The World Health Organization issued a new recommendation regarding the novel virus. Healthy people only wear masks when taking care of someone infected with the contagion. As Fox News reports, the new advice is just a sharp contrast from the advice given by American public health officials who recommend everyone wear a mask in public.
The public health specialist for the WHO says that healthy people haven’t obliged to wear a face mask, including those who don’t exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
“If you do not have any repository symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask,” Dr April Baller says in a video on the world health body’s website. He insists that the face-covering can give people a “false feeling of protection”.
“Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough,” the WHO experts added.
The recent WHO recommendation differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which urges all people to wear a mask or face-covering in public settings, regardless of infection or not, to limit the spread of the virus.
Explaining that its recommendation, CDC says that recent studies showed that a significant portion of individuals with COVID lack symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (‘pre-symptomatic’) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
Moreover, CDC mask guidance says that in light of this new evidence, “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
However, Dr Baller from WHO noted that masks can give people a “false feeling of protection” and noted that sick individuals should wear one to prevent transmitting the virus to others.
Face masks are useless for healthy people: WHO
While WHO and CDC give contradictory recommendations on face mask, the separate study released earlier this month also divided scientists on the effectiveness of wearing masks.
Last month, the CDC recommended that people wear nonsurgical face coverings when out in public after previously advising only health care workers and people exhibiting symptoms to do so. A new study suggests that wearing masks could cut COVID-19 cases by 80 percent if people heeded the advice.
“Universal masking at 80 [percent] adoption flattens the curve significantly more than maintaining a strict lockdown,” a group of international researchers wrote in the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The authors noted that countries and regions — Macau, Beijing, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan — with histories of wearing masks have seen huge reductions in the number of COVID cases after reaching their peak.