U.S. health officials said on Tuesday they are discussing whether to recommend that the general public wear face masks as a way to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus, but that it was too soon to take that step.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday told concerned Americans it's okay to wear a face mask or a scarf to protect themselves, but to leave the surgical masks to the professionals.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "Use a scarf if you want, rather than going out and getting a mask.
We're making millions and millions of masks, but we want them to go to hospitals, but like Dr. Fauci told me today, we don't want them competing with hospitals where you really need them." The outbreak in the United States has prompted more Americans to don surgical or other cotton masks or even makeshift masks when they leave home, but there has been no official recommendation from the CDC to do so.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams cautioned that wearing surgical-type cotton masks may not protect healthy Americans from contracting the virus and may even put them more at risk, since people who wear masks were likely to touch their face to make adjustments.