The White House Task Force could soon recommend that Americans wear masks

Apr 1, 2020 10:55 PM ET

Trump signaled that he was open to the idea during Tuesday’s White House briefing, and task force members are working on recommendations on how to design the covers to prevent the virus from spreading.

“My feeling is, if people want to do it, it won’t hurt. I would say do it,” Trump said on Tuesday. “But if you want, use a scarf, you know? Instead of going out and getting a mask or whatever.”

His comments reflect the growing belief among administrators that more needs to be done to prevent the spread of the virus by infected people who show no symptoms. According to health experts, a covering of the nose and mouth could prevent the virus from reaching other people.

Previously, some members of the task force ̵1; including Dr. Deborah Birx – in sessions before recommending that Americans wear masks because they feared that they might be wrongly protected and prevent them from socializing.

However, new knowledge about the asymptomatic spread of the virus has led to a re-examination of the guidelines.

“Now we have learned about this disease – and we have always said we will learn more, we will adapt – and we have learned that there is a reasonable amount of asymptomatic spread, and we have.” has asked the CDC to take another look at whether more people are wearing masks to prevent the spread of the disease to other people, “said General Surgeon Dr. Jerome Adams on ABC” Good Morning America “on Wednesday.

Issues discussed by the Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention included how Americans learn to wear masks and how to prevent medical devices like N95 respirators, which are still in short supply for hospitals, from being in a hurry.

There has also been discussion about the cultural change that the recommendation of masks would mean, as Americans (unlike citizens of some Asian countries) are not used to wearing masks in public.

And it was considered whether the recommended face coverings should be called “masks” or not. Some have suggested simply calling them “face masks” or “courtesy masks” to distinguish them from the medical masks needed by those in the art.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said he would “tend” to recommend that the public wear face masks “unless we have the problem of removing masks from the healthcare workers who need them.”
During a recording for the podcast “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction” on Wednesday, Fauci told Dr. CNN’s Sanjay Gupta said face masks in the White House would be a “topic of conversation”.

“Especially now that we get some evidence that an infection is being transmitted by an asymptomatic person who doesn’t cough, doesn’t sneeze, who just looks good. Now how do you think this happens?” Fauci said. “It could very well be aerosol. Maybe not aerosol, you know, it goes on for hours. But even the light aerosol you talk to someone in. If that is the case, we should at least look at the data and try one Make a decision about it. “

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence that masks prevent the transmission of respiratory diseases, some experts have argued that non-medical tissue masks could reduce the risk of transmission.

During the previous pandemic, the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised against the use of masks by the general public unless they are already ill.

“Something doesn’t have to be 100% effective to be an advantage,” said Fauci.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway reiterated on Wednesday that the possibility of postponing the CDC guidelines to recommend Americans to wear masks was “still hypothetical” but “with active consideration”.

She added, “Please respect the fact that we need to increase this stock for our healthcare workers and first responders.”

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