Dr. Matt McCarthy, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, tweeted on Saturday that the Center for Disease Control would be changing guidelines to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Specifically, Dr. McCarthy stated Americans across the board would be told to wear masks as a precaution.
NEW: CDC guidance on masks expected to change in next 10 days. Americans will be advised to wear masks in everyday life. Current recommendation is for high-risk groups only.— Matt McCarthy (@DrMattMcCarthy) March 28, 2020
The CDC replied to his tweet, saying that is currently false and they have no plans to update their guidelines.
CDC does not have updated guidance scheduled to come out on this topic. See current CDC guidance regarding the use of facemasks: https://t.co/DiX7VzdqDp— CDC (@CDCgov) March 28, 2020
Even though the CDC replied to Dr. McCarthy telling him what he said is false, the tweet still exists.
When Americans see tweets like this from medical professionals, especially ones that are in a place of authority, like a professor of medicine at an Ivy League college, they take it seriously. They take it as a fact.
But here's the most dangerous aspect: our medical professionals who are on the front lines are already facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Masks, gowns and gloves are becoming a luxury in the medical field, which is absolutely unacceptable.
People are scared about the Wuhan coronavirus and it's understandable. We don't know how many cases we're going to see or how many people are going to die as a result. All we can do is practice social distancing and continue practicing good hygiene. Taking PPE from our medical professionals puts them at greater risk, which means there are fewer health care providers to take care of those who are actually sick.
How have you not deleted this post? You have an on the record response from CDC directly contradicting this.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) March 28, 2020
With a mad scramble to get masks to hospitals that need them your inaccurate information will lead individuals to keep them from front-line healthcare workers.
We need our medical professionals to have the masks first. It's dangerous to advise the general population to seek masks at a time when doctors and nurses are going without masks. This could worsen the situation.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 28, 2020
I can tell you from personal experience that a shortage of PPE is a very big problem. My mom, who is a chemo nurse, was given one reusable mask to wear while giving treatment to her cancer patients. My husband's aunt is a nurse in a nursing home, which is where the Wuhan coronavirus is the most rampant. Weeks ago they were told they could only get one mask per shift (which is normally 12 hours). Now they're completely out of masks, and the CDC told them the best they could do is wear bandanas so they have some kind of protection.
The last thing we need is people rushing to the stores to buy the few masks that are available. If you want to protect yourself when you're out grocery shopping or getting gas, please consider wearing a bandana or sewing your own reusable mask. We have to do everything in our power to protect those who are on the front lines.
This is a lie. Look at @CDCgov's response to you. Quit telling people to buy up PPE when our medical professionals can't even get their hands on them! Nurses in my family are having to wear bandanas and homemade masks. This just makes things even worse for them. Take it down.— Beth Baumann (@eb454) March 28, 2020