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CDC now recommends all Americans wear cloth masks to mitigate spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Face coverings can be made at home

DETROIT – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all Americans wear a cloth mask over their face to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Views on face coverings have shifted since the pandemic first began.

Originally, it was believed that the virus was spread through large respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. Experts now believe there is a significant amount of spread linked to people who aren’t showing symptoms -- meaning it could be transmitted by fine aerosol from talking or breathing.

Additionally, there is a high level of community spread, and it should be assumed that anyone you come in contact with could be infected. Because of this, wearing a mask could prevent people who don’t know they have COVID-19 from spreading it to other people.

The CDC suggests Americans voluntarily wear cloth facial coverings, which can be made at home. Surgical masks and N-95 masks should not be used so they can be available for health care workers.

It’s important to note that masks should not be a substitute for other more effective methods of slowing the spread of the virus, including hand washing, staying home and practicing social distancing.

Watch how to make a face covering below:

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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