While many people have rushed to buy facemasks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the CDC announced that it does not recommend that people who are not sick wear a facemask to protect themselves from the disease, as it depletes the supply for those who actually need them.
"Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)," clarified the CDC on their website.
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked the general public to stop buying masks.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
"Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!" he wrote. "They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!"
The CDC stated that the best way for people to prevent infection is to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; to avoid contact with sick people; to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth; to stay home when they are sick; to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue; and to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
There have been 85,997 confirmed cases of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus reported around the world. Some 68 of those cases have been reported in the United States. At the time of writing, 2,941 people have died due to the disease.