Guidelines for Wearing Masks in Public Places

1. Parker-Pope, T. (2020, April 5). Should I Start Wearing a Mask?. New York Times.
2. Tucker, E., Miller, Z., Schneider, M. (2020, April 4). Face Coverings Recommended, but Trump Says He Won't Wear One. Boston Herald.
3. Soe-Lin, S., Hecht, R. (2020, March 19). Guidance Against Wearing Masks For the Coronavirus Is Wrong – You Should Cover Your Face. Boston Globe.
4. Silver-Greenberg, J., … Kitsantonis, N. (2020, April 2). White House Debates How Far To Go on Face Mask Guidelines. New York Times.

Review written by:

Anna Huang, edited by Jingwen Zhang


Guidelines for the use of facial coverings in public settings in the U.S. have been hotly debated as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As of April 3, the CDC has officially recommended that all people use facial coverings when in public to avoid further spread of the disease, especially by asymptomatic carriers.

Original guidelines advised that only people who are symptomatic or known to be sick should use facial coverings to limit transmitting droplets to uninfected people. However, as the rate of infection has increased exponentially, especially in NYC, the CDC has amended their guidelines. They recommend that lay people use a simple bandana, scarf, or face covering in public settings, rather than the medical and surgical masks that should be reserved for healthcare workers. Protective garments also prevent infectious spread by discouraging face touching.

The largest barrier to the use of facial coverings in America is stigmatization and the implication that one is sick. In other countries that have successfully “flattened the curve,” particularly in Asia, the preventive use of face masks by healthy individuals was socially acceptable and widely implemented during the pandemic.

Review Notes


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