As COVID-19 continues to spread, Americans are seeking ways to protect themselves against the virus.
In the latest move, a recommendation for everyone to begin wearing masks in public is under active consideration.
It is an issue that was addressed at Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing.
“It’s just being considered by the task force now about whether that recommendation that already exists relevant to wearing masks should be altered in any way,” said Dr. Deborah Birx. “So, it’s still under discussion.”
“You can get a mask,” added the President. “Most people have scarves. Scarves are very good. They can use a scarf and we’re only talking about a limited period of time. And it says in the recommendations you can substitute a scarf for a mask.”
Due to the great need for masks, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously maintained that only healthcare workers, caregivers and people showing coronavirus symptoms should wear the protection.
George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has long urged overall use.
He recently told Science Magazine, “The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.”
During an appearance on The 700 Club, neurologist, and immune system expert Dr. David Perlmutter agreed about the value in wearing a mask.
“One thing a mask will do is keep you from touching your face, when your hands are contaminated, which when you’re in public is likely to happen,” said Perlmutter. “The risk of you touching your nose or mouth is markedly reduced if you’re wearing a mask.”
Others highlight the success of slowing the epidemic in places like South Korea and Hong Kong, where most people wear masks.
“I’ve analyzed 38 scientific papers that have looked at the relationship between using masks and the transmission of COVID19 and similar kinds of viruses, and they all tell the same story, which is that wearing a mask can decrease transmission by up to 50 percent,” said Jeremy Howard, a research scientist at the University of San Francisco.
Given the concern over the short supply of masks in the US, Jo-Ann Fabrics, the arts and crafts chain, is urging Americans to fill the gap and is helping them do it. According to the company, all 860 of its stores are donating kits for volunteers to create cloth masks for hospitals and health care workers, complete with a how-to video.
“Many are spending their time and money to help in this tragic situation, and we want to step in to do our part to protect the amazing people who are helping the communities we serve,” said Jo-Ann President and CEO Wade Miquelon.
Cedarville University sophomore Connor Hart also found a way to pitch in.
“Just seeing the pandemic affect so many lives and put so many people in need just hurt me and made me want to find a way to help,” Connor told CBN News. “We learned we could start 3-D printing masks to help with the shortages.”
He is now using the printer to make plastic reusable masks round the clock, shipping them to medical facilities in need.
Connor says, with his school closed, it’s the least he could do with his free time.
“I’d rather be out helping people during this time than just trapped in my basement or my room doing like video games or something; something totally unproductive,” Connor said.
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