Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public? Health Experts Revisit The Question

The CDC now says it's reviewing its policy about whether Americans should wear face masks in public — and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

4/1/2020 5:06:00 PM

The CDC now says it's reviewing its policy about whether Americans should wear face masks in public — and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

There are rumblings that U.S. health officials may start encouraging Americans to wear face masks to cut down on asymptomatic spread. But with continued shortages, it's not clear how we'd do that.

Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Imageshide captiontoggle captionElijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesEven without symptoms, you might have the virus and be able to spread it when out in public, say researchers who now are reconsidering the use of surgical masks.

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Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesUpdated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ETA few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.

But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use., the CDC website says the only people who need to wear a face mask are those who are sick or are caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a mask.

But in aninterview with NPR on Monday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the agency is taking another look at the data around mask use by the general public."I can tell you that the data and this issue of whether it's going to contribute [to prevention] is being aggressively reviewed as we speak," Redfield told NPR.

And Tuesday, President Trump weighed in suggesting people may want to wear scarves."I would say do it," he said, noting that masks are needed for health care works."You can use scarves, you can use something else," he said.On Tuesday Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said the task force is still discussing whether to change to the recommendation on masks.

Other prominent public health experts have been raising this issue in recent days. Wearing a mask is"an additional layer of protection for those who have to go out," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NPR in an interview. It's a step you can take — on top of washing your hands and avoiding gatherings.

In apaper outlining a road map to reopen the country, Gottlieb argues that the public should be encouraged to wear masks during this current period of social distancing, for the common good."Face masks will be most effective at slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if they are widely used, because they may help prevent people who are asymptomatically infected from transmitting the disease unknowingly," Gottlieb wrote. Gottlieb points to South Korea and Hong Kong — two places that were shown to manage their outbreaks successfully and where face masks are used widely.

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A prominent public health leader in China also argues for widespread use of masks in public. The director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, George Gao,Sciencethat the U.S. and Europe are making a"big mistake" with people not wearing masks during this pandemic. Specifically, he said, mask use helps tamp down the risk presented by people who may be infected but aren't yet showing symptoms.

If those people wear masks,"it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others," Gao toldScience.The argument for broadening the use of face masks is based on what scientists have learned about asymptomatic spread during this pandemic.

It turns out that many people who are infected with the virushave no symptoms— or only mild symptoms.What this means is that there's no good way to know who's infected. If you're trying to be responsible when you go out in public, you may not even know that you're sick and may be inadvertently shedding the virus every time you talk with someone, such as a grocery store clerk.

"If these asymptomatic people could wear face masks, then it could be helpful to reduce the transmission in the community," saysElaine Shuo Feng, an infectious disease epidemiology researcher at the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford.

Given the reality of asymptomatic spread, masks may be a good socially responsible insurance policy, Gottlieb argues."[Wearing masks] protects other people from getting sick from you," he says. Read more: NPR »

Then why not follow lead of other countries and pass the rules plus release instructions for easily making one from fabric or handkerchief. They can’t because will cause mass panic when suburb moms can not find any Almost like the federal government should direct manufacturers to switch to making face masks and other PPE.

Good luck finding them! And btw it had to take so many deaths to actually get this going? Come on they have been telling us we need to act as if we are all infectious but didn’t need to wear masks? How dumb is that! OMG all this talk about masks. You NEED gloves WAY MORE. Educating people on it’s transmission it’s not air born it’s on the stuff you pick up and touch.

So now people will hoard them like toilet paper, and leave nothing for those who really need them. Stay inside. No mask required. this should have been implemented from the start. but i know they were short on masks and needed them for the hospitals. Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens

Side bonus: It will disrupt the AI facial recognition takeover. And we can buy them from my pillow? What a pile of crap Or don't go in public. It's only reasonable if it reduces the probability of people catching it. Unfortunately, accurate testing for this is considered unethical in this country. Don’t wait for them to “review their policy”, if you have one, wear it!

At this point, absolutely. This is so obvious it's criminal. Yes we had a shortage and supplies should have gone to the front lines, but there was no need to outright lie to public. More fear mongering Time for sensible leadership and common sense. Finish the war against both government 'and' corporate Socialism or risk extinction!!!

