lørdag 4. april 2020

To mask or not to mask: WHO makes U-turn while US, Singapore abandon pandemic advice and tell citizens to start wearing masks

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic which has made more than a million people sick and caused more than 58,000 deaths so far, one issue has divided the international medical community: should everyone wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus?

From the start, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the answer was, no. Masks should be worn by those who are sick, and medical and care workers, according to the global body. There was no need for people who are well to wear them.“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit,” said Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies programme, as recently as Monday. All that changed this week. On Friday, both the US and Singapore switched to advising citizens to wear masks when they leave their homes. The WHO also made a U-turn itself, with Ryan saying: “We can certainly see circumstances on which the use of masks, both home-made and cloth masks, at the community level may help with an overall comprehensive response to this disease.”