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CDC Should Broaden Its Guidelines About Masks
April 1, 2020- According to CDC and World Health Organization guidelines, only the sick and their caretakers should wear face masks. But the CDC is considering broadening its guidelines and should do so immediately, says public health expert Dr. David Larsen.
Dr. Larsen’s essay “Homemade cloth face masks to fight the COVID-19 pandemic; a call for mass public masking with homemade cloth masks” was published Tuesday on SocArXiv, an open archive of the social sciences. He is available for an interview to discuss how face masks are as important as social distancing to help reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
Dr. Larsen is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health at Syracuse University’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Dr. Larsen specializes in global health, infectious disease epidemiology and malaria, child survival and mobile health. He has been interviewed about COVID-19 by several media outlets, including WJLA TV in Washington, D.C., Spectrum News Central New York, and WRVO Public Media.
For use in your stories, here’s what Dr. Larsen says about the need for people to sew their own face masks and use them:
“The entire country should be wearing face masks in public to help reduce transmission of coronavirus. The CDC and WHO claim there is a lack of evidence around mass face masks in public, but there is as much evidence for face masks as there is for social distancing.
“We are rightfully closing our schools, shuttering our businesses, and disrupting our social lives. We need to bring anything that can work to the fight, and face masks may help. There are no randomized studies to rely on to guide our interventions. But evidence from historical studies, filtration experiments, and observational studies all suggest that when the entire community wears a face mask in public the transmission of respiratory infections will decrease.”
“Yet the hospitals also face shortages of face masks and N95 respirators. So we need to challenge the public to both sew one billion cloth face masks and use these face masks when going out. Free templates are available online, and these cloth masks are effective at preventing infectious disease transmission. Wearing these face masks in public at all times can help further flatten the curve beyond what social distancing can achieve alone.”
Thank you for your consideration. To request an interview with Dr. Larsen or for more information, please contact:
Media Relations Specialist
Division of Marketing and Communications
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