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Do face masks help the general public (well) in preventing Corona Virus?

Face mask is being presented as an important precautionary measure that can help prevention of Corona virus.


Reproduced from Independent Urdu. https://www.independenturdu.com/node/30251/


First case of Corona virus (COVID-19) was discovered in Pakistan yesterday after which the masses started to run to pharmacies to buy face masks. News channels started reporting on shortage of face masks.

Face mask is being presented as an important precautionary measure that can help prevention of Corona virus. However, organizations like World Health Organization and US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that face masks are not necessary for safeguarding oneself from the virus.

According to CDC, face masks are prescribed for those who are confirmed or suspected to have the virus. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html)

CDC also goes in to detail about the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. On face masks, CDC does not recommend face masks for people who are well.

CDC states: “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).” (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html)

World Health Organization also recommends face masks for only those who either have a running nose or have a cough. WHO states: “Ensure that face masks and / or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them.” (Source: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf)

It is obvious from the guidelines issued by WHO and CDC that face masks are not necessary for general public who have not contacted the virus yet. Only those who are either in contact with the virus or those who have a fever are prescribed face masks.

Source: Independent Urdu/Zeeshan Ali

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