The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that everyone should wear masks and face coverings in the public. The point was raised in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published Tuesday.
The top officials from the health agency wrote an editorial in which they quoted studies that found that the country could get the pandemic under control if face masks were worn universally.
A cloth face covering can help reduce the spread of #COVID19 from you to others, even if you are asymptomatic. Protection against COVID-19 requires the use of cloth face coverings by all members of your community. https://t.co/4gxhkk4xB8
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) July 14, 2020
Help protect others from #COVID19 by social distancing & wearing a cloth face covering that fits snugly and reaches above your nose, below your chin, and completely covers your mouth and nostrils. Learn more about cloth face coverings and how to make them: https://t.co/8gk1WlcrOx pic.twitter.com/i1q352glwl
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) May 28, 2020
This is the first time the CDC has recommended a blanket adherence to the mask wearing practices. Previously the agency had recommended wearing masks when social distancing was not possible.
Wearing a face covering and staying six feet apart doesn’t just protect you, it protects those around you. Learn more about doing your part during #COVID19: https://t.co/KHJpARfcoO #COVIDStopsWithMe pic.twitter.com/8NPl4UhTBd
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) July 13, 2020
The editorial referred to two studies that has provided evidence that mask wearing can help prevent virus transmission.
First, another JAMA study that found that mask wearing practices reduced the spread of coronavirus in a Boston hospital system. The second study was the inter CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which found that mask wearing helped control what could have been a local outbreak of coronavirus cases in Missouri.
The MMWR is especially interesting. It shows that vigilant mask wearing can possibly even prevent infections in people who have had very close contact.
The report shows that nearly 140 people interacted with two hairstylist who had been sick with coronavirus, but none of them fell sick, possibly because everyone was wearing a mask in accordance with the policies by the city of Springfield and by the salon where the stylists worked.
Both stylists fell ill in mid-May but continued to work with clients as they thought they has seasonal allergies and the number of cases in Springfield was extremely low.
During this time, the two stylists had come in contact with 139 clients. They performed haircuts, facial hair trimmings and perms, which means that they were within inches of their clients for 15 to 45 minutes at a time, which is more than enough time for the virus to travel through the air from person to person.
New @CDCMMWR report shows how face coverings can help prevent #COVID19. 2 hair stylists with COVID-19 exposed over 100 clients. All wore face coverings, and no clients were known to be infected with COVID-19. Learn more: https://t.co/kMseNPWRv5 pic.twitter.com/9pIeU5BfzX
— MMWR (@CDCMMWR) July 14, 2020
Many of the clients and the stylists themselves were wearing loose fitting cloth coverings or surgical masks. A small handful of clients were even wearing N95 respirators; which can filter out 95 percent of airborne particles and are one of the best forms of protection from coronavirus.
All this evidence combined with previous studies, has led the CDC to recommend that everyone should wear a mask in public, especially in close settings. It is important to remember that this is just a suggestion and official face mask policies are being implemented at only state and local level.
In a poll released by CDC on Tuesday, it was shown that 76 percent of the adults had worn a face mask or covering within the past week in public. But according to CDC Director Robert Redfield, this number needs to improve to get this pandemic under control.
New report from @CDCMMWR describes factors associated with use of cloth face coverings and higher rates of use in May compared to April. Wearing cloth face coverings continues to be recommended to help slow the spread of #COVID19. Read more: https://t.co/v0Ttz1oL4H pic.twitter.com/4TwDOLRWfj
— MMWR (@CDCMMWR) July 14, 2020
“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities”, said Redfield in a statement.
He also added that the president and vice president need to wear masks to set an example for the public.
Previously, President Trump and some senior administration official have been reluctant to wear a mask. Just this Saturday, Trump for the first time wore a mask publicly since the start of the pandemic in March, while at Walter Reed hospital in Maryland.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 11, 2020
Recently, President Trump has been in tug war with the health agency. Just yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that coronavirus cases data should not be reported to CDC.
It means that CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, which has long been the nation’s healthcare-associated infection tracking system, will no longer be able to access this data.
HHS confirms coronavirus hospital data will now be sent to DC instead of CDC – CNNPolitics https://t.co/ziyiCvgvEj
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 15, 2020
BREAKING: Donald Trump demands that hospitals no longer send COVID-19 information to the CDC, but rather to the National Healthcare Safety Network. I smell a cover up in progress.
— A Worried Citizen (@ThePubliusUSA) July 14, 2020
Critics have said that the White house and the senior administrative officials are setting a wrong example at a time, when it is important that politics be taken out the public health responses.
“I think the injection of politics into this response is extremely dangerous to the nation,” fmr. Acting CDC Director Besser says. “When you see politicians attacking the CDC…they’re attacking every public health agency…that’s working to save lives.”https://t.co/Ermn65jbe5
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 15, 2020
Trump has also gone against the CDC directive and tweeted that schools should reopen when, the agency warned about the severity of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and suggested against re-opening schools.
SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020