I’ve been reading the last few days that the CDC is now advising Americans to wear face masks in public in the midst of the COVID-19 panic. But the WHO’s official position is that people should not wear masks unless they have coronavirus or are in contact with those who have it.
The Czech Republic has mandated face mask use when going out in public; Brazil has banned the wearing of face masks in public (though that, arguably, is a whole other issue). No one seems to agree on the issue.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that we are going to be facing a pretty critical face mask shortage very soon and that it will greatly hamper health care workers’ efforts to fight and contain the virus going forward.
Here’s a thought. Could we all sit down, take a breath and let go of the rabid panic long enough to make some sensible decisions? Maybe we should be reserving face masks for those who actually need them most — our health care workers on the front lines — instead of wantonly wasting this very limited resource early in the game.
COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while. The last reasonable estimates on a vaccine put its arrival at six months to a year out, if all goes well. If we’re serious about “flattening the curve,” then mask conservation is a no-brainer.