The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that individuals wear a cloth face covering in public settings in order to help slow the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Previously, the Agency had advised against the use of face masks by healthy people, however, the recommendation was changed based on recent studies indicating that asymptomatic individuals can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. 

A cloth face covering is especially important in places with significant community spread. To aid the public, the CDC has posted a tutorial on how to make and clean cloth face coverings

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Widespread face mask use was likely discouraged initially due to concerns over individuals stockpiling face masks, such as N95 respirators, limiting availability for frontline healthcare professionals (HCPs). The CDC continues to state that surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for HCPs and other medical first responders.

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