As a further attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are reportedly considering alterations to official CDC guidelines to encourage more Americans to adopt the habit of wearing facemasks while in public.
While many have come out in favor of facemasks, some health officials have expressed concerns that some Americans, if wearing a facemask, may dangerously relax their social distancing due to a sense of false immunity. While masks have been shown to lower the risk of infection, transmission of the disease is still possible. The U.S. Surgeon General’s official Twitter account recently discouraged citizens from purchasing facemasks, claiming the dwindling supply will most severely affect health workers.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is one American official who has come out in favor of facemasks, leading the outlining of the pandemic response plan published last Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute.
These reports come after a recent study suggesting that countries with fewer instances of mask-wearing are suffering higher numbers of fatalities than nations where mask-wearing is more prevalent. The study cites examples of high mask-wearing nations, such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, who have had 152, 54 and 3 deaths respectively, relatively low numbers compared to Italy, Spain and the United States, where deaths tolls have reached the thousands and mask-wearing is less common.
To date, the U.S. government has not officially recommended facemasks as a preventative measure, leaving it up to the wearer’s discretion.
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