Use of Face Masks
CDC recommends the use of 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. The purpose of the use of face coverings is to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have SARS-CoV-2 and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders. A publication in the Lancet suggests that it would be reasonable that vulnerable individuals avoid crowded areas and use surgical facemasks rationally when exposed to high-risk areas. Facemasks should be used by people with symptoms of COVID-19 to avoid spreading the disease to others and facemasks are also important for healthcare workers and people who are taking care of someone at home or in a healthcare facility.
Posted April 7, 2020