DDN: Should you cover your face in public?

Excerpt

DDN: Boost in confirmed coronavirus cases expected as testing ramps up in Ohio

Dr. Glen Solomon, M.D., Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that Americans cover their faces when leaving home, especially around other people.

Ohioans are being urged to consider wearing simple masks over their mouths in public, and locally more residents are starting to adopt the practice.

The latest guidance suggests that Americans use makeshift coverings, such as T-shirts, scarves or bandanas to cover their noses and mouths. Medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks, are to be reserved for those on the front lines of trying to contain the pandemic.

The policy change comes as public health officials are concerned that those without symptoms can spread the virus which causes COVID-19.

President Trump sstressed that the recommendation is optional and is conceding he will not be complying with it.

On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine said he expects to see more Ohioans wearing masks in public.

“Understanding, again, it’s not a complete protection, I think you’re going to see more and more of that, more and more of our fellow Ohioans when they decide to go out to get groceries, when they go out to pharmacies, you’re going to start seeing a lot more protection and I think that’s probably a good thing,” he said.

Non-medical masks do not protect the person wearing them, but they are seen as safeguards for others against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. Glen D. Solomon, professor and chair of Internal Medicine and Neurology at Wright State University.

The virus is carried in aerosols – droplets of fluid – created when people cough, sneeze or even talk or breathe. Masks keep the droplets inside the mask if the individual is sick.

“So I think the view of wearing the mask really needs to be thought of as protecting your neighbors, protecting everyone else in the community, but it really isn’t protecting the person who wears the mask,” he said. “The value is if you want to be a good citizen and you’re going out in the public, and you have a concern that you could be shedding the virus because maybe you were exposed somehow, then by all means, wearing a mask is a positive thing.”

While masks can prevent someone from spreading the disease, social distancing, careful hand washing, not touching faces are steps people can take to avoid catching the disease in the first place.

For weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention discouraged non-healthcare workers from wearing masks in public, saying it doesn’t protect against COVID-19. But this week the agency said it’s rethinking that stand because there’s concern that people who don’t show symptoms may be unknowingly spreading it. In addition, there is some evidence that masks helped slow the spread of the disease in some countries in Asia and Europe.

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