CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Here are some specific tips that the CDC shares on their website:
• How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
Side view of an individual wearing a cloth face covering, which conceals their mouth and nose areas and has a string looped behind the visible ear to hold the covering in place. The top of the covering is positioned just below the eyes and the bottom extends down to cover the chin. The visible side of the covering extends to cover approximately half of the individual’s cheek.
• Cloth face coverings should:
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops
Include multiple layers of fabric
Allow for breathing without restriction
Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
• Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
• The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
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