Coronavirus: The Latest

Medical professionals discuss whether general public should be wearing masks

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – To mask or not to mask when you leave the house.

At this time it’s a personal choice but the federal government is considering whether to encourage people to wear them.

“The idea of getting a more broad community wide use of masks outside the health care setting is under very active discussion,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. 

Bay Area infectious disease specialists say the only advantage of wearing a mask would be to prevent giving the virus to someone else, especially if you don’t know you have it.

“The masks don’t protect you, they protect others from you,” Dr. George Rutherford said. 

And while UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. George Rutherford says that may be enough of a reason to recommend it, other medical experts say the costs may outweigh the benefits.

“It gives you a false sense of security, you may think I have the mask, I don’t have to be 6-feet from somebody else, not true. Not a lot of great evidence the mask will protect you in the first place and if you get within 6-feet can get COVID or at least there’s a good chance,” Dr. John Swartzberg said. 

UC Berkeley Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Swartzberg fears those wearing a mask touch their face more often, which is exactly not what you want.  

He also says health care workers must remain first in line for masks.

“If people start wearing those and start hoarding them they won’t have them for people in the hospital,” Swartzberg said.

“If there are enough great, if not enough they need to go to the place we need them the most first,” Rutherford said. 

Most medical experts agree the supply of masks must increase before there is a move to recommend for the public to wear them but we could reach that point in a month or so.

“As we move away from shelter in place a month from now or whenever this could be one of the transitional interventions we put in place,” Rutherford said. 

At this point though, experts say nothing tops staying at home, washing your hands and staying 6-feet apart from people when you do have to go out.

Latest News Headlines:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News