If you remember back to the start of the coronavirus outbreak, health professionals were saying that face masks were useless against the disease, but why?
Back in February, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted out "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!". This tweet is still online today, and is completely contradictory to what is being recommended now. So, why flip the recommendation?
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the reason for the initial recommendation to everyone to not buy face masks was because the public health community was concerned with the stockpile of personal protective equipment. Dr. Fauci recently spoke to The Street, and said, "The public health community, and many people were saying this, (was) concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N-95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply."
Dr. Fauci continued, and said, "Now we have masks, and we know that you don't need an N95 if you're an ordinary person in the street. We also know that simple cloth coverings that many people have can work as well as a mask in many cases."
Basically, the original advise to not purchase masks was not because they were ineffective at preventing the coronavirus (even though that wasn't confirmed at the time), but instead to protect healthcare workers from potentially not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to battle the virus on the front line. Since the initial recommendation of not purchasing masks, there has been numerous study's promoting that face masks combined with social distancing are the only ways of effectively preventing a person/s from contracting the virus until a vaccine, or treatment is rolled out.
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