Should you wear masks to protect against COVID-19? Experts, leaders give conflicting messages

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Trump administration appeared to be close to recommending many Americans wear face coverings while outside, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But the public continued to hear conflicting messages.

When it comes to whether people should wear masks while out in public, clearly, you do not end up with a 'one size fits all' answer.

California still does not require people to wear face coverings to protect against COVID 19.

But more and more people are wearing them. The state indicated masks could provide additional protection, but they weren't a substitute for social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

Dr. Jessica Mason said, "The state is now saying that in some regions it may be reasonable to advise the public to wear face coverings but they're leaving this up to individual counties., whether or not they want to go ahead and make that recommendation."

Dr. Mason works as an Emergency Medicine Physician with UCSF Fresno.

She said it is reasonable that certain people in certain circumstances wear face masks in public. Mason explained people should wear masks "...if they're going to be in an area where they're exposed to a lot of other people and especially if that person is at risk of contracting coronavirus, so if they're older in age or they have underlying health conditions or pregnant."

Experts have said many people who become infected are asymptomatic.

Dr. Mason added, "You may have the virus and not be showing symptoms of it or maybe just mild symptoms and you wearing a facemask when going out in public prevents you from spreading it to other people around you."

Dr. Mason explained general surgical masks weren't designed to protect against viruses but they probably offer some protection.

She also said if you have a large supply of N95 masks, don't wear them in public. Instead, they should be donated to a hospital where healthcare workers are in short supply of personal protective equipment.

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