CDC recommends cloth face coverings to slow virus spread
- By Nathan Abse
- Apr 04, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommendations on facial coverings, mirroring growing consensus among experts that even a nonmedical cloth covering—such as a clean bandana—could be helpful, mainly by lowering the transmission of the virus by people with it. Previously, the White House coronavirus task force, CDC and other federal authorities shied away from officially recommending wearing masks or other facial coverings for people not engaged in medical care or other frontline COVID-19 response.
CDC guidelines on COVID-19 already warned of the contagion danger: “The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person,” the guidelines state. “Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) … through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.”
The reluctance of U.S. health authorities, until recently, to recommend face coverings for people who are not sick centered on the idea that the practice had not proven effective. Many also expressed fear that any call for facial coverings for all might lead to a run on already scarce medical masks and distract from by far the most powerful means of stopping COVID-19’s spread: social distancing.
Meanwhile, bottom line: Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay in as much as possible. And, as Dr. Anthony Fauci says, “When you are out, and you can’t maintain that six-foot distance, wear some sort of facial covering."