Top Medical Doctor Recommends Wearing Face Mask

Grant Boone
April 7, 2020

Tam said that science has evolved quickly in the COVID-19 pandemic, and now there is evidence to show that some infected people are contagious and able to spread the virus within a couple of days before they start showing symptoms.

Tam, however, warned against people going out and trying to buy official protective masks, adding that such PPE (personal protective equipment) must be reserved for frontline workers.

As a result, public health authorities have concluded that non-medical masks can help prevent the wearer from spreading the virus to others in places where physical distancing is hard.

The World Health Organization said Monday it was "evaluating" the use of medical and non-medical masks.

Scientific knowledge of COVID-19 continues to grow and it is clear that transmission of the virus is happening more often than previously recognized from infected people right before they develop symptoms, something called presymptomatic transmission, Tam said.

The federal advice follows a similar message last Friday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Rather, "it is an additional way that you can protect others".

"When you're outside, maintaining physical distance works, and we've seen that here in B.C.", she said during a daily briefing on the spread of COVID-19.

The federal government has unveiled a new interactive dashboard of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. She said "most concerning are new outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care facilities in several provinces".

"Masks may give a person a false sense of security & are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face - to adjust the mask, etc", said the agency in a January update.

But she said it's important that Canadians do not relax their efforts to cover their coughs, to wash their hands and to practice physically distancing.

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