WHO opens door to extend the use of masks to limit spread of coronavirus

The World Health Organization said that they still believed the use of respirator masks should be focused mainly on medical workers, but opened the door to greater use of homemade masks or other mouth coverings as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

A senior WHO official told that there was some possibility of airborne transmission of the virus that has now infected over 1 million people worldwide, but the main driver was still believed to be symptomatic people who were coughing and sneezing and contaminating surfaces or other people.

“We must preserve medical surgical respirator masks for our frontline workers, but the idea of using respiratory coverings or mouth coverings to prevent coughing or sneezing… that in itself is not a bad idea,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert. He further said that would not negate the need for handwashing and social distancing.

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