Global Health Expert Says Public May Use Cloth Masks

Apr 1, 2020

Hand-sewn cloth masks could be used by the general population in combating a coronavirus spread, Emory University School of Medicine Executive Associate Dean Dr. Carlos Del Rio said Wednesday in a Facebook Q&A.

This suggestion is a departure from early recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization officials advising against civilians wearing masks. However, as doctors learn more about the coronavirus, recommendations for preventing it are evolving including guidance on masks.



Still, the best thing the general population can do for the time being is stay home in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 


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“I’ve been telling people let’s erase April from the calendar," Del Rio said. "If between April 1 and April 30 we all went into a national shutdown and we did that, I think we’d be in a better position.”


While it is possible coronavirus may return later in the year, it should be easier to address next time once widespread testing is available and anti-viral drugs are found effective, Del Rio said. A vaccine is likely to take longer, he advised, but serological testing to see who has already had the disease should be available by the end of April.