WHO, U.S. Considering Guidance Encouraging People To Wear Masks In Public To Prevent Coronavirus Spread; Asymptomatic People Could Spread Virus, Study Suggests

AP: More evidence indicates healthy people can spread virus
“Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, and the federal government issued new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier. A study by researchers in Singapore became the latest to estimate that somewhere around 10% of new infections may be sparked by people who carry the virus but have not yet suffered its flu-like symptoms…” (Stobbe, 4/1).

The Guardian: WHO considers changing guidance on wearing face masks
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering changing its guidance on whether people should wear face masks in public, prompted by new evidence that suggests doing so could help contain the pandemic. The WHO, and the U.K. government, currently advise that face masks do not play a major role in protecting people from infection outside healthcare settings. But there are growing calls for this stance to be reviewed, with suggestions that the widespread use of face masks may have played a role in containing outbreaks in some Asian countries…” (Devlin/Campbell, 4/1).

Washington Post: White House expected to urge Americans to wear face coverings in public to slow spread of coronavirus
“The White House is poised to urge Americans to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, in a reversal of earlier advice. … White House coronavirus task force officials have been considering whether to recommend that face coverings be routinely worn in public because of increasing evidence that infected people without symptoms can spread the virus, according to internal memos and new guidance provided to the White House by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Sun/Dawsey, 4/2).

Additional coverage of the use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the risk of transmission from asymptomatic people is available from The Atlantic, Science, STAT, and The Telegraph.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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