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CDC issues new guidelines on wearing cloth face masks in public
Monday, April 13, 2020

CDC issues new guidelines on wearing cloth face masks in public

On April 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a recommendation that citizens should wear "non-medical, cloth masks" when it is essential to be in public places, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Previously, the CDC had recommended that only those with COVID-19 symptoms wear masks publicly.

On its website, the CDC says: "Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure." 

Why the change?

This new policy is the result of research on how the virus is spread. According to the CDC, there is evidence people who aren’t showing any symptoms can spread the virus as they move about in public. Cloth masks can help protect others nearby by preventing contaminated droplets from being dispersed by the wearer when breathing or talking.

It’s important to note that wearing a mask is not a substitute for handwashing and social distancing, which are effective measures to reduce risk. First and foremost, staying at home is still the best strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

What are some tips?

  • Medical and surgical masks should be saved for use by health care personnel.
  • The material used for the mask should cover both the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the ears.
  • Make sure your mask is comfortable to wear. You don’t want to continually touch it to adjust it, as that may spread germs from your hands.
  • Do not use a mask with a one-way valve.
  • Wash your mask frequently – ideally after each use, or at least daily.
  • If you have to wear your mask again before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on, and avoid touching your face.
  • If you do not have access to a cloth mask, any type of face covering is better than nothing if you have to go out.

How to make a homemade mask

Rich Liekweg, BJC president and CEO, taught himself how to make a homemade mask and  shares his new knowledge through this simple demonstration.

Watch on YouTube.

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