With the pandemic death toll reaching new heights every day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a blanket recommendation for the nation on Friday: Every American should wear a face mask when not at home.
And when they are at home with someone who is infected or has had recent potential COVID-19 exposure, everyone should wear a mask, too, the agency said. Finally, the CDC recommended developing a community-level plan for the distribution of face masks to people who might have a hard time finding or buying them.
“Consistent and correct use of face masks is a public health strategy critical to reducing respiratory transmission of SARS-CoV-2, particularly in light of estimates that approximately one-half of new infections are transmitted by persons who have no symptoms,” the agency said in new guidance for public health strategies.
Approximately 13.8 million cases and 272,525 deaths have been reported in the country in the 10 months since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in the U.S. on January 20, 2020, the CDC noted.
“Compelling evidence now supports the benefits of cloth face masks for both source control (to protect others) and, to a lesser extent, protection of the wearer,” the CDC scientists said. “To preserve the supply of N95 respirators for health care workers and other medical first responders, CDC recommends nonvalved, multilayer cloth masks or nonmedical disposable masks for community use.”
You can read the entire guidance here.