CDC Recommends Face Masks — What You Should Know

Friday, April 3

We remain status quo at Release Countdown -1. My wife developed a migraine last night, fortunately only for the second time since this started. It’s under control but there’s always the aftermath. She’s still feeling slight tightness in her chest. There is no way to take this other than one day at a time.

As regular readers know, I’ve joined others in a crusade to get the word out about the value of wearing face masks to help prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus. Well, thanks to the efforts of researchers within the CDC who first sounded the call, people are listening. There has been increasing press coverage around the question, including a number of “Do It Yourself” articles and posts telling people how they can make face coverings for themselves and their loved ones.

This afternoon the federal government in the form of the CDC issued its Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission.

I quote from it here.

“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.

“It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. 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.

“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.”

Here are the takeaways:

  1. A combination of social distancing plus wearing a cloth mask offers the best protection against spread of COVID-19.
  2. With so many infected being asymptomatic, EVERYONE should engage in both mask-wearing and social distancing, whether they believe they are sick or not (even the President, but never mind…).
  3. Surgical masks and respirators are NOT APPROPRIATE for this purpose because there is a shortage of those items and they need to be reserved for medical personnel and hospital patients. Cloth masks can be purchased or made for low cost.
  4. Properly and consistently washing hands with soap and water can help alleviate other risk.

Here are several articles if you’re interested in reading more.

I’ll end today with a shout-out to Bill Withers who died Monday (my birthday) at age 81. Enjoy Bill, Stevie Wonder and John Legend perform Lean on Me at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2015 Induction Ceremony. A timeless song with special resonance in these times. May his memory be a blessing.

Professional Communicator, Change Agent & Nonprofit Specialist. “COVID CHRONICLES” documents life under pandemic. Also write on sports, politics and life.