What masks would that be? They don’t have enough masks for medical professionals in the front line. Makes no sense and we don’t have enough supply to make it happen. Cattle being herded. Greatest privatized helathcare system in the world 🤥😷🤒 ZarrarKhuhro See this picture we are already all wearing masks in a developing country like Pakistan America Get with the program already!!! First you would NOT lockdown; now you’re debating to contemplate to consider to think about wearing masks!!! The hell people!

Ya think!?! Yes, please wear a mask. Think for yourself and show concern for your community. realDonaldTrump said scarves are a good substitute. Maybe we should all donate our scarves to local hospitals. It depends. Are you walking your dog during non peak hours? Maybe not. If you are going to a store, a confined space where respiration are trapped, YES.

If Healthcare workers don't have masks to protect themselves, how are Americans supposed to get masks? Every day Alaska's Nixel requests BASIC personal protective equipment donations for our medical providers! Alaska is no different than other states. Where are the supplies? It’s about time. wow if you think the shizz got real with toilet paper. FYI ICE contains to conduct raids using same N95 masks in short supply throughout the country. In Portland, nurses are advised to use snorkel masks

I have to say I'm getting pretty sick of Americans backing reluctantly and too late into step after step of needed public health actions. What's with us? We are still behind the curve, time after time. Are you covering stories about non essential businesses still operating and requiring employees to still come in?

You should all be wearing masks when you leave the house. It should be a law. Well it can’t hurt Absolutely! masks4all It doesn't have to be a medical grade mask. It worked in The Czech Republic. Watch the video. its embarrassing as fuck to be a part of this country right now lol. At first they told us not to because they were only effective for people WITH coronavirus to keep it spreading outward , and that it could actually increase the non-infected chances of getting it. So confusing.

I can't believe this is still a debate when infections in the west, a place in which most didn't mask up, are like 50-100X higher than Asia, a place in which most people wore masks everyday. We were given bad information about this 4-5 weeks ago, the tRUmp administration is inept, corrupt, and incapable of handling ANY crisis.

There are no masks. There isn’t even toilet paper. Maybe the CDC should study if we’d be safer in our own plastic bubbles.? You told us 'masks don't work!' So people didn't wear them in public places, in cities, crowded subways planes, stores, at events etc Now people are DEAD virus out of control. Healthcare professionals can't get masks! Fuck you. Terrible foresight, leadership

You don’t say.... As soon as we have enough marks they will do a 180 and say everyone should wear a mask. In Japan,people can receive two masks (made from cotton) per household,Japanese PM says. This is not an april fools' joke. Where are they available? Should have been encouraged from the start, but instead they chose to lie to us due to incompetence at the top and a reluctance to increase supply chain - also no one took it seriously enough. Calling it the flu while other countries where using full hazmat protocol. I asked...

Already been wearing one. Gloves too. People look at me like I'm crazy. Don't care. That would be fine if masks were readily available. They're just like paper towels, very elusive. Start wearing them already everybody. Lots of tutorials online about how to make your own. 👇 Masks4All MasksSaveLives 😷

Then they won’t be available for those who REALLY need them. False sense of security means some will just wear them and head out into public. Instacart Shipt Meijer Kroger Walgreens We are the world's greatest shit show. Like they are available anywhere. Duh. And where the hell are we supposed to get the masks? I can’t even find eggs and toilet paper yet.

kinda idiotic if masks aren't even available Why have we not done a random sampling of the population? I understand that testing materials are in short supply, but it would seem worth using 1000 of them to get an idea of generalized distribution. Save them for healthcare workers Everybody should wear N95 Respiratory Masks in Public, but in this time, Masks r not enough 4 Frontline health workers, the Public must leave the Masks for them, it's greater public gud since Ist responders not wear it, virus spread to the patients & it creates more problem..

Most people do not need a medical grade N95 mask to wear going out in public. It’s a layer of protection & to help stop the spread from those who are asymptomatic. It is also a physical reminder to not touch your damn face. My mom, a nurse, says any mask is better than no mask rn F them and the megalomaniac in the WH. I'm wearing a mask and gloves while they just f around with our lives

How much more incompetent can they be- what’s the worst that can happen by erring on safety!!!! Disgusting delays My advice when wearing our masks in public is not to wear sunglasses, as glasses could fog up and be a dangerous to us, oh and look at the 3M products with the rubber straps, something our Government also doesn't care about! Human life that is!

