CDC recommends Americans wear face masks while in public

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that Americans wear cloth face coverings out in public.

President Trump announced in a Coronavirus Task Force briefing Friday afternoon, emphasizing that the guidance is “voluntary.”

The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.

“We have always recommended that symptomatic people wear a mask because if you’re coughing, if you have a fever, if you’re symptomatic, you could transmit disease to other people,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said at the White House Friday. “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms … This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, for example, coughing, speaking, or sneezing, even if those people were not exhibiting symptoms.”

Because masks are in such short supply, public-health experts have stressed that surgical masks should still be saved chiefly for healthcare workers (and caretakers) who are more exposed to the virus than the general public.

“The CDC is recommending that Americans wear a basic cloth or fabric mask, that can be either purchased online, or simply made at home, probably material that you’d have at home,” Trump said. “The CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks. We want that to be used for our great medical people that are working so hard and doing some job.”