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Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the message from Western public health authorities has been pretty uniform in stating that the public at large shouldn’t be wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even sent an all-caps message to all Americans in late February imploring them to “STOP BUYING MASKS!” because they are “NOT effective” for the general public. Experts, however, aren’t so sure that’s the case, particularly considering that health authorities in some Asian countries have been calling on everyone to wear face masks to prevent the virus from spreading.
“It’s not to protect yourself. It’s to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract.” Plus if everyone is wearing them it reduces any stigma attached to the face masks themselves.