Officials are now recommending people wear non-medical face masks in Canada
Wearing masks in Canada has been a controversial topic throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, but it seems health officials and politicians may finally have a clear-cut answer for Canadians.
On Monday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam announced that health officials are now advising Canadians wear homemade, non-medical masks in the community.
While Tam reiterated that wearing a mask won't protect you from contracting COVID-19, she acknowledged that wearing masks may prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the virus.
"A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others...so wearing a non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. It is an additional way that you can protect others," said Dr. Tam. pic.twitter.com/Q56Sfee5x4— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) April 6, 2020
"Wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms, is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you in situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain," Tam said.
"A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others or land on surfaces."
She cited public transit and grocery shopping as high-traffic places where masks may be beneficial.
Dr Tam NEW advice: wearing a non-medical mask even without symptoms is a measure you can take in places where physical distancing is hard to keep like transit or a grocery story.— Rosemary Barton (@RosieBarton) April 6, 2020
Ontario Premier Doug Ford echoed Tam's words, saying that he thinks it's a "good idea" to wear masks in the community — so long as you're not taking masks away from frontline workers.
Tam and Ford both reiterated that all medical-grade masks should be allocated to the healthcare workers that rely on them, especially considering the PPE shortage across Canada.
Ford on advice for people to now wear non-medical masks in public: “I think it’s a good idea, if you can make them”...but says frontline workers have to get the official n95 masks #onpoli— Laura Stone (@l_stone) April 6, 2020
The new advice from Canadian officials is in line with CDC guidelines, which recommend wearing cloth masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially "in areas of significant community-based transmission."
The World Health Organization supports governments encouraging citizens to wear a cloth mask, saying that there "may be situations where the wearing of masks may reduce the rate at which infected individuals may infect others."
The Canadian government continues to advise social distancing and hand washing as the best methods to prevent contracting COVID-19.
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