With infection cases now rising rapidly in the U.S.,there is more debate about whether people should wear face masks to limit the spread of the infection.
Currently, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Teresa Tam, maintains the position that face masks can reduce the spread of the coronavirus when worn by someone infected, they provide little protection to healthy people who wear them.
In a press conference on Monday she added they may in fact provide a false sense of security to healthy people who may also be touching their faces more often when wearing them through putting them on, taking them off, and making adjustments while wearing them.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also maintains the position that those infected should wear masks as well as people caring for the sick. They do not recommend healthy people wear masks.
US debating mandatory masking; some European countries already there
The mask debate is now arising in the United States where the virus infection numbers are increasing, Apparently officials at the U.S Centres for Disease Control (CDC) are considering altering the official stance which currently echoes that of the WHO.
Dr Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the U.S. Speaking on the CNN show Newsroom he said the CDC is actively discussing the situation, adding, “The thing that has inhibited that a bit is to make sure we don’t take away the supply of masks from the health care workers who need them,” Fauci added. “But when we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks”
Some European countries have now mandated masks.
Austria has ordered that those entering supermarkets and other stores must wear masks. These are now being handed out at entrances.
The Czech Republic has mandated wearing of masks as has neighbouring Slovakia, which has resulted in any number of homemade masks being worn.
Germany at this point is considering adopting some form of mandatory mask wearing following Austria’s move.
In Asian countries where mask wearing has long been more common, officials there say ‘westerners’ could reduce the spread of the virus if everyone was wearing masks.
- Canadian Press (via Global): M.Coutu: Mar.31/20: Should you wear a face mask? Debate over effectiveness
- CBC: E. Dyer: Mar.31/20: Some health experts questioning advice against wider use of masks
- Washington Post: Achenback/Sun/McGinley: Mar.30/20: CDC considering recommending general public wear face coverings in public
- CNN: J. Howard: Mar 31/20: Should you wear a mask? U.S health officials reexamine guidance
- South China Morning Post: S. Lau: Mar 31/20: Austria shifts to require mask wearing in supermarkets