Yes, it’s cool to wear a mask.
That’s because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently changed its position on the general public wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams said masks were only beneficial to healthcare workers, particularly specialized N-95 masks. These masks protect people from inhaling viral particles in the air near an infected person. Other masks, Adams said, offered little, if any, protection.
However, that changed after the CDC investigated mask usage in other countries. The CDC now recommends everyone wear either a simple mask or other face-covering (such as a bandana) when in public (along with social distancing) to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
We now know some COVID-19 infected individuals are asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms before they become sick. In fact, they may not even get sick. If everyone wears a mask in public, the spread of the virus by asymptomatic people can be minimized. That’s because any coughs and sneezes are “caught” inside the mask.
Even a simple cotton mask adds another layer of protection for you, your family and those who are at high risk – the immunocompromised and the elderly. You probably have the supplies you need for a mask in your home right now, like a T-shirt or a bandana that can be easily folded with a coffee filter and held in place with two ponytail holders. Yes, seriously.
Remember, masks should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to the shape
The CDC states that children under age 2 should not wear masks, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.
When everyone wears masks and practices social distancing, we do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you must go out, wear a mask. For now, though, try to stay home.