The World Health Organization is now advising everyone to wear face masks in public when they can’t practice social distancing, an about-face from its earlier guidance on stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the shift Friday, citing new evidence that showed face masks worn by healthy people could be “a barrier for potentially infectious droplets,” the BBC reported.
WHO had always advised that sick people and their caretakers should wear medical face masks. The new guidance advises healthy people to wear non-medical face masks.
WHO officials for months have stood firm that a healthy person would get a false sense of security from wearing a mask and would use up supplies needed by medical professionals.
New York already has a mandate for everyone to wear a face mask if they can’t stay at least 6 feet apart.
New studies, however, show people can be highly infectious in the few days before they show symptoms or can catch the virus and never show symptoms.