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Fact or Fiction: A facemask cannot completely prevent me from catching COVID-19, but I can help reduce the spread by wearing one.

Facemask Protection

Fact. 

Common surgical facemasks are not designed to block all viral particles – the little droplets that are expelled into the air when you cough or sneeze while sick. These types of masks do not create a seal around your nose and mouth and therefore are not the most effective method for keeping germs out. They can provide some protection from catching COVID-19. They are also a very effective way to reduce the spread of viral particles.

The CDC indicates that surgical facemasks can help prevent further spread of viral particles for those who are feeling unwell. This guidance focuses on the 25% of Americans who may be positive for COVID-19, but are not exhibiting any symptoms. When people must go into public settings, such as grocery stores, a facemask can reduce the respiratory particles released in the air.   

For CDC recommendations on face coverings, as well as a video of our U.S. Surgeon General making a cloth face cover, click here.