NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Much of the country seems to be split on whether the general public should be wearing masks outside the home to help slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Many experts advise wearing one only if you are sick or caring for someone that is sick, but social media doesn’t often follow the status quo, reports CBS2’s Nina Kapur.
The hashtag #Masks4All is a social media movement quickly gaining steam. It encourages anyone and everyone to cover the mouth and nose when out in public.
The PSA is largely credited with starting the movement at Masks4All.org. It was created in Prague and has been viewed more than 1.8 million times.
The narrator in the PSA stresses the group’s slogan: “When we both have a face mask, I protect you, you protect me.”
“There are studies proving even a homemade mask can be partially protective,” the woman says, arguing any protection over the mouth and nose is better than none – but CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez warns not to let a mask make you feel invincible.
“What you have to be careful with when you’re wearing masks is that you don’t develop this false sense of security,” said Gomez. “That ‘Oh, I’m okay here, I’m not going to get infected. I can touch my face more, readjust the mask, I’m not as concerned about social distancing.’ That doesn’t work. You have to still follow everything else.”
World Health Organization officials say they stand by the recommendation people not wear face masks unless they are sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is sick.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is considering changing his stance, but only once he can be sure the supply of masks for healthcare workers is secure.
“When we get in the situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks,” said Fauci.
Brooklyn resident Zeke Howard is a strong proponent of the #Masks4All campaign. He is urging people on Twitter to wear any protective layer over the face.
“I believe every new yorker should be making their own mask and wearing it when the quarantine lifts,” said Howard. “And then after that when the market catches up and healthcare workers have what they need everyone should be wearing N95 masks.”
Regardless of whether any national guidelines are changed, people are opting for a layer of defense over nothing, whether it be a surgical mask, DIY cloth mask, or bandana.
Medical experts urge anyone with surgical or N95 masks to donate those to healthcare workers to protect the frontline first and foremost.