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CDC recommends cloth face coverings based on recent studies

By Staff | Apr 10, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. It now knows 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, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (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. The 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.

This recommendation complements and does not replace the president’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread,which remains the cornerstone of the national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.