Face Masks, To Wear or Not To Wear?

Face Masks, To Wear or Not To Wear?

Initially in my blog on March 16th, COVID-19: Busting the Rumors, I mentioned not to wear masks unless YOU are sick with COVID-19. That is what the CDC recommended for use of respirators (masks) at that time. According to the CDC recommendations, the use of face masks was to be worn by healthcare professionals or people who have COVID-19 symptoms. Although they have not changed their position of this recommendation at this time, I’m seeing many people questioning this guideline.

There are two sides to this dilemma. There are experts not in favor of changing the guidelines due to it giving people false hope of not contracting the virus. Then there are many others who do not wear the masks properly and think they are safe in the community while wearing them. These masks don’t protect your eyes so droplets can enter into your system.

In the article in Science on March 28, 2020, a small randomized controlled trial focusing on viruses stated that wearing the mask has not decreased infection. Proponents who are in favor of wearing masks raise the concern of asymptomatic unmasked people who are in the public. Are the people not wearing a mask while asymptomatic spreading the virus? The masks reduce the transmission if you are infected but what about the people showing no symptoms?

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 people who are infected show no signs of having the virus. Does that mean everyone should wear face masks for protection against infection in the community? If we all continue social distancing, the question of whether to wear a mask or not would not be as critical of an issue. Back to the question of to wear a mask or not is a personal choice at this time as there have been no recommendations from the authorities. 

On those occasions of needing to go out in public, keep in mind the information on the false security of wearing the masks and stay tuned for any updates on CDC recommendations.