“Because of some recent information that the virus can actually spread even when people are talking rather than coughing and sneezing – the best part of the value is that when you’re away, when you can’t keep that distance six feet, to wear some kind of face cover, “said Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, on Friday. Fox & Friends.
But, said Fauci, physical removal is still the best practice possible to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Fauci also said the goal was not to “remove the need for masks for health care providers who are in real and current danger of being infected by the people they care for.”
The recommendations were to apply to those living in areas hard hit by community transmission of the virus causing COVID-19.
A person familiar with the White House Coronavirus task force discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, t-shirts or bandanas be used to cover the nose and mouth when people go out – for example, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Medical grade masks, particularly shortage N95 masks, would be reserved for those who deal directly with the sick.
Advice contrary to past recommendations
Some infectious disease experts say that little reliable research has been done on the effectiveness of non-medical grade masks, but some previous studies have suggested that they only block a small amount of aerosol particles that can transmit influenza viruses and are not an effective way to reduce transmission.
Only medical masks such as those labeled N95 are designed and adapted to filter particles carrying the COVID-19 virus. Other masks, such as surgical masks, are looser and made of a material that can reduce the concentrations of certain aerosol particles.
The World Health Organization, the Government of Canada, and federal public health officials such as Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Hygienist, recommend that only those who show symptoms or care for someone suspected of having COVID-19 infection wear a mask.
“Putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial, of course, if you are not infected,” Tam said earlier this week.
WHO, in advising health workers, stated that “cloth masks (eg cotton or gauze) are by no means recommended”.
WATCH l Advice on masks varies from country to country, on the chronology of the pandemic:
The person familiar with the White House Coronavirus mask group discussion spoke about the condition of anonymity to discuss the proposed directions before its publication.
US President Donald Trump, who was re-tested for coronavirus on Thursday using a new rapid test, said he would support such a recommendation. The White House said that Trump’s last test returned a negative result in 15 minutes and that Trump was “healthy and symptom-free.”
Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the task force, told reporters that the White House was concerned that guiding the mask would create a “false sense of security” for the Americans.
She said new data shows the administration’s guidelines on social distancing were not followed to the extent necessary to minimize deaths from the virus.
WHO always recommends limited use of the mask
On Monday, the World Health Organization reiterated its view that the general population does not need to wear a mask unless a person is sick. Since the start of the epidemic in China, WHO has said that the masks are intended for the sick and their caregivers.
WHO epidemic chief Dr. Mike Ryan said there is a risk of the virus spreading if the mask is not properly adjusted or if someone puts it on or takes it off incorrectly.
Discussions about face masks took place while the White House defended its management of the pandemic, in particular its efforts to speed up the distribution of ventilators and protective equipment needed by health professionals.
New mask guidelines appear to be more limited than a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that suggests the recommendation applies to almost all Americans, according to a federal official who saw the project but was not authorized to officially discuss it.
Officials should limit the geographic scope to only areas where the virus spreads quickly, said the official. An announcement was expected as early as Friday.
According to the previous guidelines, only patients or people at high risk of complications from respiratory disease should wear a mask. The new proposal was prompted by research showing that certain infections are spread by people who appear healthy.
Questions about droplets in the air
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday urged his city’s four million residents to wear masks while in public. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit in his city on Thursday, the epicenter of the spread of the virus in the United States.
In response to recent studies, the CDC changed the way it defined the risk of infection for Americans on Wednesday. It basically says that anyone can be considered a carrier, whether or not they have symptoms.
The virus is mainly spread by droplets of coughing or sneezing, although experts point out that the germ is not yet fully understood.
Scientists cannot rule out that infected people sometimes breathe out particles of the COVID-19 virus, rather than just coughing or sneezing, but there is not enough evidence to show whether this can cause infection, according to one committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to advise the White House.
The question is whether the new coronavirus is mainly spread by droplets that do not linger long in the air or also by finer aerosolized particles. Certain medical procedures, such as inserting breathing tubes, can create these tiny particles, which is why healthcare workers wear properly fitting N95 masks during this care.
Trump and Schumer prepare for crisis
Meanwhile, Democrats criticized Trump after sending a letter to their party’s Senate chief Chuck Schumer after the New Yorker targeted the administration’s coronavirus response.
“The federal government is only support for state governments,” wrote Trump. “Unfortunately, your state needed a lot more support than most of the others. “
Trump said states should have done more to store medical supplies.
Schumer, in turn, called the letter petty in a post on social media.
“The Americans are dying and losing their jobs. Businesses falter. Stop the meanness. Be a leader. Do your job, ”he wrote.
When I sent Pres. Trump sent a serious letter on providing essential medical supplies to our front line fighters, he replied in a mean and harmless letter.
To the President:
Americans are dying and losing jobs. Businesses falter. Stop the meanness. Be a leader. Do your job.