CDC Guidance May Soon Recommend Americans Wear Masks to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus

Posted on March 28, 2020

Dr. Matt McCarthy, author of Superbugs, says in a tweet that the CDC will soon start advising Americans to wear masks in everyday life. This has been the practice in many other countries. People are frequently seen wearing masks in China, Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries.

Americans are not used to wearing masks in public but we suspect they would wear them if this was the CDC guidance. Unfortunately, masks are not currently easy to find. Even healthcare workers are having trouble obtaining enough of them.

Dr. McCarthy does not reveal his CDC or government source for the change in guidance. He says in the tweet, "CDC guidance on masks expected to change in next 10 days. Americans will be advised to wear masks in everyday life. Current recommendation is for high-risk groups only."

The CDC's current advice is to wear a facemask if you are sick.

If you are sick: You should wear a facemask, if available, when you are around other people (including before you enter a healthcare provider's office).

If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then as their caregiver, you should wear a facemask when in the same room with them. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.
The CDC also has a note about the lack of facemasks. It says, "During a public health emergency, facemasks may be reserved for healthcare workers. You may need to improvise a facemask using a scarf or bandana."

Hopefully, the U.S. will find a way to provide masks for everyone to go along with the potentially updated guidance.

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