Centers of Disease Control & Prevention
Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
The BMJ: leading general medical journal
In the face of a pandemic the search for perfect evidence may be the enemy of good policy. As with parachutes for jumping out of aeroplanes,38 it is time to act without waiting for randomised controlled trial evidence. Masks are simple, cheap, and potentially effective. We believe that, worn both in the home (particularly by the person showing symptoms) and also outside the home in situations where meeting others is likely (for example, shopping, public transport), they could have a substantial impact on transmission with a relatively small impact on social and economic life.
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Using face masks in the community
The use of non-medical face masks made of various textiles could be considered, especially if – due to supply problems – medical face masks must be prioritised for use as personal protective equipment by healthcare workers. This is based on limited indirect evidence supporting the use of non-medical face masks as a means of source control.
The use of face masks in the community should be considered only as a complementary measure and not as a replacement for established preventive measures, for example physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, meticulous hand hygiene and avoiding touching the face, nose, eyes and mouth. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19-use-face-masks-community.pdf
School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia
Facemasks for the prevention of infection in healthcare and community settings.
Of the nine trials of facemasks identified in community settings, in all but one, facemasks were used for respiratory protection of well people. They found that facemasks and facemasks plus hand hygiene may prevent infection in community settings, subject to early use and compliance.
World Health Organisation
Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19
WHO stresses that it is critical that medical masks and respirators be prioritized for health care workers. The use of masks made of other materials (e.g., cotton fabric), also known as nonmedical masks, in the community setting has not been well evaluated. There is no current evidence to make a recommendation for or against their use in this setting.
WHO is collaborating with research and development partners to better understand the effectiveness and efficiency of nonmedical masks. WHO is also strongly encouraging countries that issue recommendations for the use of masks in healthy people in the community to conduct research on this critical topic. WHO will update its guidance when new evidence becomes available.
In the interim, decision makers may be moving ahead with advising the use of nonmedical masks. Where this is the case, the following features related to nonmedical masks should be taken into consideration:
- Numbers of layers of fabric/tissue
- Breathability of material used
- Water repellence/hydrophobic qualities
- Shape of mask
- Fit of mask
To mask or not to mask
Research on aerosolization of the covid-19 virus