The coronavirus pandemic is driving more and more people to adopt protective equipment, especially gloves and masks. However, wearing these items often is not enough if you are not using them correctly. Experts are now advising people on how to wear face masks securely to keep COVID-19 at bay.
According to a report by CNN, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is re-evaluating its recommendations about the general public wearing masks if they have them. On Wednesday, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams appeared on The Today Show to talk about masks. He gave viewers three simple rules to follow to make the most of the protective gear: don't use an N95 mask, don't touch your face and stay at home.
Adams began by pointing out that there are different kinds of masks that work better in different contexts. For the general public looking to protect themselves on essential trips such as the grocery store, he said that the N95 masks are not necessary.
"If you're going to wear a face covering, please save the N95 masks for healthcare workers who need them," he said.
Meanwhile, he said that if people wearing a mask touch their faces, it defeats the purpose of the protective gear and may expose them to the virus.
"If you're going to wear a face covering, please try not to touch your face. Please be very, very careful about making sure you don't touch your face," he said.
Finally, Adams emphasized that masks are a last-ditch measure, but are no replacement for social distancing by any means. He advised people to stay at home as much as possible.
"Wearing a face covering does not mean that you don't have to practice social distancing. The most important thing you can do is stay at home right now, and we don’t want people to feel like 'OK I'm covering my face so now it's OK for me to go out in public,'" he said.
Adams' latest appearance on the news shows follows reports that the CDC might change its recommendation to the general public about wearing face masks. Previously, the CDC had said that people who were already sick should wear masks if possible, while people who are not have no reason to wear masks. With the U.S. now the global epicenter for the virus, however, the agency may reportedly change its recommendation.
Of course, that only matters if more masks become available. Medical professionals around the country have been suffering from a shortage of face masks and other protective equipment. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump came under fire for suggesting that they could simply use scarves instead.
For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the CDC's website.