FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Dr. Deborah Birx, Ambassador and White House coronavirus response coordinator, holds a 3M N95 mask as she and Vice President Mike Pence visit 3M headquarters in Maplewood, Minn. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)/Star Tribune via AP)
UPDATED 1:40 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020
Americans are taking new measures to avoid contracting the highly contagious coronavirus. According to recent reports, and increasing number of Americans are now covering their faces, in addition to practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing.
“I started wearing the mask today. I was coming out to Costco and decided I should be taking as much protection as I possibly can. I think it makes sense. It’s better than not trying anything.” – Unnamed resident
Citizens residing in California, a virus hot spot, have said that wearing a mask makes them feel safe and provides added security on the rare occasion they leave the house.
“Yeah, first time, just for extra precaution,” said another local. “I guess, rather walk around and someone happens to sneeze nearby, it feels safer a little more security in that aspect, rather than being in free air.”
Jose Villanueva, 77, originally from Durango, Mexico, adjusts his face mask after eating in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Scientific studies have shown the virus can be transmitted from one person to another through airborne droplets. However, it is still under debate how effective masks are at limiting public transmission.
Thus far, the World Health Organization (WHO) has only recommended the use of masks for those who are sick or caring for a sick person.
“If you do not have these symptoms, you do not have to wear masks, because there is no evidence that they protect people who are not sick,” stated WHO consultant Christine Francis. “However, if you are healthy, but you are taking care of a person who is infected with the new coronavirus, then you should wear a mask whenever you are in the same room as that person.”
A worker at the Mathis Brothers mattress factory sews face masks Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Others have argued that wearing one could protect against transmission from those who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Health care officials have urged Americans to leave the medical grade masks, like the coveted N95 masks, for health care workers amid the national shortage of personal protective equipment.
The president previously stated if Americans decide to cover their faces, scarves or cloth masks are a good alternative.
“If people wanted to wear them, they can. If people wanted to use scarves, which many people have, they can. In many cases, the scarf is better, it’s thicker… A recommendation is coming out,…but I will say this: they can pretty much decide for themselves right now.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
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