Oh no not the mask. That’s what other countries do. We are the best and don’t need no stinking masks. This is unbelievable, all of Asia including China is what they do. It may not prevent you from getting it, but it sure as hell can prevent you from spreading it! How is there no value to that, unbelievable!

I still can't get them TrinityMustache Don't wait for them - do it now! (But save N45 masks for front line). If we had a real leader who wasn't selling our supplies, we'd have enough. The US needs to make them available Now we know why people in China walk around with masks all the time I guess. Some people, myself included, unintentionally spit when they talk and some kind of mask might help contain that. But N-95 masks should go to the health care personnel who really need them.

Where would we get these masks? They are harder to find than toilet paper these days And where the hell are we supposed to get said face masks You mean like Atul_Gawande put out there like 2 weeks ago? CDC should have prioritized to advise you any face covering in the beginning of the beginning more than anything else. I know they wanted to avoid people hoarding or selling overpriced masks and wanted to provide more masks to healthcare workers.

However, you saw here what happened. After the stay-at-home order was issued, the people got panicked. Those who with no face covering poured into an overcrowded store and went from another to another because things were running short. It made the stores become hot spots to escalate the outbreak and it still does now. This would be the reason why the numbers of the cases and deaths in the Western countries are so much higher than the Eastern countries.

You are missing an important additional benefit of wearing a mask and eye protection: they keep you from touching an infected surface and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. The Surgeon General last night on Nightline contradicted this, but he was rambling and incoherent. How can people where masks when there are no masks?

masks4all It doesn't have to be a medical grade mask. It worked in The Czech Republic. Watch the video. Even better, mass produce hydroxychloroquine and have everyone take it as a prophylactic. And where are people supposed to get masks at this point? Yes we should all be wearing masks YES! Especially with allergy season coming, if u cough or sneeze, it won't project spittle for 10' all over everyone and everything. Wear a MASK!

I’m seriously confused. Where are we supposed to get these masks from? There are none! Whatever it takes, do that. Stay home. Do your part. You are not special. Do your part. Behave as if you have it. Behave as if it’s someone you love that will get sick. (Or worse) Behave as if you GIVE A SHIT. It’s commonly referred to as DISCIPLINE.

In every other country people are making their own mask out of fabric because that's all you need. But here I read one ill informed person after the other. 'There are no N95-mask', 'we can't buy any'. If you're not a healthcare worker you don't need a medical grade mask! Research no kidding. you are really silly. do you think the mask will keep the virus from your eyes. you breath through your nose not your mouth. your eyes are still exposed.

Everybody knew the whole you don’t need a mask thing didn’t make any sense and that it was just a way to ensure people didn’t go buy them and hoard them like toilet paper, so that medical professionals could have them. Stay home people! cdjinteriors they already say wear a mask if you are infected and everyone should assume they are infected. Why is this even a debate? Stay inside if you can but wear a fing mask if you have one and have to go out. also ... make use the defense act to make fing masks

Most commercial masks' filters don't meet the standard to prevent inoculation. But if wearing a mask makes one feel, better do it. The Chinese have mask. They should send some over... But there are no masks.... Heads up peeps. You don’t need medical masks, just put a shirt over your face. Put your head halfway through the neck hole and tie the sleeves behind your head and you have a sealed breathable mask.

More back and forth. Now that there are no masks to be found on this planet they start backtracking. Great, just great. Yeah? Where can we get these masks? There are none, thanks. Don’t wait for them to figure it out. Wear one. Wear something. Something is better than nothing at this point. Remember when Dr. Fauci said “If you think we are over reacting...”. Yeah. Wear a mask.

Burqas for everyone! CDCgov says 'In order the flatten the curve we must do what China & S Korea did.' 'Those countries had the people in public wear mask. So should Americans wear mask?' 'Welllll...give us a few weeks to research it.' Once they have enough they will recommend them. Ofcourse we should be wearing correctly installed N95+masks in public. That that was ever a question simply shows how poorly the CDC has been running under Trump. We should also be wearing gloves and eye shields, & if sick staying in quarantine.

