CDC Updates Guidance on Mask Effectiveness

After several months of conducted studies, research has shown that the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmitted predominantly by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe.

“Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to the CDC’s recent scientific brief, observational and epidemiological studies demonstrate that wearing a cloth mask can offer protections from contracting COVID-19. In response, the CDC has updated its guidance on the effectiveness of wearing cloth masks to include protections for the wearer of the mask, in addition to preventing the spread of COVID-19; and stated that individual prevention benefits increase when a multitude of people wear and use masks consistently and correctly, ultimately benefiting the overall community.

In addition to individual and community studies, the CDC referenced an analysis conducted by Goldman Sachs of the United States’ economic impacts of mask use. According to the analysis, increasing mask use by 15% could help prevent the need for lockdowns and reduce losses associated with the pandemic by up to $1 trillion in the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP).

Keep in mind, the CDC continues to monitor mask effectiveness and realizes further research will be necessary to expand the evidence behind the protective effect of cloth masks, including studies that evaluate the effectiveness of different types of masks and combinations of preventive materials. Therefore, it is essential for every individual to do their part by following CDC guidelines to keep yourself, and those around you, safe and healthy.

Current CDC guidance remains that community use of masks can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other measures such as social distancing, hand-washing and using adequate ventilation systems.

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