The White House is expected to make a suggestion to United State citizens to wear cloth masks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID19, according to multiple media reports.
The new guidelines will be made based on suggestions from the Center for Disease Control and other leading health experts.
In a draft document obtained by STAT, the CDC recommended that the public use homemade face coverings when in public, reserving higher-grade protective equipment like N95 masks for hospitals and health care workers, who have faced severe shortages in personal protective equipment as the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated through the United States.
In Thursday’s White House press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, stressed that the updated guidance would be an “additive” protective measure and not meant as a substitute. The fear as that people will stop social distancing if the new measure is put in place
“When the advisory comes out, if it comes out, it will be an additive piece,” Birx said.
The guidance will suggest people to wear the coverings while in public, like grocery stores. Children under the age of 2 and people with existing breathing problems would be exempt.
The act of wearing masks in public has long been done in Asian countries, which are seeing a lower instance of the spread of COVID19.
President Trump stressed at the Thursday White House press briefing that the guideline will not be mandatory.
“If people wanted to wear them, they can,” Trump said. “If people wanted to use scarves, which they have, many people have them, they can. In many cases the scarf is better, it’s thicker.”