“They are of no use” was the cry because we had a national shortage and didn’t want the general public hoarding them and having health care providers go without. Now that the health care industry has them, they will let us as well. Just look at Asia-everyone wears them in public! You don’t fuckin say. It keeps asymptomatic people from coughing all over shit, for starters.

If you believed them in the first place you clearly lack critical thinking If you're not one step ahead of a bureaucracy, you're two steps behind. CDC was alerted Jan 3, failed to test contain and mitigate. Trump called coronavirus 'new hoax' Feb 28. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted '[Masks] are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus...' Feb 29 Trump declared 'national emergency' Mar 13.

They lied and people died. the only reason this wasn't made mandatory weeks ago is because there are no masks for the public. Barely enough for the professionals. realDonaldTrump was caught flatfooted. And we are all paying the price. But anyone-but-hillary right, America? At a time when healthcare workers need PPE more than ever is not the time for CDCgov to vacillate on the use of masks. This is a clear signal to hoarders. CDC should be educating the public on DIY face masks and direction of proper usage techniques.

Pointless unless a large majority of the population wears them, and knows how to wear them. That isn't remotely possible now, and never will be. Are you seriously presenting this story like this? They’ve known all along it is helpful. Doesn’t take a doctor to understand. shit. Anyone with a brain knew the no mask recommendation was horse shit.

Everyone wear a mask. Sick, not sick, no matter. Wear a mask! Mask + 6ft + hand washing + stay home as much as poss Yes! Why not!? Sure would be nice if there had been consistent messaging on masks, Travel, stay at home from the beginning. Ok any ideas on where it hope to get them? If not this is just a thought exercise.

The leadership in this situation is highly frustrating. Since the start I’d try to buy masks but they were already up charged to $75 for a pack of 100 (used to be $15). If you don’t know you have it, how do you know you’re not spreading it!? What face masks? if you need the vector portrait from your photo. order me;

Which is ironic as there are no useful masks to be bought. catch22 A little late for this, aren’t we? Vote blue and prosecute the GOP in 2021.

FACT CHECK: Should People Cover Their Faces With Scarves Like Trump Said?In a briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump answered a question about a supply shortage of masks by suggesting that the public wear scarves instead. Why even bother? It’s not like anyone in the entire country can get a face mask anyway. Asian countries are encouraging the wearing of them.

Do you need a mask? The science hasn't changed, but public guidance mightAttitudes about masks are beginning to change in the U.S., both among the general public and at the highest levels of public health. Never made sense not to wear a mask! In Japan, Taiwan and now the Czech Republic they say: “Your mask protects me and my mask protects you”. Some Asian countries found it easier to wear masks rather than others. The rich have had time to get theirs?

This German town is making it mandatory to wear a mask in some placesThe German city of Jena is requiring people to wear masks in shops, on public transport and in public buildings after a request from health services Lmao Only ugly people or everyone? Fauci said: If there were enough masks, everybody should wear that. the patient should wear it to prevent virus from hitting others, the health people should wear it to prevent virus hitting u. but the medical care personnel is priority if the mask is not enough

How To Make A Coronavirus Face Mask That Requires Absolutely No SewingThe CDC is considering recommending people wear face coverings in public. Here are a few easy ways to make your own homemade face mask. Stevie wonder saw this coming OBVI, If only there were any. Finally!

Frightened Doctors Face Off With Hospitals Over Rules on Protective GearMany hospitals bar doctors and other staff members from wearing protective masks in public areas. Some have been disciplined for pushing back.

Trump's coronavirus team to reveal sobering data that drove decision to extend restrictionsPres. Trump's coronavirus team to reveal sobering data that drove decision to extend federal recommendations to blunt the spread of coronavirus until the end of April. Let's hope his 10 Days Of Darkness began 2day ' TRUMP is cleaning the Peodofiles from the Deep State. New strategy... exaggerate the worst, that way far less can be a huge win. I can't wait to vote for Trump again.