CDC updates its recommendation on masks
UPDATED GUIDANCE - MASKS
Considerations for Wearing Masks (November 4, 2020) CDC
Evidence for Effectiveness of MasksMasks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Feasibility and AdaptationsCDC recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one. For example,
· People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear masks if they rely on lip-reading to communicate. Consider using a clear mask or consider whether you can use written communication, closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a mask that blocks your lips.
· People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions or other sensory sensitivities, may have challenges wearing a mask.
· Younger children (e.g., preschool or early elementary aged) may be unable to wear a mask properly, particularly for an extended period of time. Wearing of masks may be prioritized at times when it is difficult to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others (e.g., during carpool drop off or pick up, or when standing in line at school). Ensuring proper mask size and fit and providing children with frequent reminders and education on the importance and proper wear of masks may help address these issues.
· People should not wear masks while engaged in activities that may cause the mask to become wet, like when swimming at the beach or pool. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe.
· People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.
· People who work in a setting where masks may increase the risk of heat-related illnessor cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery) may consult with an occupational safety and health professional to determine the appropriate mask for their setting. Find more information here.
Masks with Exhalation Valves or VentsThe purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
Face ShieldsA face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. The CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks. Wearing a mask may not be feasible in every situation for some people Here are some considerations for individuals who must wear a face shield instead of a mask:
· The available data suggest the following face shields may provide better source control than others:
· Face shields that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin.
· Hooded face shields.