There’s a reason so many Americans are skeptical about being told to wear a face mask—in March we had NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci saying they mostly served to make people feel better but were more or less pointless. Then he changed his tune earlier this month, praising Americans wearing masks, saying it should be a regular part of how people can help prevent spreading coronavirus. Indeed, this is now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s position—that people should wear masks in public.
"We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms ('asymptomatic') and that even those who eventually develop symptoms ('pre-symptomatic') can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms," the CDC guidance on masks says. "In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain."
But as Fox News pointed out, the World Health Organization appears to be on a different page. Here’s what their recommendations say:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
"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, a WHO public health specialist, says in a video on the site. "Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough."