The US surgeon general has asked (tweeted) the public to not buy face masks, because the claim is that healthcare workers need them more.
CDC does recommend:
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Is there any reason not to believe that asymptomatic transmissions can be reduced by having all high risk populations (elderly, subway riders, healthcare workers) wear masks to reduce public spread of respiratory droplets?
Given the COVID-19 context, The reason the question is posed: does it make good prophylatic sense to:
- require visitors to nursing homes to wear masks?
- encourage metropolitan subway & bus riders to wear masks and gloves?
It is my understanding that the mask's purpose is to attenuate spread by preventing droplets from entering the environment will not prevent an infection, once the virus is in the environment.