Even with cloth face masks, local doctor says good hygiene, social distancing still best defense

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s more and more confusion and a lot of questions over who should be wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said only those who are sick and health care workers needed to wear one.

But people have debated the issue worldwide, as some cities like New York City and Los Angeles moved toward everyone wearing some sort of facial cover in effort to stop the virus’ spread.

“It could be a scarf. It could be something you create at home yourself. It could be a bandanna,” New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said during a press conference.

Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its tune, announcing Friday it now recommends people wear cloth or fabric face coverings to stop the spread of the virus.

RELATED: CDC recommends use of cloth face coverings; Trump says he won’t wear one

But President Donald Trump told reporters he doesn’t see himself following the CDC’s recommendation and wearing one.

Regardless, Ginny Boos, director of infection prevention for Saint Luke’s Health System, said the best defense is still good hygiene.

“The best thing they can do to protect themselves is social distancing, really good hand hygiene, good environment and personal grooming or cleaning,” she said.

Boos said wearing masks can create a false sense of security, but she believes they do have some added benefits.

“There is some logic, and some that is good in wearing a mask, that allows you to be more mindful of not touching you nose or your mouth,” Boos said.

“But if you are not sick, you are not really trying to protect anything, you are trying to keep from inhaling. If you are not using something that filters the particles out in a very thorough way, it will have a little effect.”

According to the CDC, medical-grade masks, particularly N-95 masks, would be reserved for those dealing directly with the sick.

The details are still being debated, but the agency will likely suggest non-medical masks, t-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home.

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