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CDC recommends use of cloth face coverings to help slow spread of COVID-19

 


From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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 N95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

This recommendation complements and does not replace the president’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread, available online at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/coronavirus-guidelines-america, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.

A CDC release on using face masks says:

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.

CDC also advises 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.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children younger than 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 N95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?

Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?

A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

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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

 

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