Americans have been advised to wear non-medical cloth masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the death toll in the country exceeds 3,785 people, with more than 276,000 confirmed cases.
“From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood,” Trump said at the White House.
“With the masks, it’s going to really be a voluntary thing,” he emphasised. “It’s voluntary, you do not have to do it. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
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— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 3, 2020
The CDC now recommends that those who aren’t feeling sick should still wear a mask, though compliance is voluntary.
“We now know from recent studies that 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,” the CDC said in a statement. “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. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
“It is critical to emphasise that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
“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.”
I’m a nurse and increasingly worried everyday. Each nurse gets ONE mask! We have homemade fabric mask covers to protect our N95 mask from getting contaminated. Housekeeping washes the mask covers daily. Pathetic that America can’t provide PPE for health workers. #MasksNow #Masks pic.twitter.com/gwzjREUcsu
— TJo Sonnenberg🌊 (@TjoSonnenberg) March 27, 2020
US surgeon general Jerome Adams said at the White House press conference that people who opt to wear masks should always remember to wash their hands first.
— Distancing Jean Provost 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🍑🏳️🌈 (@SarahJeanProvo2) April 3, 2020
“You don’t want to put on a face covering with a dirty hand. Do not touch your face while you are wearing the face covering because you can take germs from the surface and bring it to your face”, he said, adding medical-grade masks were only for frontline health workers.
Advisers to the World Health Organization (WHO) are looking to update WHO’s recommendation that face masks only be worn by people who are ill with coronavirus symptoms or those looking after someone who may have the virus.
George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told Science on 27 March: “The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.”
The world death toll from coronavirus is approaching 60,000, with Italy recording 13,915 coronavirus fatalities, Spain’s total death toll now stands at 10,935, while France, which recorded its highest daily death toll of 588 coronavirus deaths, now has a total of 5,091 hospital fatalities. Only deaths in hospitals are recorded in France.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 3, 2020