Yesterday, I asked a question here Why is there a contrast between facemask use in 1918 Flu and the COVID-19? [closed]. I am just curious about why there is a change of attitude. Several people became excited. Similar curiosity exists in the western world, but in a reversed way, why do Asian people wear masks, e.g., this post without a reply Surgical masks - do they prevent the spread of disease?

In order to make my question more acceptable, I changed the subject. At least we can discuss three aspects. According to this report by CNN, that change do exist.

That change do exist. True?

If true, why is there a change?

Could face masks prevent droplets at least?


BTW, personally I do not wear a mask when the smog is serious.

  • Your question doesn't make sense in English. Please modify it further. Apr 7, 2020 at 9:51
  • 2
    You're asking why people behave as they do, and that's still not a medical science question even with a new title and a photo. The CDC has changed it's recommendations. You might want to look into that and learn the reasons for their change and formulate a question that's actually about medical science rather than sociology. Apr 7, 2020 at 13:53
  • 1
    At least Question 3 is about medical science. Apr 7, 2020 at 14:27
  • 1
    But that (#3) has been asked here before. You don't "bump" a question by posting (broader) dupes for it here. See also a more focused question which does have an answer medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/21267/…
    – Fizz
    Apr 7, 2020 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


There has been a lack of masks outside Asia. Instead of saying: We don't have enough masks the governments and health authorities announced: masks are not to protect the one who wears it but all others in the environment of an infected person who wears it.

Other arguments have been:

  • wearing a mask gives a false security
  • folks of western civilization don't know how to wear the mask correctly
  • they will even touch their face more often as they do without mask to reset the mask

Now as we have our own mask production outside Asia they say wearing masks could also protect all of us ... and in some countries (e.g. Austria) it will be obligatory to wear it in public and when working or shopping. Wonder if there will be enough masks then.

Could a face masks prevent droplets even though it does not avoid virus infection?

You mean: do the simple cheap face mask really protect of infecting others (by droplets)?

Experts suggest that in Asia they are worn against air pollution and not in purpose to protect others. They also say that these masks are too thin without a special filter.

So the change is true. But they might change from day to day. The purpose was to sensitize the population for the seriousness of the situation and to not provide a false security.

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    As the situation becomes serious in Europe and USA, their media become suspicious of the numbers of THAT country. The right question is why they have larger numbers instead of why THAT has a smaller number. Statistically, masks are a cheaper and effective way. Even a cloth covering helps avoiding infections from a Leprosy patient, not to mention N95 masks. It is not logical to say a solider should not wear a bulletproof vest on the battlefield in case of helping his colleagues realizing the dangerousness . Apr 7, 2020 at 10:51

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