SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Should everyone be wearing facial coverings when out in public?

CDC officials are considering changing their official guidance to encourage people to take measures to cover their faces during the pandemic, a federal official tells the Washington Post.

At this time officials are discussing the consideration and nothing has been finalized.

The Post reports the recommendation that is being considered calls for using do-it-yourself facial coverings made from cloth, NOT medical masks (including surgical and N95) that are in short supply and needed by health care workers.

According to officials, DIY masks could potentially lower the risk the wearer has to be infected and transmit the virus to others.

However, officials noted that mask-wearing could give a person a false sense of security and lead some to potentially forget social distancing practices.

Scott Gottlieb, an internist and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, recently wrote a pandemic-response plan published by the Amerian Enterprise Institute.

In that plan, Gotlieb said during this initial phase of rapid community spread of the virus, “everyone, including people without symptoms, should be encouraged to wear nonmedical fabric face masks while in public.”

Jeffrey Duchin, a top health official in Seattle and King County, Washington, which reported the first widespread coronavirus outbreak in the US, said the health department there does not recommend that people who are not sick wear a mask, both because the benefit is uncertain and because of the face mask shortage for health care workers.

“It’s also possible that mask-wearing might increase the risk for infection if other recommendations (like hand washing and distancing) are less likely to be followed or if the mask is contaminated and touched,” Duchin said.

Health experts worry that if the general public seeks facial protection, this would take away masks from the limited inventory in dire need by health care workers.

You may recall surgeon general Jerome Adams last month urging the public to “STOP WEARING MASKS.”

For now the CDC maintains proper social distancing measures and frequent hand washing remain the top best ways to prevent transmission of the virus.

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