covid-19, which is not true. Although one recent research found that most children develop mild or moderate covid-19 symptoms, it was stated that some can become seriously ill.

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