“The consistent and correct use of face masks is an important public health strategy to reduce respiratory transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially in light of estimates that nearly half of new infections are transmitted by people without symptoms,” the Control Center summary On diseases who reads guidance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is gradually strengthening its recommendations for mask use. Henry Walk and colleagues Margaret Hunen of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention wrote: “overwhelming evidence now supports the benefits of cloth face masks for source control (to protect others) and, to a lesser extent, to protect the wearer.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team said the masks work so well that some communities should consider handing them out.
“A community-wide plan should be in place to distribute face masks to specific population groups, such as those who may face barriers to access,” the CDC team wrote in the agency’s weekly report.
“ Since the highest risks of transmission between household contacts of Covid-19 patients have been documented, maintaining family safety requires physical distancing, using other public health strategies summarized here, and in particular, the consistent and correct use of face masks (outside the home) in the family and in Some circumstances within the family) to prevent the introduction and transmission of the SARS-2 virus.
“To maintain the supply of N95 respirators for health care workers and other medical first responders, the CDC recommends non-engraved multi-layer fabric masks or non-medical disposable masks for community use,” the team added.
“Inside homes, face masks should be used when a family member has been infected or recently exposed to Covid-19.”
Physical distancing is important, too.
“Although it is difficult to separate the effect of physical distancing from other interventions, one study estimated that physical distancing reduced the average number of daily contacts by up to 74%,” they added. The CDC said consistent physical distancing can stop the spread.
The CDC team notes that crowded restaurants and events are particularly risky.
They write that “exposure in unnecessary indoor and crowded outdoor places is a preventable risk for all participants.”
“Indoor places, where distances are not maintained and the consistent use of face masks is not possible (eg, eating at a restaurant), have been identified as particularly high-risk scenarios. Crowded events outdoors have also been linked to the spread of SARS-CoV. -2, although it may be difficult to isolate the influence of crowded external events from related internal social interactions.
The team noted that because 40% or more of all people infected with Coronavirus have no symptoms, screening for symptoms – such as temperature checks – doesn’t help much.
Additionally, the test is not always foolproof due to the possibility of false negatives. So people need to do everything: wear masks, stay away from each other, ventilate indoors as much as possible, and wash hands frequently.
The test, however, is important. The CDC team said this is especially true for people who interact a lot with others and are more vulnerable. This includes people who work in crowded places or college students.
For example, nursing home staff must be tested frequently for their own benefit and thus not spread the virus to others.
And people need to recover results quickly so they can isolate whether they are infected – and warn their contacts not to spread the virus without their knowledge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team wrote: “These measures will provide a bridge to the future with widespread availability and high community coverage of effective vaccines, when a safe return to more daily activities in a range of settings is possible.”