CDC may reconsider advising people not to wear masks in public

Don’t wear a mask in public if you’re not sick.

That’s the advice we’ve been hearing from top health officials for months, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be reconsidering it.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said masks can help us turn the tide in the fight against the coronavirus.

“When someone who is infected is wearing a mask, they’re much less likely to transmit infection,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb recently wrote a roadmap to recovery for the country, which has an entire section devoted to encouraging the public to wear masks.

His message has made its way to the White House.

“I saw his suggestion on that, so we’ll take a look at it,” said President Donald Trump.

A study funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, finds that any type of mask use, even homemade ones, has the potential to lower a community’s viral exposure and infection risk.

But experts like Robert Hawkes, director of Florida Gulf Coast University’s physician assistant program, said that masks alone aren’t enough.

“They’re not maintained for a tight seal, it’s easy to breathe in other air particles that may be present.”

Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Collaboration, said to be most effective, masks should be combined with the other methods you’re already using.

“There is no question that the mask and the personal hygiene and the distancing combination reduces the risk of infection with any respiratory virus,” Jefferson said.

Leading Southwest Florida health leaders said their guidance to you remains the same.

“… if it gets to the point that the CDC is urging the use of masks anytime someone leaves their house, that is even more of a signal to stay home unless absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health.

If the CDC changes guidelines, experts said the masks, even the homemade ones, would be helpful in stopping the person wearing it from spreading anything, but all experts are recommending everyone just stay home to stop the spread.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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