WASHINGTON — Some experts are now advising that all Americans should consider wearing non-medical masks to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, even ones you make yourself.
As government officials consider revising their guidance to the public, they also worry that any recommendation that causes people to buy up face masks needed by medical professionals, or that gives a false sense of security, will do more harm than good.
"You don't want to take masks away from the health care providers who are in a real and present danger of getting infected," NIH institute of allergy and infectious diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN. "That would be the worst thing we do."
Johns Hopkins’ director of the Center for Health Security tweeted, "Members of the general public SHOULD wear nonmedical fabric face masks..."
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Thousands of YouTubers have posted how-to videos for DIY masks that can be created out of fabric and other materials at home.
Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study that concludes: "Professional and homemade face masks reduce exposure to respiratory infections among the general public."
But researchers like Anna Davies who did work for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom warns there are not enough studies to draw firm conclusions.
"Homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection," Davies' said. "Provided you're not doing anything different from what you would be doing without a mask, that would not be inherently dangerous."
Davies underlined the importance of continuing to follow stay at home orders, maintaining social distancing when going in public for essential trips, and practicing frequent handwashing whether you are wearing a mask or not.