Experts Say Face Masks Can Help Slow COVID-19 Despite Previous Reports

Tarrah Gibbons
March 29, 2020 - 8:20 am
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As the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States continues to rise, the debate over whether or not to wear a mask still stands.

People in Europe and the United States are having a difficult time getting their hands on surgical masks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last month, health officials said not to buy them and were worried about the limited supply of masks for doctors and nurses.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams took to Twitter in February to share his thoughts on the virus and the influx of mask purchases. “Seriously people,” he begins, “STOP BUYING MASKS!”

The tweet goes on to say, “They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” However, scientists now say Americans may want to wear one, according to a report in Science Magazine.

People all across Asia have been wearing them for several months. The head of the Chinese Center for Disease and Prevention, George Gao, supported the fact that people were buying masks.

“This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role [and] you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth,” Gao said.

He went on to explain that face masks can prevent droplets that carry the virus from infecting other people.

KK Cheng, a public health expert at the University of Birmingham, reflected on the same issue. I don’t want to frighten you, but when people speak and breathe and sing [and] you don’t have to sneeze or cough, [but] these droplets are coming out,” he said.

As for these masks slowing the spread of the virus, researchers think they can help prevent people from contracting the coronavirus.

Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said if a person was wearing a mask that people would have some protection against infection.

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