World Health Organization (WHO) officials on Monday, March 30, 2020, said they still recommend people not wear face masks unless they are sick with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or taking caring of someone who is sick, Afriupdate reports.
Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO health emergencies program, disclosed this at a media briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday.
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” said Dr. Mike Ryan.
“Right now, the people most at risk from this virus are frontline health workers who are exposed to the virus every second of every day. The thought of them not having masks is horrific.” Dr. Ryan added.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the WHO, also said at Monday’s briefing that it is important “we prioritize the use of masks for those who need it most,” which would be frontline health care workers.
“In the community, we do not recommend the use of wearing masks unless you yourself are sick and as a measure to prevent onward spread from you if you are ill,” Van Kerkhove said.
“The masks that we recommend are for people who are at home and who are sick and for those individuals who are caring for those people who are home that is sick,” she said.
World Health Organization officials also warned at a media briefing last week that globally there is a “significant shortage” of medical supplies, including personal protective gear or PPE, for doctors.