Covid-19

CDC: Cloth Masks Can Stem Coronavirus Spread

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging one and all to put on cloth face masks whenever they are outside to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In a statement issued on July 14, the CDC discussed two case studies, one within a Boston hospital system and the other in a Missouri hair salon, which showed that adherence to wearing cloth masks helped prevent spread of the virus. Public officials, local and federal, have been urging residents to wear masks to stem the virus' steady resurgence over the last few weeks. 

The Boston case study,  published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),  provided evidence that face coverings were able to prevent the transmission of the virus from patients to health care workers in “the largest health care system in Massachusetts with more than 75,000 employees.” According to the researchers, before implementation of universal masking policy in late March, COVID-19 infections caused by direct and indirect contact increased from 0 percent to 21.3 percent. After masks were put on, transmissions steadily diminished, from 14.7 percent to 11.5 percent.

The other study, reported in the CDC's  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showed that a masking policy helped prevent the transmission of COVID-19 from two disease-positive hair stylists in Missouri to their clients. None of the 67 clients who were tested for COVID-19 were positive. 

"We are not defenseless against COVID-19," CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in the statement. "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities."

Based on the latest World Health Organization data, the U.S. remains the epicenter of the pandemic with 3,344,783 confirmed cases to date. Worldwide, more than 13 million people have the virus, and more than one-half million deaths have been documented thus far.

coronavirus COVID-19 testing australia COVID-19 testing staff are seen at a pop-up site at Keilor Community Hub on June 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. A man in his 80s died overnight in Victoria from coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 20. The death is the first COVID-19 fatality for Victoria in many weeks and also comes as 20 new coronavirus cases were confirmed today. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday warned of another possible lockdown should cases continue to rise, and has extended the state of emergency for at least four weeks to allow police the power to enforce social distancing rules. Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

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