Should all Pennsylvanians start wearing face masks? Four local experts weigh in.

All agree: Save medical-grade masks for frontline workers who need them.
Guidance around wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic is getting murkier by the day.From the start, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and the World Health Organization have recommended that face masks only be worn by those who are sick or caring for someone who is sick. “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted on Feb. 29.

Yet while Western authorities warned against face masks for the general population, many Asian nations did the opposite. The Chinese Center for Disease Control recommends face masks be worn when out in public; South Korea has been vigorously stocking its pharmacies with masks; and, since early February, Taiwan has rationed its mask sales to two per person each week.

According to recent reports, the American government’s official position could soon change. The CDC is considering altering its guidance to encourage the general public to wear face masks, the Washington Post reported on Monday. And Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force is seriously considering adopting similar guidance, according to Politico, as long as doing so wouldn’t take resources away from medical professionals.

In an effort to get to the bottom of the issue, PublicSource sought to curate additional feedback from four local experts on the question: Should all Pennsylvanians start wearing face masks? The main takeaways: save medical-grade masks for healthcare workers. If you do choose to wear a mask, make sure to wear it properly and diligently continue other mitigation efforts, like hand-washing and strict social distancing.

Protective masks adorn the sculpture of Seneca leader Guyasuta and George Washington on Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)

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Should all Pennsylvanians start wearing face masks? Four local experts weigh in.

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