There may be some confusion on whether Americans should invest in face masks or not, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams understands why.
Adams originally instructed Americans to stop buying masks as he deemed them ineffective in stopping the spread and acknowledged health care providers needed them more.
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching [coronavirus] but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” Adams tweeted.
The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness.
Get your #FluShot– fewer flu patients = more resources for#COVID19
— Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
Adams addressed the flip-flopping during Wednesday’s coronavirus task force briefing.
“I understand why the American public has been confused over time,” Adams said.
Watch his remarks below:
Adams explained the task force initially based their premise on the belief masks were not proven to be effective in preventing the person wearing the mask from contracting the coronavirus. He reiterated those comments came as health care workers were also in need of masks because they were at-risk.
Adams pointed to the discovery of how the coronavirus is spread as the factor that changed the way the task force looked at the use of face masks.
“We found out that unlike past viruses that are spread through the respiratory route, a significant proportion of coronavirus cases can be traced back to asymptomatic spread,” Adams said.
Based on that information, the task force recommended face masks are “still not effective” in “a significant way” preventing the person wearing the mask from contracting the coronavirus, as Adams says.
The task force now believes those experiencing symptoms should wear masks as that will prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Adams, when the task force discovered 25% to 50% of Americans are spreading the coronavirus asymptomatically, they instructed them to wear cloth masks to prevent asymptomatic spread.
Adams reminded Americans masks are “not a substitute for social distancing.” He urged the public to continue to practice handwashing and to save medical masks, N95, for the health care workers.
Adams closed his remarks claiming the recommendation to wear masks changed because the information surrounding the coronavirus changed.
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