Saying "the time is now," CDC Director Robert Redfield predicted that if every American committed to wearing a mask for the next month or two, the United States could get the spread of coronavirus under control.
"I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control," Redfield said.
Despite having previously downplayed the value of mask-wearing by the general population, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization now recommend it as an effective approach to slowing the spread of the virus.
Studies have shown that transmission of coronavirus happens most frequently through respiratory droplets expelled when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes. But with some experts suggesting that aerosolized transmission was also possible, meaning the virus could attach itself to particles and travel by air, the use of masks could prove to be even more critical than originally thought.
"With the potential for presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, widespread adoption of policies requiring face coverings in public settings should be considered to reduce the impact and magnitude of additional waves of COVID-19," the study published by the CDC said.
? Several states, including California and Texas, have already issued face covering requirements in public.