WATCH: Making a Cloth Mask, Who They Really Protect
The Maine CDC's Dr. Nirav Shah offered his thoughts on cloth masks saying, while they offer some protection for others, they are not a substitute for social distancing.
The United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation over the weekend that residents may want to start wearing cloth masks whenever they go out in public. It's not a requirement, but a suggestion that could help slow the spread of COVID-19. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams demonstrates how to make a cloth mask at home:
In his daily press briefing on Monday, the Maine CDC's Dr. Shah explained the reason for the masks, and also offered a strong word of caution. He said the masks are meant to protect others from being infected by you, not the other way around. It's possible, even though you're feeling fine, that you could be contagious, despite having no symptoms. They are a good idea, he said, but people need to understand the reasons behind wearing them.
And he warns that wearing a mask does NOT replace social distancing. Dr. James Jarvis of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center echoed that sentiment in a subsequent press briefing, saying that he'd even noticed a group of healthcare workers who were not far enough apart, but felt comfortable because of the masks.
The best deterrent for slowing the spread of COVID-19 is still social distancing, according to both Dr.'s Shah and Jenkins. Residents are reminded to stay home as much as possible and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.