As Confusion Spreads, Global Experts Weigh in on General Public Wearing Masks

Amid the rush of information that we are being bombarded with surrounding this global coronavirus pandemic, there are plenty of important pieces of information that seem to be completely misunderstood by the general public.

This could be due to someone having simply outdated information, or they may have fallen victim to misinformation online.  Heck, there are probably trolls out there on 4Chan right now trying to conjure up some viral prank to take advantage of the world’s quasi-panic.

One of the most squabbled over issues online today is whether or not the widespread use of face masks would bolster our social distancing efforts or devastate the stockpiles that hospitals are relying on.

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A compromise of an answer to that question seems to be emerging today.

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As long as medical masks remain in short supply, some health specialists are proposing that people cover their faces with home-made masks, made from a bandana or scarf, for instance, when out in public. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Trump administration, endorsed that idea in a plan he co-authored for the American Enterprise Institute. Adams said in a television interview April 1 that U.S. officials were reexamining their guidance, and that mask-wearing by the public shouldn’t come at the expense of health-care professionals.

There are concerns however, as expressed by Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Adams said that people who aren’t trained in how to use them tend to touch their faces a lot, which could increase their chances of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Health care professionals emphasize that if you’re going to use a mask, it’s vital to do so correctly or you could become infected through contact with it: put it on with clean hands, replace it as soon as it becomes damp, remove it from behind without touching the front, wash your hands afterward, and dispose of the mask properly. The WHO counsels against reusing masks that are made for a single use.

The US is expected to reach the peak of the crisis in the middle of April, if our social distancing work was diligent.


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