The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reversed its stance on masks as the U.S. surpasses 100,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day.
Prior to this latest proclamation, the CDC said that masks were mostly effective for stopping those with covid-19 from spreading it to others.
Now it says that wearing a face mask doesn’t just protect others from catching the coronavirus, it also protects the wearer, the CDC is now saying in a reversal of messaging.
The new CDC guidance comes as the pandemic is worsening in much of the country. Covid-19 cases have reached 10,588,998 in the U.S. with 246,092 deaths, according to Worldometers.
In a scientific brief published Nov. 10, the CDC said that while “masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets,” they “also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer.”
The new CDC guidance pointed to a number of studies showing that masks reduce the risk of transmitting or catching the virus by more than 70 percent in various instances, CNN reported.
In one study, mutual mask-use helped prevent two infected hair stylists from passing the virus to 67 clients. Another study followed infected people who spent more than 10 hours on flights without infecting other passengers when masks were used. And, in several scenarios, when officials told people to wear masks, infections and deaths decreased substantially, the CDC pointed out.
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“Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the CDC said. “The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer…Individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”
Mask wearing will also help improve the economy, said the CDC.
An analysis using U.S. data found that “increasing universal masking by 15 percent could prevent the need for lockdowns and reduce associated losses of up to $1 trillion, or about 5 percent of gross domestic product,” MarketWatch reported.
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